The White House lawn has a growing sinkhole -- here's what happens when one swallows up an entire house

  • There’s a sinkhole growing on the White House lawn.
  • President Donald Trump isn’t the only one whose home is at risk. The US Geological Survey estimates that 20% of Americans live in sinkhole-prone areas.
  • But, most insurance policies don’t cover it.
  • Here’s what happens when a sinkhole swallows your house.

A sinkhole is growing on the White House grounds.

It’s no more than a few feet wide, but other sinkholes in or around Washington, DC, have swallowed cars or forced home evacuations in recent years.

DC is, geologically, a swamp, and thus prone to sinkholes. Heavy rains, which have pummelled the District this week, also encourage the formation of sinkholes.

Sinkholes occur when a surface’s underlying rock dissolves. The ground then collapses where the rock was eroded.

It’s not just President Donald Trump’s home that could be swallowed by a gaping hole in the earth. The US Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that 20% of Americans live in sinkhole-prone areas.

Practically all of Florida has sinkhole potential, as well as Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania.

While DC Twitter has been snickering about the White House sinkhole, the phenomenon can be disastrous.

Sinkhole size ranges from just a few feet in diameter to hundreds of acres large, according to the USGS. They can contaminate water, swallow whole buildings, and even killed one man in Florida in 2013.

If your home gets damaged or swallowed by a sinkhole, you could file a claim using sinkhole insurance. But there’s a good chance your policy doesn’t already include it.

Across the board, sinkhole damage isn’t standard in most homeowner’s insurance policies, according to Angie’s List. The Insurance Information Institute told Angie’s List that it’s because “homeowner insurance is designed to cover structures and contents, never what happens below the ground.”

Basic homeowner’s insurance policies in Florida used to include sinkhole coverage, but a 2011 law allowed insurers to opt out in order to bring down coverages costs.

An average of 17 Floridians file claims for sinkhole damage every day, according to independent insurance agency average sinkhole insurance claim in Florida is more than $US140,000, while the yearly cost ranges from $US2,000 to $US4,000.

As for the White House, a National Park Service spokesperson told NBC4 Washington on Tuesday that there’s nothing to worry about.

“We do not believe it poses any risk to the White House or is representative of a larger problem,” NPS spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles said.

Still, Trump might want to check up on his home insurance. There’s a good chance he isn’t covered.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.