As with any other part, your foundation is covered under homeowners insurance. Many causes of foundation damage, however, are excluded from standard policies.
Read on so you can know the different types of foundation damage that may occur and whether your homeowners insurance will cover them.
What is covered by homeowner’s insurance for foundation damage?
If your policy does not exclude it, any damage to your foundation will be covered. This may be confusing. Imagine that there are only two types of risk: those your home insurance company accepts, and those they reject. Tornadoes and fires are covered by your insurance company if they damage your home. Your company will not cover damage caused by events that it generally rejects. For example, earthquakes, floods and tornadoes.
Most home insurance policies cover certain events
Your insurance company must accept the event that caused your foundation damage. Below are some events that homeowners insurance policies cover and could lead to foundation damage.
- Lightning or Fire
- Damage caused by aircraft
- Riots and civil disturbances
- Vehicle damage
- Falling Objects
- Volcanic eruption
- Snow, ice and sleet can cause buildings to collapse.
- Water damage caused by plumbing, heating and air conditioning overflow
Most home insurance policies do not cover certain events.
Unfortunately, your insurance company will not cover many common causes of foundation damage. Your insurer is likely to reject your claim if any of these events led to the damage.
- Foundations can be affected by natural settlement, cracking and shrinking.
- Earthquakes and floods
- Tree roots can exert pressure on the tree.
- Faulty construction
Floods also require separate insurance policies. Therefore, the cost of repairs will not be covered by a standard homeowners’ policy. Insurance will not cover things like tree roots, natural settling and faulty construction.
What can your insurance company do to help you?
Some insurance companies provide policyholders with access to a qualified contractor network. These prescreened contractors will ensure that your claim is handled and the repairs are completed quickly. They are in direct communication with your insurer, so the whole process is much faster.
What can you do when you don’t have homeowners insurance?
When the foundation damage of your home is not covered by insurance, you have limited options. You’ll need to prove that the damage was caused due to something for which you have insurance. You would be covered if your foundation moved due to soil expansion caused by an internal flooding, which in turn was caused by a burst water pipe, rather than by a natural flood. This is because homeowners policies include internal floods.
Hiring a foundation specialist or contractor is the best way to determine damage to your foundation. You can use the information they provide to determine whether or not a claim by a homeowner would be successful. You can use the evidence and materials that they provide to make your case for coverage.
If you are planning to add these policies in the future, and you live in a region that is prone to earthquakes, such as California, or one that is prone to floods, like Florida, you may want to consider it. You can expect that a strong storm or flood may cause more damage than the foundation of your house. Consider adding flood insurance coverage, especially since the average claim for flood insurance is $30,000.
You can also take several steps to protect the foundation of your home. Shifting soil is the most common cause for foundation problems. The soil under your home will move dynamically depending on how much moisture is present. If there are heavy floods or rains, you want to ensure that your home is equipped with a system for dealing with the water so it doesn’t get trapped in the soil.
If you live in a region prone to dry weather, you may want to consider installing a system that will water your lawn periodically to maintain a high level of moisture. A foundation specialist can help you understand the systems that are best for your home.
A thorough inspection can prevent future issues by arranging for one before you move in. Insurance does not cover poor construction, so it is important to inspect the foundation prior to becoming responsible. If you find that the foundation is poorly constructed, it’s best to pass on the house.
How can you claim foundation damage?
If you consult with a professional and determine that the cause of the damages is something for which you are covered, you can submit a homeowners claim just like you would do for any other kind of damage. You should call the professional as soon as possible after an event, since most of the things you’re covered for are unexpected events. For example, if it was a storm, you should contact your contractor immediately after the storm. Then, you can contact the insurance company. You should contact the police if the damage is due to vandalism and get a copy of the police report.
Your homeowners insurance provider will send an adjuster to inspect the damage after you file a claim. Here, the opinion of your foundation specialist or contractor will be crucial. Your contractor can vouch if the adjuster claims the damage is due to normal wear and tear or something that you aren’t covered for.
What is your coverage?
Your policy will cover you up to its limits. The standard dwelling coverage of most homeowners’ policies is around $250,000. However, your coverage limit could be higher. In most cases, foundation repairs won’t cost more than $100,000.