What Is Mine Subsidence Coverage in Home Insurance?
Stay Covered If You Live in a Mining State
If you live in a state that has a history of mining, then you will most likely be required to have mine subsidence coverage. Mine subsidence coverage is a home insurance add-on or separate policy that protects your house from ground movement caused by a collapsing mine.
How Is Mine Subsidence Classified?
When the ground caves in because of a collapsed mine, it tends to happen in one of two ways:
- Subsidence sag - When the pillars supporting a mine roof collapses, the ground caves in creating a depression that can spread over a large area. Sometimes, it can be as wide as several acres. Subsidence sag is the most common type of mine subsidence.
- Subsidence pit - When a mine roof collapses, it can create a bell-shaped hole several feet deep and across. If it happens around the house, it can damage the home's foundation.
A History of Mining
The problem with mine subsidence is that in states where mining was extensive, it can be tricky to know the full extent of mining tunnels. Mining goes back well over 100 years. During that time, massive networks of tunnels slowly spread throughout the states. Coal, clay, limestone, fluorspar, and any other mineral mines can be the source of subsidence.
However, tracking these mines didn't happen throughout the history of mining. As a result, it is possible to see mine subsidence in areas far away from mining towns. That's why it's essential to make sure you're covered if you're in a state with a history of mining.
What States are at the Highest Risk for Mine Subsidence Damage?
- West Virginia
However, there are mines all over the US:
Does My Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover Mine Subsidence?
Typically, no. Mine subsidence is classified as ground movement and tends to be on the list of exclusions for homeowners insurance. As a result, you'll either need to purchase an add-on or an additional policy. The policy will insure the structure of your home, but usually not the belongings inside. Your homeowners policy would cover that.
Should I Get Mine Subsidence Insurance?
If you live in one of the states mentioned, you may be required to pay for mine subsidence insurance or sign a waiver stating that you're refusing coverage. Generally speaking, the state provides it or requires providers to offer it. In a state like Ohio, for instance, mine subsidence insurance is mandatory in 26 Ohio counties with maximum coverage of $300,000.
While somewhat rare, there were 1,750 claims for mine subsidence between 1988 – 2010, totaling $3.5 million in Ohio. As you can imagine, the damage tends to be severe. And when mine subsidence occurs under a home, it can cause catastrophic damage to the foundation. Homes can be uninhabitable after a mine subsidence event, and if you don't have mine subsidence coverage, you can find yourself with a mortgage on a house you can no longer occupy.
Still, many homeowners remain uncovered for mine subsidence insurance. In Pennsylvania, as many as 1 million homes sit above abandoned coal mines. And yet, only 58,000 have mine subsidence policies.
If you live in a state that has a history of mining, it's always a good idea to check to see if there are any mines located in the area. Keep in mind that damage can be widespread from cave-ins, making it hard to determine what exactly is a "safe distance" from an old mine.
At your service,