When you bought homeowner’s insurance, chances are you were worried about a destructive storm or a freak accident. But what about more insidious damage, like the kind your foundation is subject to?
If you have foundation issues, your homeowner’s insurance might not be as helpful as you think. Some homeowner’s insurance policies cover foundation damage when the damage is caused by a covered peril. Read on to see if your insurance company would lend you a hand (or, hey, a buck) in the event of some serious foundation damage.
The most common causes of foundation damage, such as soil expansion and contraction or poor construction, are typically excluded from most insurance policies. Most carriers consider the conditions that contribute to foundation damage to be avoidable by keeping up with home maintenance and controlling conditions that can lead to flooding or inadequate drainage.
A typical homeowner’s policy covers your house only against specific, identified perils. Check your policy's declarations page to see what perils are named. If your foundation damage is the result of a covered risk—such as a tornado, explosion, or fire—your homeowner’s policy may reimburse you for the repairs up to your coverage limits.
Can My Homeowners Insurance Policy Help?
Determining whether or not your insurance policy covers foundation issues is a two-step process:
Step 1. Look at your policy or talk to your agent to see if your policy specifically covers foundation damage. Typically, the small cracks that come from settling will be excluded, but other types of damage may be covered.
Step 2. Review your policy to see when foundation damage is covered. Some types of coverage to look for include:
Earth movement coverage. Related to earthquake insurance, this will protect you against movement in the soil that could damage your foundation.
Flood insurance. This can protect you from major water damage to your home and foundation.
Ground cover collapse coverage. Used in places like Florida where sinkholes are common, this coverage could insure a damaged foundation.
In addition, damage to your foundation that comes from erosion caused by a burst pipe may be covered. Unfortunately, one of the most common causes of foundation damage—the normal compression and expansion of the ground through the seasons—is rarely covered by homeowner’s insurance. The clay soils present in much of Texas are particularly subject to compression and expansion.
Your Options for Your Foundation Repairs
Good maintenance of your home’s foundation, including having proper drainage in place, is key to saving yourself from costly repairs. But if a repair is unavoidable, your first step should be to call your homeowners' insurance company. If they won’t cover the repair, you have some choices to make.
Unfortunately, not making the repair is usually not an option. Over time, your house can continue to settle, leading to more structural damage—eventually becoming unlivable, in some cases. If the damage stems from a foundation issue that isn’t covered, your insurer could refuse to pay claims on any of the necessary repairs. This can leave you facing expensive repairs without support, or even the loss of your home entirely.
The first step in getting your foundation repaired is to have a qualified and experienced contractor come out and determine what you need to have done. An estimate from a qualified foundation repair company can be extremely helpful when verifying whether or not your insurance policy will cover the damage. If some forms of damage are covered, but not others, it can be critical to have an expert verify that the damage was caused by a covered problem.
Even if your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover foundation repair, remember that your foundation supports your biggest investment: your home. Protect it with help from the experts!
Start your foundation repair claim with a comprehensive inspection from our Ram Jack Southern Mississippi repair professionals. Contact our offices today to learn more!