Abandoned Mine Subsidence Program Beefs Up Homeowners Coverage

December 13, 2002

The Pennsylvania Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund Board announced it has increased the maximum coverage available for residential structures from $150,000 to $250,000, effective immediately.

“At an average cost of $1 for each $1,000 of coverage, this means homeowners in the Commonwealth now have an increase in available protection to safeguard the investments they’ve made in their homes,” said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary David E. Hess. “Every year, more than 150 homes and businesses are damaged by the collapse of underground abandoned mines, and we wanted to give people the most protection we can while protecting the solvency of the fund.”

Coverage for non-residential structures is already at a $250,000 maximum and will remain at that level.

The state established the Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund in 1961 to provide a reliable source of insurance against losses caused by abandoned underground coal and clay mine subsidence. Standard homeowners’ insurance policies usually exclude coverage for losses caused by mine subsidence.

The Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund Board, comprised of the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (chairman), the Insurance Commissioner and the State Treasurer, administers the nonprofit insurance fund, which is sustained by its policyholder premiums.

Structures eligible for coverage are complete buildings with walls, a roof and a foundation that firmly anchors the building to the earth. Those structures should not display severe un-repaired damage from any source and are not being currently affected by ground movements that are causing damage. Buildings that are under construction also may be eligible for coverage under a special construction policy.

The board also decided to eliminate a notarized form that was used to process claims, a move that is expected to reduce the time it takes to deliver a proceeds check by weeks.

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