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Report: Few Pennsylvanians have subsidence insurance coverage

Posted On Fri, January 14, 2011

Like West Virginia, Pennsylvania is an eastern state that's littered with active and inactive coal mines. Active coal mines have inherent dangers, and while living above one carries risk, homeowners can rest assured that the mine's owner is required to have insurance to cover the cost of damages. However, those above inactive mines don't have the same guarantee.

Officials in the state say that of the 1 million Pennsylvania homes sitting above abandoned coal mines, only 58,000 have the insurance needed to cover the cost of damages in the event of a collapse.

The state-subsidized mine subsidence insurance program currently covers $8.7 billion in property value and the cost of damage that results from subsidence, which is the gradual caving in of land. This type of damage is not covered by standard homeowners insurance. For people that have issued claims, the damage has been for cracks in walls, foundations and driveways.

In hopes that more people will buy the coverage, the state reduced the cost of premiums in 2009 by 20 percent. According to the Associated Press, since 2008, over 400 claims have been made, totaling over $1.3 million in damages.

Pennsylvania is one of a few states that require providers to make subsidence damage available in their property insurance policies, reports the International Risk Management Institute.  

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