Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repair?

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Cara Carlone
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If you need foundation repair for your home, it can be a major job as well as an expensive one. Will your homeowners insurance provide coverage for foundation repair?

Yes, it does, under specific circumstances. I’ve spent more than 20 years assisting consumers with all aspects of insurance. So, I can help you gain a working knowledge of foundation repair and your homeowners coverage.

Key Takeaways

  • Notify your insurance provider promptly if your home needs foundation repair

  • Home insurance typically offers coverage for foundation repair when the damage is the result of a covered peril

  • The type of policy, exclusions, limitations and proximate cause will determine the amount of coverage

Will Homeowners Insurance Provide Coverage For Foundation Repair?

Yes, in many cases it will. This depends on the circumstances, or the proximate cause. Meaning the event that caused the damage to your foundation. Basically, if a covered peril caused the problem with your home’s foundation, you can safely assume its repair will be covered.

What Events Are Covered By Home Insurance For Foundation Repair?

There are quite a few scenarios where foundation repair may be covered by your home insurance policy. Here are some of the covered perils that might have damaged your home’s foundation, and would be covered by your home insurance:

  • Vandalism
  • Falling objects
  • Water damage from A/C, heating, or plumbing system overflow
  • Windstorms and tornadoes
  • Explosions
  • Vehicle or aircraft impact
  • Fire

Note: Some homeowner insurance policies have a separate deductible for hurricanes or wind storms. The deductible might be a percentage of your dwelling amount, so check your deductible before you file a claim. You don’t want to file a claim if your deductible is going to be more than the amount of the damage.

When Is Foundation Repair Not Covered By Your Home Insurance?

While your home insurance policy will provide coverage for many instances of foundation repair, there are some that aren’t covered. Here are a few examples:

  • Damage to the foundation that isn’t sudden and accidental
  • Birds, vermin, rodents, insects or animals kept by an insured party
  • Age related settling of the foundation
  • Damage to the foundation caused by earthquakes and floods is excluded
  • Faulty construction
  • Normal wear and tear
  • Neglect
  • Expansion, shrinking, settling, or bulging
  • Damage from tree roots

The most common type of homeowners insurance, HO-3 and HO-5, provides coverage for foundation repairs on an “open perils” basis. This means that any loss not specifically listed as an exclusion in your policy is covered. Please note that there are two events that are almost never covered in a standard home insurance policy: Earthquakes and floods.

If your home is likely to need foundation repair because of earthquake or flood damage, it would probably benefit you to purchase separate or supplemental coverage.

Check your policy to see if there are any exclusions that may not be covered in your particular situation.

What Are The Signs That Indicate Your Home Needs Foundation Repair?

There are warning signs that indicate problems with your home’s foundation. You should look for these indicators periodically so that the damage won’t progress and get out of hand before you know it.

Here are a few signs that indicate you might need foundation repair:

  • Insects–If you see insects around your home’s foundation, they might be a red flag of problems. So, call a pro right away and see if there is existing damage.
  • Cracks–Cracks in the foundation are serious. Contact a professional contractor as soon as possible.
  • Mildew, mold or moisture–These may indicate problems that can cause the foundation to crack or crumble and need to be addressed promptly.
  • Sinking steps or porches—If the steps up to your porch and/or your porch itself are sinking, this is a sure sign that you need foundation repair.
  • Wet Crawl Space–A wet crawl space means that there is water damage being done to the foundation. This is another problem that should be resolved right away.

What To Do If Your Home Needs Foundation Repair?

The first thing you should do is to try and determine the cause of the problem. If it was damaged due to a covered peril such as fire or water damage from a leaking AC unit, it will in all probability be covered.

Once you have ascertained that your home insurance will cover the foundation repair, document all aspects of the damage that necessitates the repair as best you can. Take clear photos and videos, if possible, that show the damage. Make copies of all documentation for yourself and provide your home insurer with the originals.

Notify your home insurance company about the foundation repair, as soon as possible. If you delay, your insurer might interpret it as negligence and deny your claim.

How Can You Avoid Foundation Repair?

There are precautions you can take that might avoid foundation repair. Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and be proactive about heading off foundation repair due to things that might have been prevented.

Here are some tips to help you avoid foundation repair:

  • Inspection: Before you move into a house, get a professional inspection done to make sure there are no faults in the foundation. An experienced eye can probably find these potential problems better than you can.
  • Trees: Trees growing too close to your house need to be removed and/or relocated to avoid problems with roots stressing the foundation. A rule of thumb is one foot of space for every inch of the tree’s trunk diameter.
  • Grading: When it rains, be sure that water is draining away from your home instead of backing up at the foundation. Six inches of grading in the ten feet surrounding your house should be enough to prevent problems from rain.
  • Soil: The soil close to your house needs to be neither too wet nor too dry, as either can put your foundation under a strain. Make sure that water drains away from your home during heavy rain, and it might be a good idea to water the soil close to the house during drought conditions.
  • Mulch: Mulch can be a strong defense against damage to your foundation, by helping to maintain the moisture level and lessening pressure, as well.
  • Gutters: Gutters are often overlooked as important to maintain. But there’s a reason gutters were invented and still in use today–they help to avoid structural problems from roofs all the way down to foundations. Clogged gutters may cause water to overflow the edge of the roof directly onto the soil next to your home’s.

When Do You Need To File An Insurance Claim For Foundation Repair?

When it comes to deciding whether or not you should file a claim for foundation repair, it might be a tough call to make.

You have to weigh the advantages against the disadvantages before making a decision. For example, if you have gotten an estimate for the foundation repair and it’s less than your deductible, you won’t have anything to gain by filing a claim.

Even if the deductible is less than the cost of the repairs, you still have to take into consideration the almost certain higher premiums you’ll be paying from then on if you file a claim. Ask yourself whether the rise in premiums will justify filing a claim. It might not. So, think it all over and choose wisely.

However, your insurer will not pay benefits until you pay your deductible.

How To Go About Filing An Insurance Claim For Foundation Repair?

Filing a claim for foundation repair is pretty much the same as filing any type of claim.

Note: Some insurers have separate deductibles for wind or hurricane losses. These  deductibles may be a percentage of your home’s dwelling limit and not a flat amount. Always look at the correct deductible before deciding whether the damage is more than that amount.

Here are some steps to take when you’re filing a claim for foundation repair:

  • Call the claims department of your insurer to get the ball rolling. As noted above, don’t wait.
  • When you call, ask your claims representative if you should go ahead and get a professional company in to look at the foundation and give you an estimate, or if they have a recommended contractor. You are allowed to use whoever you choose, as long as they’re properly licensed, bonded, and insured.
  • When the claims adjuster arrives to inspect the problem, turn over the photos, videos and other documentation you have relating to the needed foundation repair.
  • Once the foundation repair is finished, turn in to your insurance provider all receipts, contracts, and expenses from the job, and file your claim.

Are There Other Types Of Coverage Available For Foundation Repair?

There are other types of coverage available. You may purchase extra coverage with an endorsement, or a separate policy, to give added protection if you need foundation repair.

A home warranty is a wise choice in some instances, but probably not for foundation repair as most home warranty agreements do not cover it.

Some insurers will offer a separate endorsement that is specifically for foundation repair. It will pay for the cost of foundation repair, and might reimburse you for alternate housing if your foundation damage renders your home uninhabitable until it’s repaired.

Endorsements to your homeowners insurance add coverage for things that are excluded in the standard policy, such as foundation repair due to flooding or earth movement. This additional coverage can be invaluable if and when you need it.

FAQs

Can you purchase separate insurance coverage for foundation repair?

Yes, you can get separate coverage for foundation repair. You may also be able to purchase an endorsement to your home insurance policy that will cover foundation repair. You’ll need to decide if the cost of added coverage justifies the additional coverage.

Does a Standard Home Insurance Policy Cover foundation repair?

Yes, it does in certain circumstances. For instance, if the damage is due to a covered peril, you should have coverage.

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