What is Mine Subsidence Insurance?

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.

What is Flood Insurance and do I Qualify?

If you live in a flood zone, flood insurance will be required. Flood insurance coverage must usually equal the lesser of guaranteed replacement costs (unpaid principal balance of the loan may be used if replacement costs are not available) or the maximum available under the National Flood Insurance Program.

Your lender will direct you if flood insurance is required. The national flood insurance program website is https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program

What is Homeowner’s Insurance?

When you purchase your new home you will want to purchase homeowner’s insurance. If you are financing the purchase through a lender, the lender will require homeowner’s insurance. The lender will probably require that the homeowner’s insurance must equal the lesser of the loan amount or guaranteed replacement value. You should speak with your lender about the amount of insurance, allowable deductible and the mortgagee clause which must appear on your insurance policy. This is the clause that insures your lender as well as you in the event that a claim on the insurance policy is necessary.


Homeowner’s Insurance Tips

The following are some useful tips to avoid being dropped by your homeowner’s insurance provider and which may, in fact, keep your premiums lower:

  • Consider whether or not to file that claim. You should also be careful about contacting your insurance carrier about your policy. Many insurance carriers now count telephone queries as “claims” and will enter them into your file, translating them into demerits at your next renewal period. If you have a general question, call the company but do not provide your name or address.
  • Stay aware of the information your insurance carrier collects about you. The Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) is a database used by the insurance industry to keep track of claims and queries for every individual insured party. You can access your own record for free a maximum of one time a year atwww.ChoiceTrust.com. Look at your report very carefully and contact your insurance carrier if you discover any errors.
  • Report upgrades to your home at every renewal period. Replacing an aging roof, pipes or electrical systems or adding or upgrading a security system may count in your favor and raise your CLUE score and/or reduce your premiums.

What is Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a document in which a principal appoints an agent to act on the principal’s behalf. The “Principal” is the person who has executed the Power of Attorney and appoints an “Agent” to act for him. The “Agent” is the person appointed to act on behalf of the “Principal.”


After January 1, 2015, all Powers of Attorney executed in Pennsylvania must contain a notice signed by Principal, an Agent Acknowledgement, be witnessed by two witnesses and be notarized. Lenders may have additional requirements and/or language for the use of a POA.

If this Acknowledgement is not signed, the “Agent” has no power to act for the “Principal”, i.e., may not sign a deed, mortgage, etc.


All powers granted under the POA must be specified.  No powers are implied. The POA must specifically give the “Agent” authority to handle real estate matters.  The authority can be specific and include language such as “To sell real estate owned by the Principal” and may include specific addresses.  The authority can be general and simply state that the “Agent” has the ability to engage in real property transactions.

In order to utilize a military POA, a written statement from the “Principal’s” commanding officer must be obtained verifying that the “Principal” is currently on active duty.


A Power of Attorney will expire by any of the following:

  • The date specified in the POA
  • By the death of the “Principal”
  • By divorce of the “Principal,” if the “Agent” named in the POA is the “Principal’s” spouse
  • By disability, incapacity, or deceased of “Principal” if the POA is not durable
  • By revocation by guardian of “Principal” appointed by court subsequent to the POA
  • By death or disability of the “Agent” if no successor is named.