In short, homeowners’ insurance does cover your house’s foundation from specific risks. However, in some cases the damage will not be covered due to various reasons. This guide will help you understand what home insurance does and does not cover. You will also find that we cover other foundation issues like cracks and settling or even foundation damage that you might be missing. Then you will be able to find all the necessary steps for filing a claim for foundation damage as well as how you can spot and potentially prevent damage before it even starts.
IS FOUNDATION DAMAGE AND REPAIR COVERED BY HOME INSURANCE?
Yes and no, depending on the situation. The insurer should pay for repairs up to your cover limits if the foundation damage is listed as a covered peril under your insurance policy. However, deductibles may still apply. If you are experiencing normal wear and tear foundation damage this is likely to be excluded from coverage, even if this damage was due to lack of maintenance.
This can be confusing because any damage to your foundation is covered unless your policy specifically excludes it. Foundation damage and repair are usually found in the dwelling coverage portion of your insurance policy due to the damage being to the structure of your home.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT FOUNDATION DAMAGE HOME INSURANCE WILL COVER?
For your foundation repairs to be covered by your insurance, they must be caused by an event that your company accepts. Typically, foundation damage that is considered to have suddenly been caused by an accident and is the result of a covered peril, should be covered. These perils could include but are not limited to:
Damage from objects like a falling tree
Explosions or fires
Severe, unavoidable weather like tornadoes, hurricanes, hailstorms, and windstorms
Collapse from weight of snow, ice, or sleet
Vandalism or rioting
A vehicle or plane crashing into your home
If a situation ever occurs where someone crashes their car into your home, it is the driver who is at fault (clearly) and their insurance policy should cover the damage under their property damage liability coverage. However, if they do not have insurance or enough coverage to pay for all the damage, you are able to use your home insurance policy to pay for it. In this scenario you kind of lose, because you become responsible for your deductible.
If any of the above events occur in your life, reach out to your insurance company and file a claim so they can reimburse you for repairs. You can also reach out to your agent to find out exactly what perils are covered under your specific insurance.
WHEN WILL MY INSURANCE NOT COVER FOUNDATION DAMAGE?
Sadly, not all events are covered by home insurance even if you are not at fault for the damage. Here are some instances that may occur in which home insurance will not cover the foundation damage:
Normal wear and tear
Neglect to your home
Lack of proper maintenance
Tree root damage
Issues that come from poor drainage or sudden temperature changes
Termite or vermin damage
Sometimes you will have the option of choosing to purchase an endorsement or separate policy for things like earthquake and flood coverage. This is dependent upon the state you live in and the company that insures your property, but no matter what, it must be in effect prior to the damage occurring to get any sort of reimbursement. While separate deductibles may apply, you can even find some companies that will offer coverage for landslides or sinkholes.
ARE FOUNDATION CRACKS OR SETTLING COVERED BY HOME INSURANCE?
Usually, home insurance will not cover foundation cracks or settling. They will categorize this as part of your usual home maintenance and normal wear and tear.
ARE FOUNDATION MOVEMENT OR SAGGING FLOORS COVERED?
Foundation movement or sagging floors are also not usually covered by home insurance. If the movement was caused by a natural event like an earthquake or landslide, and if you have a separate policy in place for that, then it may be covered. However, if the foundation or flooring issues occur because of soil levels, this will be categorized under your usual home maintenance. In terms of sagging or uneven floors, it depends on if the cause of it is covered peril. If a pipe burst you have a chance of their being coverage, but this again depends on your specific insurance company or policy.
HOW TO FILE A CLAIM FOR FOUNDATION DAMAGE.
After reviewing your foundation damage, if you think it may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance, then you should move forward with filing a claim. While processes vary depending on the carrier and type of claim, you will likely follow these steps:
Theft or vandalism- If you think the foundation damage was caused by either theft or vandalism, the first thing you want to do is file a police report so that you properly document the occurrence and any damage that was done to your home. Make sure to record the police report number so you can provide it to your claims department.
Document the damage- Make sure to take videos and pictures of any damage you see that has been caused. You can even make a list and take inventory of any property that was damaged. This way, if you are asked to submit documentation following your filing of the claim, you are prepared.
Protect your home from further damage- If there are any repairs able to be done that could protect your home from further damage, do it, if it is safe to do. Anything that you purchase to protect your home from further damage, keep the receipts for so that you can be reimbursed for these unexpected costs.
Contact your agent and start filing your claim- Make sure you have all the information needed when filing your claim. This can include, the date of damage occurred, the cause of the damage, the specifics about the foundation damage, and any temporary repairs you’ve made, if any. The agent will then advise you on your deductible and coverage, and the claims apartment will assign an adjuster to assess the damage and give you the next steps of the claims process.
Reach out to nearby contractors- You insurer may have some contractors that you can contact, or you can contact a company of your choosing. The contractor will be able to work with your insurance company in processing the claim and ensuring that your home is safe, and all necessary repairs have been made.
WARNING SIGNS OF FOUNDATION DAMAGE.
It is important to maintain your homes foundation over time. Even before you purchase a home you should have a full inspection done to check the condition of the foundation. Some people will even have annual home inspections done to detect if there are any issues arising that should be addressed before they become a bigger and more expensive issue.
Your home could have foundation damage if you notice any of the following:
Basement wall and floor cracks
Issues with your doors or windows sticking, having gaps, or not opening and closing properly.
Uneven or slanted flooring
Moisture, mold, or mildew
Sinking of any attached structures like a porch
Walls bowing inward
If you notice any of these, schedule an appointment to have your home inspected. Call our homeowner’s insurance lawyers today! Taking steps to prevent foundation damage can minimize any future issues.