Q: I own a condo, or living unit. Can I purchase more than the $15,000 maximum reinsurable limit?
A: The Fund operates as a reinsurer to the primary insurance companies that provide mine subsidence insurance. As a reinsurer, the Fund does not establish the limit of insurance on any structure, but does establish the maximum limit of reinsurance available to the primary insurer. It is possible that some primary insurers may provide mine subsidence coverage in excess of the $15,000 limit reinsured.
Q: How much does mine subsidence insurance cost?
A: The premium for mine subsidence coverage on a home is based on the amount of coverage provided. Premiums do not vary due to construction type or location. The premiums for the following residential examples are based on rates that were in effect as of 07/01/2013.
Amount of Mine Subsidence
Coverage on Residence
$100,000 $44 $200,000 $71 $300,000 $99 $400,000 $127 $500,000 $154 $750,000 $224
Rates for commercial buildings are slightly higher.
Q: Is there a difference between a condominium and a townhouse when buying mine subsidence insurance?
A: As a reinsurer, the Fund does not issue an insurance policy; but simply follows the policy form issued by the primary insurer.
A true condominium association is organized under the provisions of the Illinois Condominium Property Act. Generally, most condominium associations obtain insurance on the building as a whole under a commercial policy written in the name of the condominium association. With that policy in place, each individual unit owner also purchases a separate policy to insure their own improvements to the interior of their unit. In this arrangement, the limit of mine subsidence reinsurance available to the company that insured the condominium association policy would be the limit on the commercial policy, subject to the commercial maximum of $750,000. In addition, each living unit owner's individual policy could have $15,000 of mine subsidence reinsurance.
Other common-interest communities such as townhouse or homeowner associations are usually organized under the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure. Generally, each property owner obtains insurance to protect the full value of their residence. In this arrangement, the limit of mine subsidence reinsurance available is the limit on each policyholder's policy, subject to the residential maximum, presently $750,000 each.
Insurance requirements for the association and the individual property owners are usually defined in the bylaws or declarations of the association. A real estate attorney or insurance agent can provide more expert advice regarding the policy forms necessary to protect each party's insurable interest in the properties.
Q: What should I do in case of a mine subsidence emergency?
A: Most mine subsidence events occur slowly and are not life threatening. Occasionally, subsidence movement affects utility lines or the immediate stability of a structure.
The first concern is safety of the residents. Remove all occupants to safe areas, and make phone calls away from the home.
Your insurance agent should be contacted. The agent may make suggestions to help prevent other causes of loss such as subsequent fire or flooding, and can direct you to other sources of assistance.
If utility lines are affected, get immediate help by calling your local gas or electric company. The Abandoned Mines Land Reclamation Division is available for emergency structural problems or gas leaks.
Abandoned Mine Lands Reclamation Division 618-650-3197
After business hours, contact the Illinois Emergency Management Agency 800-782-7860.
Q: Where can I check for information on old mines?
A: The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) maintains the state's largest collection of mine maps. In 2010, the ISGS created the Coal Mine Locator which allows the user to determine the proximity of a home or business to coal mines and underground industrial mines. This feature is available on the ISGS website at: http://www.isgs.illinois.edu/ilmines
Q: Will an entire mine collapse?
A: It is theoretically possible for an entire mine to collapse. But this might take a millennium or two to accomplish. Generally, with mine subsidence, it will not be an extensive area, usually less than 3 acres. However, there could be a 3 acre subsidence in 2008 and another 3 acres subsidence in a different part of the mine in 2009.
Q: Is the Illinois Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund a state-operated program?
A: While the Illinois Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund was established by an act of the Illinois General Assembly, it is not a state operated program and does not rely on state or federal money for its existence. It is operated as a private enterprise with general regulatory authority granted to the Illinois Department of Insurance.
Q: Does my homeowner's insurance cover me for all losses regardless of cause?
A: Generally insurance policies are limited in what they cover. Individuals should check their own policy to verify what losses would be covered. Generally, if mine subsidence is covered by the Insurance Policy, there will be a separate endorsement or rider attached to the policy acknowledging that the policy is extended to cover mine subsidence losses.
Q: Must I carry this insurance?
A: Insurance companies are required to place this coverage on your policy if you live within 34 counties that have been determined to have a significant mine subsidence exposure. You as property owners may contact the insurance company to remove the coverage. There will be a requirement that you sign a waiver of the coverage before it is removed.
Q: Where do I get this insurance?
A: Check your homeowner's insurance policy. It may already be there. If it is not there, contact your insurance agent about adding mine subsidence coverage to your policy.
Q: How do I report a claim?
A: If you suspect that your home has mine subsidence damage, immediately contact your insurance company or agent. Only those insurance companies that contract with the Fund can report a claim and begin the investigation process. For an understanding of that process, refer to the Claim Investigation Process brochure which can be found in "Publications" under "Mine Subsidence Insurance."
Q: I'm having trouble finding a specific location on the mine map. Who can help me?
A: The mine maps were created by the Coal Section of the Illinois State Geological Survey. For questions pertaining to interpretation of the mine maps, call ISGS directly at 217-333-3222.
Q: I am hoping to buy a home, but it's in an area that has had mine subsidence in the past. How can I tell if a specific house has been damaged by mine subsidence?
Q: I am considering buying a foreclosed property that has mine subsidence damage. The owner is not known, and the property is offered "as is", without any disclosures. How can I get information about the amount of damage, and if it is covered by mine subs
Q: My insurance company offered to remove mine subsidence coverage from my policy while a claim is happening. Should I do this?
A: With most property perils, damage usually occurs within a matter of moments, several hours, or sometimes a few days. However with mine subsidence, the duration of the occurrence is often several years. The insurance policy in force on the date of loss will respond for all of the damages caused by that occurrence, up to the policy limits. However, the total amount of mine subsidence coverage reimbursable for a single mine subsidence event, or several events that are continuous, is the coverage amount in force under your policy when the damage first became reasonably observable. Therefore, after damage is identified on your property resulting from an active mine subsidence event, you will be advised that continuation of your mine subsidence coverage may not be necessary, and that you may terminate your coverage upon written waiver. If you choose to waive your mine subsidence coverage for the duration of an event, and after you are notified that damaging ground movement has ceased, it is important to make the necessary repairs and have mine subsidence coverage reinstated. Insurance companies are permitted to refuse coverage on unrepaired properties.
Q: I am considering buying a house on which the owner has disclosed mine subsidence damage, and says I can get more insurance money after I buy the house. What does it mean when he states there is a certain amount of money left to cover this claim?
A: It is very important to understand that the total amount of claim payments cannot exceed the amount of loss, or the amount of insurance at the time the loss was first observed. If the original insured, or any subsequent owners have already received payment, that amount will be subtracted from the total amount of coverage available under the policy. Simply stated, if you are buying a home with unrepaired mine subsidence damage for which the seller has already been compensated, the cost to repair those damages is assumed by the buyer. Ideally, the cost to repair is reflected in a reduced sale price of the home, and the savings set aside for future repairs.
Q: I own a commercial property worth more than $750,000. How can I get more mine subsidence coverage?
A: The maximum limit of reinsurance available on commercial properties through the Fund is $750,000. Primary carriers may offer additional mine subsidence coverage over and above the reinsured limit, but are not required to do so by law. Excess mine subsidence coverage can also be obtained through brokers representing excess/surplus lines insurers. Several brokers that represent these companies are listed on the "Maximum Limits" page under "Mine Subsidence Insurance."