Will My Insurance Cover Foundation Repair?
The understanding of foundation issues fills most homeowners with dread. Your home and the comfortable life in which you have built it depend on a strong foundation. A foundation problem always feels daunting, but it can range from a minor problem to a major repair that costs $10,000 or more (think: a few hundred dollars to fix).
Luckily, there are cases where the tab can be picked up by your home insurance policy. Does insurance for homeowners cover structural damage? This depends. It’s all about what caused your foundation to suffer damage. If you’re wondering whether, when you need [UPDATED] it, your home policy will offer foundation insurance, read on.
Does home insurance cover your foundation repair?
You first need to determine what caused the problem you’re having in order to figure out if your home insurance policy will cover your foundation. It will be obvious in some instances, like damage from a tornado or earthquake.
But the root cause of the problem with your foundation may not be readily apparent. It helps to call a foundation specialist in these cases to come out to your house and diagnose the problem. They’re not just going to help you understand what caused the issue, but they can give you an idea of how extensive repairs need to be. Plus, if you decide to file a home insurance claim, their report will give you evidence you can use.
Some of the most popular causes of problems with foundations include:
1. Too much or too little humidity on your soil
2. Natural catastrophes, such as earthquakes, mudslides, tornadoes
3. Faulty building (for example, improperly compacted soil underneath your foundation)
4. Growth of Tree Root
5. Leaks in plumbing
6. Movement on Earth
So, for each of the above causes, does homeowners insurance cover foundation damage? Let’s take a glimpse.
When your insurance policy covers damage to the foundation
The Coverage A segment of your home insurance policy protects your home’s actual structure, including your foundation. But you only get protection against the covered dangers specifically named in your policy, like all other sections of your policy. So, if something listed in your policy caused your foundation problem, you can expect your insurer to help foot the repair bill. But if not, you will be on your own.
For covered hazards, most home insurance policies will assist with foundation repairs such as:
2. A car or aircraft that is driving into your home
3. The Vandal
4. Objects falling
5. Water damage in your A/C, heating or plumbing system resulting from an overflow
6. Windstorms Over
7. The explosions
To find out which covered perils are included, read through your policy. If any of those things are to blame for the damage to your foundation, then you have a high probability of filing a successful claim for home insurance.
When your policy doesn’t cover damage to the foundation
Some people assume that after any natural disaster, they get homeowners’ foundation protection from their insurer. That isn’t the case, however. In fact, two of the natural disasters that can do the most damage to the base: floods and earthquakes, are specifically excluded by almost all home policies. Purchase a separate earthquake or flood insurance policy to safeguard both your foundation and your home as a whole if you live in an area where either of these disasters is common.
In addition, if the foundation problem results from normal wear-and-tear, home policies do not offer foundation insurance. Insurers argue that it is your responsibility to carry out the proper maintenance on your home as a homeowner. On your part, they label many foundation problems as negligence.
Specifically, whether it is a result of temperature, soil fluctuations, earth movement or tree root growth, you can expect your insurer to deny coverage for settling, shifting and cracking foundations. They will almost certainly say that it is your duty as a homeowner to address those issues as part of your routine maintenance.
Also, if your foundation suffers from faulty construction, do not expect foundation insurance from your homeowners policy. To avoid this problem and the associated out-of-pocket cost, make sure that before buying a new home, you get a home inspection.
If you experience foundation damage, what to do
So, if you experience foundation damage and need to file a claim, what do you do?
To begin, after a covered risk occurs, get in touch with your insurer as quickly as possible. For a set period of time after an event occurs, most insurers only offer coverage.
Ask them what proof they’ll need for the claims process when you contact your insurer. They may want to send your property to an appraiser. In order to come out and evaluate the situation, you may also benefit from hiring your own foundation specialist so that you can use their report in your claim.
Like any other insurance claim, filing a successful foundation claim for homeowners comes down to meeting the requirements of your insurer. When you’re unsure about any steps in the process, don’t hesitate to ask them questions.
Many insurers have a network of recommended contractors to aid you with the process. And when you choose one of their contractors, some even guarantee the workmanship for a set period of time. Several insurers offering this service include:
1. Farm of the State
2. USAA U.S.A.
5. Mutual Liberty
How to avoid damage to foundations
While your home policy may offer you foundation insurance, avoiding a problem in the first place is a lot easier. Here are our top tips for preventing problems with homeowners’ foundations:
1. Before moving in, get a home inspection: If you are in the process of buying a house, do not skip the home inspection. This is the best way to know if the foundation of the house is well built and to help you avoid a whole host of problems with the foundation in the future.
2. Maintain your soil: It puts a strain on your foundation when your soil gets too dry or too wet. Know your climate and act in accordance with it. For instance, you might want to water the soil around your house periodically if you live in a drought-prone area. Or if you live in an area that gets a lot of moisture, make sure that water is properly drained away from your base by the soil around your home.
3. Check your grades: When it rains, you want water to drain away from your home. Aim to have at least six inches of grade in the ten feet surrounding it away from your home.
4. Mind your trees: To prevent their roots from spreading into your foundation, keep an eye on the trees near your home. Relocate trees if necessary have a tree removal expert come in and make sure that you leave ample room around your foundation when you plant. In general, for each inch of thickness in the tree’s trunk, you should allow for one foot of root spreading area.
5. Clean your gutters: It seems simple, but clogged gutters can lead to water spilling over the edge and directly to your foundation’s surrounding soil.
6. Lay some mulch: To maintain the moisture level and temperature of the surrounding soil, you can use mulch around your house, minimizing pressure on your foundation.
7. Address cracks promptly: Don’t wait to get a pro out to assess the severity of the foundation problem if you notice any cracks in your foundation. Acting quickly can minimize the damage and the expense of repairing it.
Questions asked frequently
What are the symptoms of damage to foundations?
It is normal for your house to settle over time, but if you notice, consider getting a professional involved to evaluate your foundation:
1. Cracks in the interior sheetrock or exterior of your home, particularly if they grow or are horizontal or zig-zagged
2. Doors or windows that stick when you attempt to open them or no longer latch properly
3. Walls that’re leaning (you can use a level to check)
4. On your poured perimeter foundation, chipping or flaking concrete
5. Puddles or crawl space in your basement
6. Lean Support Posts
7. Cracked Tile Cracking
8. Nails that pop from your drywall
How much does it cost for foundation repair?
It depends on the extent of your problem with the foundation. Usually, minor problems only cost a few hundred dollars to repair, but it can cost as much as $12,000 to stabilize a faulty foundation. This is a big part of why homeowners benefit from addressing foundation issues early. If you catch the problem before it grows, to get it fixed, you will pay less.
Does homeowner insurance cover problems with foundations?
In some instances, too. Your home insurer will most likely cover the cost of repairs if your foundation problem is caused by a covered risk named in your policy.
How do I find out if there are good foundations for a home?
Make sure you have a professional home inspection performed on any house you’re seriously thinking about buying if you’re shopping for your next home. The inspector will look at the foundation of the home and let you know whether there are any issues you should be aware of.