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Local insurance agents say new sinkhole coverage benefits Joplin - KOAM TV 7

Local insurance agents say new sinkhole coverage benefits Joplin area due to its large mining history

Updated:
Sinkhole coverage is now available in the state of Missouri.

Local insurance agents say it's beneficial to the Joplin area due to its large history of mining.

In Joplin, it is difficult to find soil that was not once touched by miners.

"From about 1870, right around to WWI, is where the Missouri side of mining was really going to town," said Brad Belk, director of the Joplin Museum Complex.

Belk says because of the high amount of past mining activity, the area has seen some sinkholes over the years, one of which occurred in 1940 off West 7th Street.

"That's testimony that those do occur," he said.

Belk says sinkholes are rare, but the potential risk is always present, making the new coverage option beneficial.

The policy covers anywhere between $10,000 and $200,000 worth of damages created by a sinkhole.

"It will just cover the structure and the contents, but not sinkholes that might occur in your yard or that occur under your driveway," said Karen Rutledge, State Farm Insurance Agent.

Yearly rates range from $300 to $2,000, with at ten percent deductible.

Customers must apply through a licensed agent, and their policy will be placed through the Missouri FAIR Plan.

"If people have a serious concern, maybe because of where their home is located or if they're familiar with the undermining that was in their neighborhood, then it does provide a resource for them," Rutledge said.

Historical maps depicting mining activity throughout Jasper and Newton counties are available to the public through Missouri Southern State University's online archives.

"If you know your longitude and latitude coordinates, then you can see what kind of mining activity occurred at the property you're interested in," Belk said.

What you find, may influence your decision to apply for coverage.

The online maps are available at http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/mdh_splash/?coll=tristate.
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