A pickup truck was almost submerged by a sinkhole that formed in Central Falls during Tuesday morning’s rain storms. A second sinkhole was reported to have formed in Tiverton as well. Sinkholes are not as common in Rhode Island as they are in states like Florida and Texas, but they can still cause considerable damage to roadways or buildings. Will your car insurance cover you if you crash into a sinkhole?

What Causes A Sinkhole?

sinkhole at edge of roadway

Sinkholes usually appear during periods of either intense rain or during a drought. Basically, they are caused by water that flows underneath the surface. Quickly flowing water can cause instability in the earth underneath the surface, which causes it to sink down. When sinkholes occur during a drought, it is usually because water helps to fill in gaps in the earth underneath the surface; when there is no water to fill the gaps, the pressure of the earth above causes instability, and the surface sinks.

Will Your Insurance Cover Damage To Your Car?

insurance agent taking pictures of car damage caused by a sinkholeYour insurance will probably cover damage to your car. Be sure to review your auto insurance policy to see if you coverage includes damage done due to sinkholes, because each state has its own laws regarding them.

What If A Sinkhole Caused You Personal Injury?

You will probably need to have PIP or some other form of personal injury protection in order to get compensation for any injuries you suffer from a crash into a sinkhole. Also, you might not be able to file a lawsuit against anyone in order to get full compensation from their insurance company. Often, lawsuits are just not possible for sinkhole related accidents, which tend to be unpredictable and occur suddenly, so town governments will probably be shielded from a lawsuit.

What Should You Do About Sinkholes?

traffic cone warning drivers of the sinkholeUnfortunately, there is not much you can do about sinkholes. They form randomly, and there is no real way to prevent them. However, if you see or hear of a sinkhole that has formed, stay away from the area. Another sinkhole could form nearby, and increased traffic and confusion in the area could lead to an accident.