Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Damage?
Standard homeowners insurance covers foundation damage unless it was caused by an excluded peril noted in your policy. Examples of excluded losses include earthquakes, improper drainage, excessive tree root growth and temperature changes. The average cost of repairing a foundation can range from $2,141 and $7,450 according to HomeAdvisor — a steep price tag if you don't have home insurance.
Keep reading to learn how your home's foundation coverage works, when you're covered and when you're not.
When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Repairs to Your Foundation?
Your insurance carrier would cover foundation repairs if the damages were caused by a covered peril. You can find information about when and when you're not covered in the declarations page of your insurance policy.
Events that cover your home’s foundation with insurance
Standard home insurance policies have open perils coverage, which means your home's foundation is covered for all losses except those specifically noted in your policy. Generally, your foundation has insurance coverage against multiple perils, including some natural disasters (e.g., fire, lightning, hail, windstorms). If you have a cracked foundation caused by a wildfire, for example, your home insurer should provide coverage for foundation repairs.
The 16 most common covered perils include:
Events that won't cover foundation repairs by most home insurers
While most homeowners policies protect you from a lot, there are several instances in which you won't be covered, including:
Floods: When water floods around your home's foundation, such as overflow from a nearby water source (e.g., dam, lake, ocean).
Earthquakes: Powerful earthquake tremors can crack and damage your home's foundation. Sometimes, earthquakes are called "earth movement" in policies.
Wear and tear: Foundations can shift and deteriorate over time.
Soil misuse: If the soil beneath your house's foundation was not compacted properly during construction, it can cause your home to settle unevenly.
Poor drainage: Dry and wet patches, which shrink and expand, can compromise your foundation.
Tree roots: A nearby tree's roots can push into the foundation, as well as affect the moisture levels in the soil beneath your home's foundation.
Temperature changes: When water freezes, it expands, which can damage your foundation over time.
What Should You Do if You Experience Foundation Damage?
If you suspect your foundation is compromised, consider hiring a professional to inspect it. Foundation inspection reports can cost anywhere from $300 to $600. If the report shows that the foundation damage qualifies as a covered loss by your insurer, you can file an insurance claim.
How Do You File a Claim for Foundation Damage?
The process for filing a claim will vary by the insurance carrier. If you have an inspection report, then your insurer will likely ask you to upload it through their online portal if they have one.
Since foundation damages are often costly to repair, your insurer may conduct their own investigation and send an adjuster to inspect the damages in person. Your foundation specialist's report can come in handy if the adjuster claims the foundation damages were due to a non-covered loss, such as wear and tear. In some cases, the insurer may retain their own independent foundation specialist to get a second opinion.
If approved, your insurer will cover the cost to repair your foundation, up to the policy limits. For example, if you have dwelling coverage for $300,000, then it is possible to be reimbursed up to that amount.
What Should You Do If You're Not Covered by Home Insurance?
Your claim will be denied if your insurer believes the foundation damages were caused by an event not covered in your insurance policy. The options below are potential avenues for appealing your case or reversing it by intervention by a third party.
Obtain a second opinion: If you filed a claim for foundation damage without consulting an inspector first, then getting a new report may introduce evidence that shows the damages are a covered loss that your insurer should cover.
Escalate your case to a claims manager: If you're dissatisfied with your adjuster's decision, ask for a claims manager to review your case. Be sure to provide the claims manager with copies of supporting documents, including reports and correspondence between you and the adjuster.
Contact your state's insurance department: Some states allow policyholders to submit their cases for review. In California, for example, the Consumer Communications Bureau investigates consumer complaints regarding how claims were handled by their insurance company.
Consult an attorney: Get a legal expert to help you gain insight into the validity of your homeowners claim and possibly reverse your insurer's decision. Be sure, however, to weigh the cost of hiring an attorney versus the cost of paying for the repairs yourself.
How Much Does Foundation Repair Cost?
The cost of repairing your foundation can range from $2,141 and $7,450 depending on the type of work needed, according to HomeAdvisor. Small repair jobs like sealing small foundation cracks can be an affordable fix. Bigger projects like leveling your home or reinforcing the foundation can set you back several thousand dollars.
Below is a list of several types of foundation repairs and their respective average costs.
Type of Repair
Small Crack Sealing
Inject epoxy or polyurethane foam for foundation cracks shorter than ⅛ inches.
Piering or Basement Underpinning
Raise the foundation and install hydraulic piers.
$1,000-$3,000 per pier
House Leveling or Foundation Jacking
Fill the space under a concrete foundation with a solution to raise the foundation to the correct level.
Reinforce a bad foundation with carbon fiber or steel support strips.
$4,000-$12,000 for 12 strips
Seal the foundation with a waterproofing solution to help combat moisture and drainage damages.
How To Prevent Foundation Damage
Monitoring the condition of your foundation is your responsibility. The following habits below may help preserve your foundation's integrity:
Improve drainage by clearing gutters and installing drains to help avoid pooling water.
Landscape the surrounding ground so that water slopes away from your home's foundation.
Maintain moisture levels in the soil to keep it from shrinking, which can cause structural defects in your foundation.
Hire a professional foundation specialist every few years to assess your foundation's condition.
Signs of foundation damage
The below warning signs could indicate faulty construction and we strongly encourage you to have a professional inspect your foundation's condition.
Water leaks inside your home or accumulation around your foundation
New cracks or old cracks that have expanded
Doors that don't fit properly into the door jamb
45-degree angle cracks on doors and windows
Gaps above kitchen cabinets
Gaps between countertops and walls
Wet crawl space
Get the Homeowners Insurance You Need
The dwelling portion of a standard homeowners policy will pay for foundation damage when that damage is the result of a named peril and is not excluded from the policy. Getting insured with a home insurance company that helps you understand when and when you're not covered is essential.
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