General Question

gorillapaws's avatar

Have you ever had a small sinkhole in your asphalt driveway?

Asked by gorillapaws (26482points) 1 week ago

This just happened to me. It’s probably 18–24 inches in diameter with a similar depth. I’m wondering if this is common? Is it going to be catastrophically expensive to repair? Does homeowners insurance play a role here or is this the kind of thing, generally speaking, that they can weasel out of because it’s not (currently) affecting the structure of the house (I’m planning on checking with my insurance company)? How freaked out should I be? If you’ve ever had to deal with this, how much misery am I in for?

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8 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I live where there are lots of sinkholes, close to sinkhole alley, but not in it. Sinkhole insurance is purchased separately like earthquake and wind, so you only have it if you bought. You can of course call your insurance and find out what you have.

There are two types of sinkhole insurance. One, covers you if you start to see signs of a sinkhole to repair before something really bad happens. The other, covers you after catastrophic damage happens.

I’m not sure if any insurance will help if the hole isn’t affecting your house yet.

What you have might not technically be a sinkhole. You probably should get the property evaluated and make sure there isn’t other stuff going on under your house. I think there are several ways to do that, but unfortunately I don’t know them all. The only thing I’ve done is evaluate the soil before building or used evaluations done by builders.

It might be the soil was never packed down well in that spot near the surface and not a sinkhole. You never mentioned how deep it is. It might just be a pothole in your driveway.

I’d ask locally for information. My guess is there are companies who gouge, because it’s a scary topic. Shop around.

Don’t be very freaked out. It might not be a sinkhole and even if it is it might be very small. They say when they repair a sinkhole your house becomes the safest one on the block.

Sinkhole would have to be disclosed if you ever sell. Some states probably have more specific questions about it than others on a standard disclosure.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

One of my neighbors had something like that happen to his front lawn, turns out the water pipe come from the water main line was leaking. The utility company had to replace the feeder line to the water meter, the line to his house was okay after the meter.

gorillapaws's avatar

Thanks for the helpful responses. It sounds like it might not be a major deal then. It’s about 18–24” deep. My vehicle’s tire was sunk into the driveway all of a sudden. It freaked me out. Let’s hope it’s an issue of the soil being poorly compacted when they made the driveway. The nearest water main is about 20’ away. We do have a city drainage ditch that goes through a small tunnel at the end of our driveway, so that does make me suspicious that it could be runoff somehow.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, sorry, I missed it was about equal in width, length, and DEPTH. I hope it is something minor and easily corrected. Let us know what happens.

KRD's avatar

No but I found a sinkhole on our street a couple years back.

gorillapaws's avatar

Update. We think it’s a failure in our sewer line. We aren’t seeing any sewage backing up, but apparently old cast iron pipes can have the top rot away, which could have been allowing dirt to slowly flush out into the city sewer, undermining the driveway. The hole in the driveway opened up a bit, and with a flashlight we could see there’s a tunnel running the length of the driveway. Luckily we had sewer-line insurance as a separate policy. They’re sending a plumber to scope our sewer line tomorrow. I’ll keep you guys posted when we learn more. It’s a shitty problem for sure…

Tropical_Willie's avatar

^^^ W O W ! ^^^

JLeslie's avatar

Sounds better than a sinkhole, but as you say, still “shitty” to have to deal with it.

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