The foundation of your home is incredibly important for structural stability and integrity. Foundation damage is a major problem that needs to be repaired as quickly as possible. Sadly, many homeowners don’t realize the importance of regular foundation inspections and repairs until significant damage has already occurred.
While there are plenty of ways to repair your home’s foundation, they all tend to be expensive. And while homeowners insurance covers many types of damage, it won’t pay for everything. Let’s review some of the major causes of foundation damage and what is (and isn’t) covered by your home insurance policy.
Don’t have home insurance yet? That’s a problem you quickly need to remedy. In addition to foundation repairs, a good homeowners policy can replace your personal property and dwelling after numerous types of loss, from storms and fires to theft. When the time comes to shop for home insurance, SelectQuote can help answer your questions and find the right kind of coverage to meet your needs.
What causes foundation damage?
Foundation damage occurs for many different reasons. Sometimes it’s the result of a natural disaster like a tornado, earthquake or windstorm. In other cases, the damage might be due to vandalism, vehicle damage or a riot. Typical causes of foundation damage include the following:
- Riots and other civil disturbances
- Vehicle damage
- Collapsing due to snow, ice or sleet
- Water damage from plumbing, heating or air conditioning overflows
The most important thing to consider with foundation damage isn’t necessarily what caused it, but whether or not the insurance company will pay for repairs. And in this case, the answer can sometimes be complicated.
When will your insurance policy cover foundation damage?
When does insurance cover foundation damage? Each insurance company differs in what kinds of foundation repairs it will pay for, but the most common causes that lead to approved claims include:
- Storm damage
- Damage from vandalism and riots
- Damage caused by a vehicle or aircraft
- Water damage from plumbing
- Damage caused by an explosion
- Foundation collapse due to heavy weight after a winter storm
In some cases, separate coverage may be necessary for your insurance provider to pay for the repairs. For example, earthquake damage and flooding typically require their own insurance policies. Failure to buy that kind of coverage will likely result in your insurance company denying your claim.
When does your insurance policy not cover foundation damage?
When it comes to foundation damage, insurance companies usually cover events that can be considered a “sudden and accidental loss.” This is why damage from storms, vandalism, or a vehicle is covered because they easily fall into this category. Insurance companies usually do not cover foundation damage that stems from what they deem part of regular home maintenance or normal wear and tear.
Examples of events insurance companies often view as normal wear and tear are natural settling, cracking, shrinking, expansion and bulging of a foundation or foundation damage due to tree roots. Even though these events can cause major damage to a home’s foundation, insurance companies categorize them as part of home maintenance.
Insurance companies also won’t cover earthquake or flooding damage, unless you have separate coverage for those specific events. Finally, instances of faulty construction are usually not accepted when the time comes to submit a foundation claim, which is why getting a home inspection before you purchase a home is so important.
Check Your Current Policy
If you’re suddenly concerned about how to pay for foundation damage or repairs, you’re not alone. Before you panic, however, sit down with your current insurance policy and take a look to see what is and isn’t covered. Most policy declarations offer clear definitions of coverage. If you’re still worried, it might be time to shop around for new coverage.
SelectQuote shops dozens of highly-rated insurance carriers at one time to help you find the best prices on coverage that fits your needs, including additional options for paying for foundation repairs. Our proprietary technology allows us to do this quickly, saving you hours of time you’d spend gathering information and quotes on your own.
How to Prevent Foundation Damage
The best way to deal with foundation damage is to prevent it in the first place, but that can sometimes be easier said than done. The best ways to reduce the risk of an expensive foundation repair include:
- Paying for a home inspection prior to purchase: Home inspectors can help determine whether your future home has foundation problems before you even take possession. Some issues can even be enough of a reason to walk away.
- Maintaining soil: Soil that gets too dry or wet puts added strain on the foundation of your home. For drought-prone areas, regular watering can help. For areas with the opposite issue, proper grading ensures that water drains away from the foundation. A good rule of thumb is at least six inches of grading away from your house in the surrounding ten feet.
- Pay attention to trees: Tree roots have the potential to cause damage and spread into your foundation.
- Clean gutters: Failure to clean your home’s gutters could lead to water spilling over the edges. This can cause significant damage, so regularly cleaning them is a good practice.
- Fix cracks quickly: If you see any cracks in the foundation around your home, don’t hesitate. Get a professional to assess the damage and repair it before it turns into a bigger issue.
If you notice any signs of damage like cracks in your walls, door frames, or exterior, it could mean foundation issues are on the way. In addition, any shifting or leaning walls could be a sign of significant problems. Don’t forget to check your crawl space (if you have one). Moisture there could suggest a crumbling or cracked foundation.
Find the Right Homeowners Coverage with the Help of SelectQuote’s Experienced Team
Foundation damage is an expensive issue for homeowners, but knowing how to prevent it goes a long way toward reducing the cost of repairs. Another way to avoid paying out of pocket is to find home insurance coverage that can help offset those expenses.
SelectQuote offers access to home insurance policies from dozens of trusted, highly-rated insurance carriers. We can help answer questions about what is and isn’t covered by your current policy. We’ll also shop around for a new home insurance policy if what you currently have does not meet your needs.
Our technology makes comparing rates from insurance carriers simpler than ever. Because we handle the legwork of shopping for coverage for you, we can save you money on the perfect home insurance policy for your situation.