Sinkholes and insurance in Pennsylvania

What you need to know about sinkholes

Pennsylvania is the number two state in sinkholes, right behind Florida. If you live in the eastern or central part of the Keystone State, you’re in sinkhole country.


A sinkhole is best described as the gradual caving or sinking of an area. Sinkholes are caused by acidity in ground water that dissolves limestone or other soft rock formations. Then, when the water table drops it leaves a cavity that collapses when it’s no longer able to support the weight of what’s above it.


While Pennsylvania has a considerable area of the state underlain by limestone, it’s not the only cause of a sinkhole threat. Collapsing coalmines are also a sinkhole threat in the state.


The process can be slow or sudden and it can swallow up roads, cars, and even homes. If a sinkhole appears on your property, it can be highly destructive to your grounds, your car, or your home.


Although you may keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best, mitigating sinkhole damage is costly. It’s prudent to take seriously the possibility of having a sinkhole appear on your property.


Warning signs to look for are doors and windows that no longer close properly, cracks in the foundation, hollow sound below your basement floor, depressions in the yard or areas surrounding the home, deep cracks in the driveway, walkway, or street, and unusual sediment in your drinking water.


Sinkholes and homeowners insurance

It can come as a surprise that Pennsylvania homeowners insurance does not cover sinkholes, with few exceptions. If your policy does not provide sinkhole coverage, you can either change to an insurance company offering the protection or purchase a homeowners policy endorsement to obtain this coverage. Also, in some cases you will need a mine subsidence insurance policy.


The same situation applies to business insurance.


Including comprehensive coverage with your car or truck policy will provide protection for loss or damage caused by a sinkhole.


Caution: Don’t wait until a sinkhole appears to make your decision.