Insurance Protection

Sinkholes – Are You Protected?

Sinkholes are definitely a part of Pennsylvania’s geologic landscape.  Did you know that if a sinkhole were to open up beneath your home, it could cause drastic amounts of damage that would NOT be covered by your standard Pennsylvania home insurance policy? However, an endorsement is available with most insurance carriers that adds sinkhole coverage onto the policy. Premium costs vary based on your current dwelling limit and location.

What is a Sinkhole?

Sinkholes usually occur when an underground cavity created by groundwater dissolving subsurface limestone collapses. Sinkholes can have a variety of underlying causes. Some are natural and some are man-made.

Natural causes: Sinkholes can be caused by the after-effects of earthquakes, erosions in the earth’s surface or the presence of excess groundwater. Although excessive rains and flooding can sometimes cause these disasters, there is evidence that extreme droughts can have the same effect. Natural sinkholes usually show early signs of erosion.

Man-made causes: Sinkholes can sometimes be precipitated by man-made forces that weaken underlying layers in the earth’s crust. Some common causes include excessive drilling, mining, construction and even lots of heavy traffic.  Some suspect that hydraulic fracture mining (“fracking”) may have this effect as well. Mine subsidence in abandoned coal mines over which development has occurred can also cause these catastrophes.

What Does Sinkhole Insurance Cover?

Sinkhole insurance will provide compensation for damages to your business or home, outlying property and personal belongings kept inside the building if they are damaged as the result of a sinkhole on your property. A sinkhole that forms on your property, but doesn’t affect any insured buildings would not trigger coverage – in this case the only damage is to the land, and land is not insurable. Damage to your vehicle caused by a sinkhole would be covered as long as you have comprehensive coverage for that vehicle on your personal automobile insurance policy.

Even a small shift in the earth beneath the foundation of a building can cause severe structural damage and a major sinkhole can swallow up the entire building and its contents so it is important to consider carrying enough coverage to allow you to completely rebuild if your home or business is completely destroyed. This insurance will also cover necessary preventive measures such as structural bracing to keep an impending sinkhole from causing severe damage to your property. If you do not currently have sinkhole coverage, call us today at 610-904-6028 to review your coverage. We can provide a custom no obligation quote.  As we say at Univest, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Securities and insurance products are offered through Univest Investments, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC and a licensed insurance agency. Investment advisory services are offered through Girard Partners, a Univest Wealth Management Firm. These affiliated companies are licensed subsidiaries of Univest Corporation of Pennsylvania. Products and services offered are not FDIC insured, are not a deposit of or bank guaranteed, and are subject to risks, including possible loss of any principal amount invested.

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