Your homeowner’s insurance policy probably does not cover damage to your home caused by mine subsidence. Western Pennsylvania is one big bituminous coal mine field so the chances are good that your home is located above or near a coal mine. Underground coal has been mined in Pennsylvania for more than 200 years. It extends throughout 43 of our 67 counties. Over one million Pennsylvania homes sit on top of old, abandoned mines. Collapsing mines could damage your dwelling or other buildings on your property. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and most private insurance carriers offer policies to protect you in the event of mine subsidence. To obtain this insurance from the DEP, an application should be submitted soon after you sign your agreement of sale. The request must be submitted to DEP at least thirty days prior to closing to allow for a requisite presale inspection. Most mortgage lenders do not require mine subsidence insurance as a condition for closing so it is up to you to protect your investment. The following is a link to the Insuring Agreement issued by the Commonwealth of PA, Department of Environmental Protection.
Your agreement of sale and deed and title insurance policy will contain one or both of the following notices:
NOTICE – This Document may not/does not sell, convey, transfer, include or insure the title to the coal and right of support underneath the surface land described or referred to herein, and the owner or owners of such coal may have/have the complete legal right to remove all of such coal and, in that connection, damage may result to the surface of the land and any house, building or other structure on or in such land. The inclusion of this notice does not enlarge, restrict or modify any legal rights or estates otherwise created, transferred, excepted or reserved by this instrument. [This notice is set forth in the manner provided in Section 1 of the Act of July 17, 1957, P.L. 984, as amended, and is not intended as notice of unrecorded instruments, if any.
NOTICE – The undersigned, as evidenced by the signature to this notice and the acceptance and recording of this deed is fully cognizant of the fact that the undersigned may not be obtaining the right of protection against subsidence, as to the property herein conveyed, resulting from coal mining operations and that the purchased property, herein conveyed, may be protected from damage due to mine subsidence by a private contract with the owners of the economic interest in the coal. This notice is inserted herein to comply with the Bituminous Mine Subsidence and Land Conservation Act of 1966.
More information about the MSI can be found through this link, www.PAMSI.org or by calling 1-800-922-1678 or 1-888-357-2674 Monday through Friday between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm or contact your insurance agent.