Early this week, Acting Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger visited the Char-Belle Free Methodist Church in western Pennsylvania's Belle Vernon. "Luckily, the church and the neighboring property owner had mine subsidence insurance," he noted.
Both properties were damaged when abandoned mine workings 50 feet underground collapsed. The federal Office of Surface Mining injected grout into the mine void as part of an emergency stabilization project shortly after the collapse in 2004 to prevent further subsidence.
"Property repairs were quickly made. That's the peace of mind that mind subsidence insurance can offer," he added.
Hanger used the event to note that some 1 million homes and businesses throughout Pennsylvania's bituminous coal and clay-mining region sit atop abandoned underground mines. And he reported that will find it easier to protect their properties now with reduced state-funded insurance premium rates and other program improvements.
Mine Subsidence Insurance improvements
Coverage now includes sidewalks, driveways, retaining walls, in-ground pools and other types of property.
Property owners can opt to purchase mine subsidence insurance by phone, through their local insurance agent or online with a credit card."
t covers up to $250,000 for homes, businesses and attached structures in the event of subsidence from abandoned coal and clay mines.
Annual premiums for residential and commercial coverage decreased by 25% and 60%, respectively.
A 10% discount is offered to persons 65 years of age and older for residential policies.
Last year, the Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund paid out more than $1.3 million for 29 claims, and settled more than $23 million in claims since the fund was created in 1961. In the bituminous region which includes much of western Pennsylvania, the fund has paid more than $18 million for nearly 600 claims since 1961.
Property owners can learn more about and apply for mine subsidence insurance directly from DEP by phone at 800-922-1678 or online at www.pamsi.org.