Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repair?

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Cracked foundation (Photo: @itsfiveam via Twenty20)
Elan Mcafee · Writer · Sep 28, 2020
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    Your home insurance policy provides coverage for a wide array of repairs, but is foundation repair covered by homeowners insurance? The short answer is that it depends. In general, if your foundation is damaged in a sudden disaster, your homeowners insurance may foot the bill to repair it.
    Determining the cause of the foundation damage is pivotal in whether it is covered by your home insurance policy or not. Here are how some potential foundation damage issues are likely to be handled by your homeowners insurance.

    Wind damage

    If a tornado destroys your home and its foundation, it qualifies as a sudden natural disaster. There is nothing you could do to prevent this, so there is little to investigate in this situation. This is covered under homeowner’s insurance.

    Fire or explosion

    Fires or explosions are also sudden devastating events. As such, the damage to your foundation and beyond is likely to be covered under your homeowners insurance. If, however, the cause of the fire or explosion is found to stem from homeowner negligence or even arson, your insurance will deny your claim for these foundation problems.

    Water damage

    Water damage is sometimes covered by insurance and depends on the nature of the cause. If a major plumbing issue occurs, for instance, this falls into a gray area where sudden and unpreventable damage is often covered but slower and preventable water damage is not covered. Drainage problems, one of the most common causes of foundation damage, are rarely covered by homeowners insurance, as the resulting foundation issues could be preemptively addressed.
    While natural floods qualify as sudden and unexpected natural disasters that can damage your foundation, these are rarely covered by homeowners insurance. You can, however, add flood insurance coverage to your standard policy through most home insurance companies.

    House settling

    Houses settle over time, and this sometimes causes foundations to crack. This is unlikely to be covered by homeowners insurance because it happens slowly. It is also largely preventable, albeit in the preconstruction stage, through proper ground preparation before the foundation is laid.

    Tree roots

    Tree roots growing into home foundations are another common reason for foundation repair. Unfortunately, this situation is not covered by homeowners insurance. Tree growth is about as unsudden as it gets, so it does not qualify as an unexpected disaster.

    Drastic shifts in temperature

    Large shifts between cold and hot temperatures are another frequent cause of cracking that necessitates foundation repair. While this situation is largely unpreventable, it might be mitigated by proper insulation. Such cracking also tends to worsen over time, so this situation is rarely covered under homeowners insurance.

    Earthquakes

    While earthquakes are certainly natural disasters for which you cannot prepare, they are typically not covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy. You can, however, opt for additional earthquake coverage with many insurance companies. This may be advisable if you reside in an area prone to tremors.
    Tip: Document your home maintenance and store that in a secure place. If any question later arises about proper care to your home, including its foundation, this documentation can help sway a claim in your favor if the cause of foundation damage lies within a grey area.
    Some homeowners insurance policies do not cover foundation repair at all. So, it is vital to review your policy closely if you need foundation damage coverage or are preparing to file a claim.
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