Frequently Asked Questions
Senior Citizen Discount
Condominiums and Cooperatives
Who needs Mine Subsidence Insurance (MSI)?
Any homeowner whose property sits on top of an abandoned coal and clay mine. Adjacent properties may also be at risk for mine subsidence or mine water breakouts, which are the sudden release of water from flooded underground mines.
How can I find out if my house is on top of an abandoned mine?
Search the mining conditions under your site using the MSI Risk interactive mapping application. Sites can be located by: entering an address, latitude and longitude, or municipality using the Locate Site tools. Once a site is located, a message will appear on the screen with the mining status and whether or not Mine Subsidence Insurance is recommended. If you are at risk, you are able to apply online using the Apply for MSI button. Repeat the process to check multiple sites.
Doesn’t my homeowner’s insurance policy cover me?
Damage due to mine subsidence or mine water breakouts are usually not covered by your homeowner's insurance policy.
Is everything covered with a MSI policy?
Coverage is provided for complete buildings, buildings under construction, appurtenances to insured structures and for incidental losses that are a consequence of a loss. A separate policy is necessary for each building you desire to insure.
Is my detached garage covered under the policy for the house?
No, a detached garage would need its own policy. A separate policy is necessary for each complete building you desire to insure.
What are appurtenances?
Appurtenances are defined as fences, retaining walls, paved or improved patios, walks, driveways, and in ground swimming pools. All appurtenances must be permanently affixed and securely attached to the land surface and adjacent to and used in conjunction with the part of the insured structure that is the building. Damage to appurtenances is limited to 10% of the coverage amount and covered only if the insured structure is damaged by the same event.
Does MSI cover the contents of my house?
MSI only covers damage to the building and its appurtenances. In most cases, personal belongings are not damaged and are recoverable.
What losses are covered?
A MSI policy covers damage to your home or buildings and their appurtenances that occurs during the policy period and which is caused by the movement of the ground surface as a result of the collapse of underground coal or clay mine workings, or from a sudden unexpected breakout of water from an abandoned mine. Losses to appurtenances are limited to 10% of the coverage amount. The insured building must be damaged by the same event before losses to appurtenances can be paid.
What are incidental costs?
Incidental costs are expenses that are typically incurred as a consequence of mine subsidence damage and repair and that are in addition to the cost to repair physical damage. They include expenses for temporary relocation, increased utilities, reduced income, increased living costs and security for the insured structure. All policies created or renewed after December 11, 2013 provides between $600 and $7,000 as compensation for incidental costs, depending upon the severity of the loss and the coverage in place. This compensation is part of the coverage purchased and does not provide compensation in excess of the coverage purchased.
How are claims processed?
Claims are filed with a DEP field office and are investigated by the MSI Fund. Compensation for a valid claim is based on the actual cost to repair or replace covered damages and cannot exceed the value of the coverage, or the replacement cost of the structure, whichever is less. To file a claim, you simply call 1-800-922-1678.
My lender escrows my insurance premium. Why did I receive a bill?
You need to forward the bill to your lender. The MSI Fund does not directly bill lenders.
Do you need to inspect my property before I can purchase MSI?
Buildings located in an area with a record of past or recent problems will require an inspection before MSI can be purchased. A fund representative will contact you if an inspection is required.
Can a structure be insured if it is damaged?
Structures with significant damage can be insured if the damages are first repaired or if an estimate of the cost to repair the damages is provided to the MSI Fund. The cost to repair, adjusted for inflation, would be excluded from any damage claim settlement. However, a policy would not be issued if the cost to repair exceeded the replacement cost of the structure or the policy limit of $500,000, which ever is less, because that policy would have no value. The MSI Fund may not issue a policy while the structure to be covered is being damaged by mine subsidence or by another cause until the fund determines the damage has ceased.
What can cause damage to structures other than mine subsidence?
Following are some common causes of structural damage which may be mistaken for mine subsidence:
- Settlement under surface loads
- Landslides and soil creep
- Shrinking and swelling of soils
- Freezing and thawing of soils
- Surface and subsurface erosion
- Poor construction methods
- Structural movements
- Structural deterioration
Does an oil and gas lease affect Mine Subsidence Insurance (MSI) coverage?
Oil and gas lease agreements should not affect MSI coverage because they typically do not bargain away the rights of the MSI policyholder to be compensated by third parties for losses caused by mine subsidence, rights that are required under Sections 3.C, 11 and 12 of the MSI insuring agreement.
How long has the Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund been in operation?
Pennsylvania's non-profit Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund has been in continued operation since 1961. Since that time, over $30 million in homeowner claims has been paid.
How much MSI should I buy?
Coverage is available from $5,000 to $500,000. Your home should be insured up to its replacement value plus 20% to cover losses to appurtenances and incidental costs.
How much does MSI cost?
Residential coverage costs about 55 cents for every $1,000 of coverage. An average policy of $160,000 would cost just $87.50 a year or about $7 a month.
How do I purchase a Mine Subsidence Insurance policy?
You are able to apply online via the MSI online application or call the MSI Help Desk at 1-800-922-1678 to have an application mailed to you.
Is personal information provided to the MSI Fund kept confidential?
Yes, all personal information provided to the MSI Fund is kept confidential. This is a link to the MSI Fund's policy on Confidentiality of Nonpublic Personal Information.
If I’m buying a house, when should I apply for insurance?
You should apply when you have an agreement to purchase or when you make your mortgage application. Your insurance coverage will become effective at closing, as long as a required inspection does not identify damages which may need addressed.
How long is the term of the policy?
Coverage is written for a term of one year and is renewable annually.
I just submitted an application online. When does the policy go into effect?
All applications are subject to review. You will receive a Certificate of Insurance upon completion of the review. The policy effective date is the day that you submit the application via the online system subject to review.
Can I submit an application or renew my policy online?
You are able to use your credit or credit/debit card to submit an application or renew your policy. Go to the MSI online system to apply or renew.
Could I renew my policy over the phone?
You are able to use your credit or credit/debit card to renew your policy over the phone.
Can I increase my coverage online?
No, you need to call 1-888-357-2674 to increase your coverage over the inflationary rate.
What will the inflation index be next year?
The Mine Subsidence Insurance Board determines the inflation index for the following year at its December board meeting.
Why haven't I received a Certificate of Mine Subsidence Insurance?
The certificate is now printed on the back of your renewal notice. If you receive an e-mail renewal notice, then your certificate will be sent to you via e-mail.
Senior Citizen Discount
Is there a discount for senior citizens?
You will receive a 10 percent discount on your primary residence if you’re 65 or older by the premium due date. Discounts apply to the primary residence only.
I am going to be turning 65 next year. Will I automatically get the senior discount?
You will automatically receive the senior discount as long as we have your date of birth on record and the policy is for your primary residence.
How can I tell if I am getting the senior citizen discount?
The rate on your renewal notice will read senior.
I own multiple mine subsidence insurance policies. Why am I getting the senior discount on only one of the policies?
The senior citizen discount only applies to your primary residence.
I recently moved. What do I need to do?
You have two options.
- 1. If your policy is close to the end date, you can contact us at 1-888-357-2674 and close the account or you don’t need to do anything and just let the policy run out.
- 2. If your policy still has time on it, you can request a refund of your unused premium.
How do I request a refund?
If you would like a refund of your unused premium, you will need to notify us in writing and tell us the date you want the cancellation to take place. If you are selling your property, we recommend canceling your policy on the day of the sale. If you notify us within 30 days of the date of the sale, we will refund your unused premium back to the closing date. If you notify us after 30 days of the closing date, we will refund your unused premium back to the date that we are notified. You will also need to include the policy number, name of the person that the check needs to be made out to, Social Security Number, the closing date of the house, telephone number and your new mailing address. Refund checks have to be mailed to your new mailing address because checks are not forwarded. You can notify us in writing in one of three ways:
- 1. Mail the information to us at Mine Subsidence Insurance, PO Box 8462, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8462.
- 2. Fax it to us at 717-783-4675 to the attention of Mine Subsidence.
- 3. E-mail it to us at email@example.com
I recently moved. Can I transfer my policy to the new house?
No, you will need to apply for a new policy.
I recently moved. Can the new owners takeover the policy?
No, the new owners need to apply for their own policy.
Condominiums and Cooperatives
How are condominium and cooperatives insured and what if the condominium association decides not to purchase coverage?
Condominium and cooperative law requires that the association be named as the insured of all common elements, such as the walls, ceilings floors, roofs and other structural components, no matter who pays the premium. You may apply for coverage for your individual unit and associated common elements if your association will not purchase coverage. Renewal notices will be sent to you. Both you and the association will be named as insureds. We encourage individuals to apply for sufficient coverage to cover all common and non-common elements within their unit. The Pennsylvania Condominium Act requires that all settlement proceeds be paid to the association and that all the proceeds be used to repair the covered unit, with the repairs to the common elements of the insured unit being complete prior to repairs of the non-common elements within the unit. However if the property owner pays the premium, the property owner will also be named on the settlement check.
I own a townhouse and would like to get insurance. Can I apply for coverage?
Yes, a townhouse owner may apply for insurance at the residential rate. Townhouse
associations may also apply for insurance for all of the units covered under
the association at the residential rate. If you have a policy
and your association decides to purchase coverage for the
entire development, you will then be reimbursed any unused premium.
Can a condominium or cooperative association apply for coverage?
Yes, by law a condominium or cooperative association owns any insurance that
covers their property no matter who pays the premium. Renewal notices are
sent directly to the association. The associations are required to use all
settlement proceeds to repair the insured property.
Can the condominium or cooperative association apply for coverage for each unit or for the entire structure?
If the building is configured vertically, that is with units attached at the
floors and ceilings like a high-rise building, then the structure is insured
under one policy. If the building is configured horizontally, that is with
the units attached at the walls like a row of houses, then each unit may carry its own policy or all
the attached units may be covered under one policy.
Who can file a claim, me or the condominium or cooperative association?
Either the association or the unit owner may report damage.