Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Problems?

30 May
Home Insurance Foundation Problems

Foundation issues are usually related to shifts in the ground where there foundation sits. Expansion in the soil will push the foundation up which can cause cracking and heaving.

The foundation is one of the most important components of your home. It is the base layer that the rest of the house sits on and if it is compromised it can lead to a dangerous situation and an expensive repair.

Unfortunately, in many cases, the most common causes of foundation damage are not covered by a homeowners insurance policy, leaving you on the hook for some very expensive repairs.

Let’s have a quick look at some of the most common foundation problems and whether or not your homeowners insurance will cover the damage.

What Causes Foundations to Crack?

In the majority of cases, foundation issues are usually related to shifts in the ground where there foundation sits. Expansion in the soil will push the foundation up which can cause cracking and heaving.

On the other hand, soil erosion will cause the foundation to sink into the ground, which can lead to cracking as well.

Water is always the enemy of a foundation and too much water can cause soil expansion or erosion leading to cracking. Flooding, plumbing leaks and even clogged downspouts can all lead to too much water around the foundation. Proper drainage around your home is key to avoiding these types of issues.

Regardless of whether the issue is due to expansion or erosion, foundation problems can be very serious. If unrepaired they can eventually lead to cracks in the walls as well as misaligned doorframes.

Over time, unrepaired foundation issues will lead to the entire house being unstable and dangerous.

Am I Covered?

When it comes to foundation issues and insurance it all depends on what caused the foundation problem. Unfortunately, many of the most common reasons for foundation damage are often excluded (not covered) by a standard homeowners insurance policy.

If any of the following caused your foundation problems you should be covered. It is important to note that coverages vary by insurance company so make sure you read your policy and check with your agent in regards to foundation issues. Most policies should cover the following:

  • Lightning or fire
  • Explosions
  • Vandalism
  • Collapsing under weight of snow, ice, or sleet
  • Windstorm
  • Riots or civil disturbances
  • Falling objects
  • Water damage from plumbing
  • Damage caused by aircraft
  • Damage caused by vehicles
  • Volcanic eruption

A standard homeowners policy does include a number of exclusions, which means that you will not be covered if your foundation was damaged due to any of these reasons. Unfortunately, many of them are pretty common reasons for foundation issues:

  • Natural settling, cracking, shrinking, bulging, or expansion
  • Earthquakes or flood
  • Pressure from tree roots
  • Faulty construction

It should be noted that earthquake and flood damage, which can be very destructive to foundations, is almost never covered by a homeowners policy. It is necessary to have a flood or earthquake policy in place to be covered against this type of damage.

When it comes to homeowners insurance, you are protected against sudden and unexpected damage. Insurers consider issues such as tree roots and soil issues to fall to the owner as maintenance issues. Homeowners insurance does not cover natural wear and tear or issues that arise out of owner negligence.

It is best to review your policy and contact your agent to see what exclusions apply to your policy and if you are covered for foundation issues.

What Should I Do?

Once you have discovered a foundation issue your best bet is to hire a foundation specialist or contractor to help you determine what caused the issue and how to repair it.

A foundation specialist will often be able to advise you if an insurance claim will be successful and provide you with materials and evidence to help support your claim. On the other hand, if the damage was caused by an issue such as expanding soil there is a good chance you will be paying for repairs out of pocket.

However, if you can prove that the soil expansion was caused by something that is covered by your policy, for example a burst pipe, which leaked into the ground causing the soil to expand, you may be able to file a claim with your insurer

If you live in a high-risk area for flooding or earthquakes, you should consider a flood or earthquake policy. These types of events can do major damage to a foundation and unless you have a separate flood or earthquake policy you will be paying for the damage yourself.

If you have questions or concerns about homeowners insurance, please contact us today! Click here to review and compare home insurance quotes online or chat with us on our website. We look forward to working with you and answering any questions you may have about your existing or new home insurance policy.

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