In certain regions of the U.S., private homes were built on top of former mines, meaning those homes are at risk of serious damage if those aging underground mine sites collapse. This peril, known as mine subsidence, is one of many so-called earth movements that are excluded from a standard homeowners insurance policy. But this type of subsidence poses a larger risk to homeowners in some states more than others, specifically Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
To protect your home in case of collapse, mine subsidence insurance is automatically included in standard home insurance policies for many homeowners who live in at-risk areas. It can also be purchased through a private insurance company or by contacting your state’s insurance department. In the eight states that currently offer mine subsidence programs, homeowners can purchase varying amounts of protection, with coverage limits as low as $5,000 and as high as $500,000 depending on where you live.
Many homes in certain states were built near former underground mines, leaving the land vulnerable to sudden shifts or collapse
Mine subsidence insurance covers damage to your home caused by land subsidence and mine blowouts
Mine subsidence insurance is available in eight states, including Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wyoming
Coverage for mine subsistence is typically set between $5,000 to $500,000. Your home should be insured up to its replacement cost value plus an extra 20% to cover any additional losses
Does homeowners insurance cover mine subsidence?
A standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover mine subsidence or any other so-called earth movements such as floods or earthquakes, and most companies do not offer a mine subsidence endorsement, although in some areas, home insurance companies are required to include mine subsidence coverage as part of a standard policy (homeowners can usually choose to accept or reject that coverage). Mine subsidence program is currently offered in eight states including Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wyoming, according to the American Society of Reclamation Sciences. Homeowners who live in areas of those states that are at-risk for mine collapse should ensure they’re covered for that type of damage.
What is mine subsidence insurance?
Mine subsidence insurance is coverage for your home in the event that it collapses due to shifts or movement in nearby abandoned mines. When cracking, settling, shifting, or sinking of the earth’s surface causes damage to the foundation of your home, mine subsidence insurance can provide financial compensation for your home’s structure and any systems that need to be replaced as a result of the damage, like a new central air-conditioning system. But mine subsidence insurance won’t cover your personal belongings or cover loss of use if your home is completely destroyed and you need to temporarily relocate.
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Do I need mine subsidence insurance?
If you currently live above an abandoned mine or near former mining activity, mine subsidence insurance may already be included in your home insurance policy. But if it’s not, you can contact your state’s insurance department to discuss your coverage options. The following eight states currently have mine subsidence programs:
|State||Terms & Conditions|
|Colorado||Residential property owners can get mine subsidence coverage for $160 the first year (which includes a $125 inspection fee), then $35 each additional year. Coverage limits can be set to as much as $50,000 per occurrence, but a $1,000 deductible is required before this coverage can be accessed.|
|Illinois||Mine subsidence coverage limits range from $100,000 for $44 a year to $750,000 for $224 a year. You may be able to purchase coverage through your existing insurance provider if it's not already included in your standard policy.|
|Indiana||The maximum mine subsidence coverage limit is $500,000 per structure, with deductibles ranging from $250 to $500.|
|Kentucky||Mine subsidence insurance is already added to standard insurance policies in 37 Kentucky counties, including Daviess, Christian, and Laurel.|
|Ohio||Through the Ohio Fair Plan, mine subsidence insurance covers 1-4 family dwelling structures (such as a townhome).|
|Pennsylvania||For around $83 a year, homeowners can get $150,000 of mine subsidence coverage for a complete home or one that is under construction. Coverage limits can also be set as low as $5,000 or as high as $500,000; the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recommends setting your limits to your home's replacement cost value plus 20% more.|
|West Virginia||You can get as little as $10,000 of mine subsidence coverage for $10 a year ($20 for non-dwelling structures) or as much as $200,000 for $48 a year ($96 for non-dwelling structures).|
|Wyoming||Many mortgage companies require homes to be insured with mine subsidence coverage in at-risk areas. Structures must be covered up to 75% of their value and $275,000 is the maximum limit of coverage offered per structure.|
How do I know if I’m at risk for mine subsidence?
If you live in one of the eight states highlighted above, then your home may be at risk for damage from mine subsidence. The best way to know for sure is to contact your realtor for a detailed history of a property before you purchase it. You can also reach out to your state insurance department — they may direct you to a map that will show you if your home is near any former mines.
But if you suspect your home is at-risk for damage, you can look out for the following signs associated with underground mine collapse:
Damage to home’s interior or exterior walls, specifically cracks
Cracks in basement walls or joists, driveway, and garage floor
Unleveled or tilted walls, joists, and floors
Popping or snapping sounds from home’s lower level floors
Suddenly broken or ruptured water lines
Jammed windows and swinging doors