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DEP Launches Mine Subsidence Insurance Campaign In Allegheny County

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Mine Subsidence Insurance Program Tuesday announced it is sending out notices to about 2,000 property owners in Pleasant Hills Borough, Allegheny County, to alert them of abandoned coal mines beneath their property, increasing their risk of damage from mine subsidence.

The notices include maps that show undermined areas beneath property owners’ homes. The long-abandoned mines can deteriorate and collapse, causing the surface to sink. This mine subsidence can cause expensive-to-repair cracks in foundations and walls. In extreme cases, subsidence can render buildings uninhabitable.

Standard homeowners insurance rarely covers mine subsidence damage, leaving the property owner with the repair expense. DEP offers affordable MSI to protect homeowners from potential damages caused by mine subsidence.

In 2013, subsidence damaged 10 homes on Fredrick Street in Mount Oliver, Allegheny County. Only one of those homeowners had MSI.

Due to incidents like the Mount Oliver subsidence, DEP has developed a notification program to alert property owners in undermined areas of the risk of costly damage caused by mine subsidence, and the availability of affordable MSI coverage. Pleasant Hills was chosen as a target area for the program because most of the borough is undermined.

Additional mass mailings will be systematically sent to other property owners across the state who are also at risk for subsidence.

Mine subsidence damage often exceeds $100,000. Premiums are about 55 cents for every $1,000 of coverage. An average policy of $175,000 would cost just $95 a year, about $8 a month, or 25 cents a day. Despite the modest cost, only about 60,000 buildings are insured statewide. It is estimated that more than 1,000,000 buildings are built over abandoned mines in Pennsylvania.

For more information, visit DEP Mine Subsidence Insurance website. 


2/16/2015

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