Learn more about how your homeowners insurance policy handles foundation damage.
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Foundation problems can wreak havoc on your home. While your insurance policy covers your foundation, many of the perils that actually cause foundation problems are specifically excluded from your coverage. Read on to learn more about what your homeowners insurance will and won’t cover when it comes to foundation damage.
The foundation of your home is covered under the dwelling portion of your home insurance. For instance, if your home’s foundation is damaged by a house fire or a tornado, your home policy would step in to cover it. Other perils covered by your policy’s dwelling policy include the following:
Home foundation damage is often caused by perils other than those listed above. Read on to see the most common problems associated with home foundations.
Your foundation is most susceptible to issues stemming from the soil it's built on. The ground can be affected by a variety of factors, including drought, water drainage and natural settling.
A number of other issues could arise and possibly harm your foundation. Common causes of foundation damage include:
Unfortunately, many of these threats to your home’s foundation aren’t covered by your homeowners policy. Read on to see further examples of perils that aren’t covered.
Your foundation is subject to the same homeowners insurance policy exclusions as your primary dwelling. Unfortunately, some of these perils tend to be the primary causes of foundation problems. In most cases, the following perils are generally excluded from a standard homeowners policy:
In addition, foundation issues that arise from tree roots are not covered by a homeowners policy. This also applies to general wear-and-tear, so older homes may be at a greater risk of foundation problems that won’t be covered by your policy.
In general, your foundation is covered against the same perils as the rest of your dwelling — with some exceptions. However, natural disaster coverage can change depending on where you live. For instance, if you live in an area prone to wildfires, some insurers may not provide coverage. Similarly, hurricane-prone areas along the coast may have other stipulations about wind damage (flooding from hurricanes is generally not covered).
Floods and earthquakes are not covered by most standard home insurance policies. As such, foundation damage that results from these perils is not covered. Each of these natural disasters has the potential to cause serious damage to your home and its foundation. As such, seeking out the proper coverage is crucial if you want to be covered.
Flood insurance can be secured from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Mudslides are often covered under flood insurance policies. Foundation damage resulting from earth movement is only covered under a dedicated earthquake insurance policy. This coverage is often available in states prone to seismic activity, typically as an endorsement to your current insurance coverage.
Sinkholes are another common issue that can damage a foundation. Florida requires insurance companies to offer coverage for “catastrophic ground cover collapse,” but those who live outside of Florida should speak to their insurance company to see if they provide any options.
While some issues may be unavoidable, there are some steps that homeowners can take to prevent structural damage from foundation problems. If your area is susceptible to periods of prolonged drought or sustained heavy rains, shifts in the surrounding soil can have negative impacts on your foundation. As such, it's imperative to take the necessary steps to protect your home, including the following:
It might be time to consult a foundation specialist if you start to notice any of the following issues:
When searching for a new home, it’s often a good idea to be on the lookout for signs of foundation damage. As foundation repair costs can range from just a few hundred dollars to well over $10,000, ensuring that it’s in good shape is vital. In general, if you are unsure if your foundation is covered, review your homeowners policy with an agent to find out.
If you are looking to increase your coverage or lower your insurance premiums, shopping around is a good place to start. The Zebra can help you get free quotes from the nation’s top insurance companies. Just enter your ZIP below to get started.
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.