HARRISBURG – State Rep. Camille “Bud” George, D-74 of Houtzdale, is urging residents to consider buying low-cost mine-subsidence insurance, which has been expanded to cover items such as fences, retaining walls, patios, driveways and in-ground swimming pools.
“More than 1 million homes in Pennsylvania sit above abandoned mines yet only about 5 percent of the homeowners at risk have purchased insurance,” George said. “At less than $1 for every $1,000 of coverage, the insurance can provide peace of mind at a relatively cheap price.”
George said a $100,000 residential policy, which would cover damages from the collapse of underground coal or clay mines or a water “bust-out” from an abandoned mine, costs $88.50 annually, with a 10 percent discount for senior citizens. There is a fixed $250 deductible on residential properties.
“Coverage is available from $5,000 to $250,000,” George said. “Damages from mine subsidence or mine-water bust-outs are usually not covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy.”
George said the Mine Subsidence Insurance Program is a nonprofit fund administered by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Applications and information are available online or through registered insurance agents at www.dep.state.pa.us, using “mine subsidence” as a key word.
A toll-free number — 800 922-1678 — is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays for questions about risk and the available coverage.
George said the expanded coverage to include appurtenances such as patios, driveways and in-ground pools is limited to 10 percent of the coverage purchased.
“The DEP recommends that residents purchase coverage equal to the replacement value of your home plus 10 percent for repairs to appurtenances,” George said. “Detached garages require a separate policy.”