Q

Q

Does homeowners insurance cover foundation repair?

A

A

Your policy’s dwelling coverage will cover damage to the foundation of your home, however the damage must be caused by a covered peril.

Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Published May 8, 2020

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Foundation damage is commonly caused by water buildup or tree roots growing under your foundation. Cracked floors and misaligned doors are a sign of foundation damage

  • The dwelling coverage component of your home insurance policy covers damage to your foundation

  • However, the damage must be caused by a covered peril in your policy, like sudden and immediate water damage

  • When filing a claim for foundation repair, you should provide your insurer with as much information as possible and prepare for a claims adjuster to inspect the damage to your home

Homeowners insurance protects your house and personal belongings if they are burglarized or damaged by a covered peril. When you purchase a homeowners insurance policy, you are buying coverage for your home itself, your personal belongings, and your personal liability if you are found liable for an accident or injury.

The dwelling coverage component of your homeowners insurance policy will cover the foundation of your home if it is damaged, however it must be damaged by a covered peril outlined in your policy, like fire or certain types of water damage.

In this article:

What can damage your foundation?

Depending on where you live and the type of home you have, the makeup of your home’s foundation could vary, but some common materials used for home foundations are poured concrete, expansive clay, stone, brick, lumber, and concrete slab. Most of the time, water is the main culprit of home foundation damage. The moisture can cause the soil under your foundation to swell or shrink, which then causes the foundation to move or crack.

Some other common threats to your foundation:

  • Tree roots growing under your foundation, causing it to crack
  • Plumbing leaks below your home
  • Poor drainage around the exterior of your house
  • Earthquake, flood, or draught

Signs of foundation damage

When it comes to foundation damage usually the signs are relatively obvious, like cracks in basement walls or uneven floorboards.

Below are other warning signs of foundation damage:

  • Cracks in plaster walls
  • Sagging floors
  • Wet crawl space after precipitation
  • Cracked bricks or sheetrock
  • Displaced moldings
  • Misaligned doors

Some signs are less subtle, like increased humidity indoors or strange smells in the basement. But is this damage covered? Well, it depends.

When does homeowners insurance cover foundation repair?

Your dwelling coverage protects the structure of your home like its foundation, frame, walls, and the roof over your head. Most homeowners insurance policies will cover sudden and accidental damage to your home’s foundation, however, things like leaks and wear and tear may not be covered by your policy. The common culprits that cause foundation damage — water buildup and tree root growth — are not covered by a homeowners insurance policy, as that would be considered routine home maintenance. However, if your foundation is damaged by a covered peril, like a fire or windstorm, it would be covered in addition to the rest of your home.

A standard HO-3 policy, also known as an “open perils” policy, will cover everything except the perils listed in your policy. These exclusions will be specifically outlined, so you can easily see what you can or cannot file a claim for.

Your dwelling coverage typically covers your foundation if it is damaged by:

If any of these perils damage your home’s foundation, your insurance company should consider it a covered loss and pay for the repairs of your foundation and the rest of your dwelling.

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When does homeowners insurance not cover foundation repair?

Homeowners insurance does not cover damages that happen over time, like normal wear and tear. Your dwelling coverage won’t cover damage to your foundation if it is caused by:

  • Earthquakes
  • Flooding
  • War
  • Mudslides
  • Sinkholes
  • Wear and tear and neglect
  • Government action
  • Pests
  • Slowly accumulated water damage
  • Water or any other substance that overflow from a sump pump or other system designed for the removal of subsurface water
  • Tree root damage

Your homeowners insurance policy won’t cover foundation damage if it’s caused by, say, an earthquake, but you may be able to add supplemental coverage to your policy like an earthquake endorsement, or purchase standalone earthquake insurance.

How do you file a claim for foundation repair?

Most homeowners insurance policies are of the replacement cost variety, meaning if your foundation is damaged and you file a claim, your home insurance will cover its full replacement amount without depreciation being factored in. Check your policy’s declarations page to see exactly how you’re reimbursed for claims. If you think the damage to your home’s foundation is covered by your homeowners insurance policy, you should reach out to your insurance company with as many details as possible.

Below are a few steps you will need to make when filing a claim.

  • Contact your insurance company, your insurer will inform you if the incident is covered or not.
  • Fill out the claims forms, if your claim is covered, you will need to fill out documentation. You can usually do this online or through your insurance company’s mobile app. By law, claim forms must be sent to you within a certain time frame after your initial contact with the insurance company.
  • Make temporary repairs, if possible, try to make temporary repairs if your home is unsafe. You don’t want any further damage to take place.

Your insurance company will also send a claims adjuster to your home to assess the damage and confirm details about your claim. Once the inspection is complete and your claim is confirmed, an independent contractor will need to survey the damage and give an estimate of repair cost.

Learn more about the homeowners insurance claims process.

About the author

Insurance Editor

Kara McGinley

Insurance Editor

Kara McGinley is an Insurance Editor at Policygenius. She previously worked as a freelance writer and a copywriter for various startups. Her work can be found in Teen Vogue, The Culture Crush, Mask Magazine, and more.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

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