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Sinkhole Insurance Coverage Proposal

Missouri Senator Jay Wasson is pushing to require insurance companies to offer sinkhole coverage.
JOPLIN, MO.--- Property owners may soon have the option for sinkhole insurance. Missouri Senator Jay Wasson of Nixa is pushing to require insurance companies to offer sinkhole coverage. Currently, Missouri property owners are unlikely to have insurance covering sinkholes.

"The Joplin area has a lot of mining so, therefor, sinkhole coverage could be rather expensive to add to a policy," said Don Gould, First Missouri Insurance. 

Policies for sinkholes would most likely be similar in price to those for earthquakes.

"Earthquake insurance has a 15% deductible. So if you have a $100,000 home, it would be a $15,000 deductible. Sinkhole coverage would probably be the same," said Gould. 

The sinkhole protection bill would require insurance companies to offer coverage. There are more chances for sinkholes in this area because past mining activity left large, empty spaces underground.

"We've got these rooms full of pillars and the water is now raised up, the water table, and so we have these large, somewhat almost football field underground activity mines that are filled with water," said Brad Belk, Historic Joplin Museum Director. 

Filling-in that empty space is not realistic for mining towns.

"We're a mining culture and we're going to have subsistence problems as we move forward and that's just going to be part of the result of mining," said Belk. 

If insurance companies do adopt the sinkhole option, It's probable that many customers would not be able to afford it.

"Even if it were there, it would be an additional endorsement and, depending on the area, it could be expensive," said Gould. 

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