Q

Does homeowners insurance cover foundation repair?

A

Homeowners insurance will cover foundation repair if the cause of damage is covered in your policy. But damage caused by earthquakes, flooding, and the settling and cracking of your foundation over time are not covered.

Kara McGinleyPat Howard 1600

By

Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is an insurance editor at Policygenius, specializing in home, auto, and renters insurance. She's been writing about insurance since 2019, and her work and insights have been referenced in Kiplinger and WRAL.com.

&

Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is a senior editor at Policygenius specializing in property and casualty insurance. His work has been featured on Property Casualty 360, Fatherly, MarketWatch, and more.

Updated March 24, 2021|3 min read

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Homeowners insurance covers the structure of your house, including its foundation, in the event it’s damaged by a covered peril, like a tornado, explosion, or a fallen tree. Unfortunately, damage from earthquakes, flooding, concrete settling, and other common causes of foundation issues are not covered by homeowners insurance. 

For additional coverage for your house and its foundation, consider purchasing separate earthquake and flood protection. Most insurers offer this coverage as either an add-on to your homeowners insurance or as its own separate policy.

Key Takeaways

  • Foundation repair is covered by homeowners insurance as long as the cause of damage is covered by your policy

  • In many cases, foundation damage that happens suddenly is covered by homeowners insurance. If your foundation cracks due to a catastrophic storm or a massive fallen tree, you’d likely be covered for repairs

  • Damage that happens gradually — like the settling, shrinking, and cracking of your foundation — is typically not covered by homeowners insurance

  • When filing a claim for foundation damage after a storm, be sure to provide your insurer with as much information as possible and consider hiring an independent contractor to verify the cause of the damage prior to the insurance adjuster’s assessment

When does homeowners insurance cover foundation damage?

Homeowners insurance covers the basic structure of your home, including its foundation, frame, walls, and the roof over your head. In the event your house sustains damage and the cause of loss is covered, your insurer will help chip in for repairs. 

When foundation repair is covered by homeowners insurance

Your homeowners insurance policy will list every hazard that your insurer will cover. To see if your home’s foundation damage is covered, you’ll want to check the dwelling portion of your policy coverage form. Realistic causes of foundation damage that are covered by homeowners insurance include:

  • Lightning or fire

  • Explosions

  • Damage caused by vehicles

  • Collapse due to the weight of snow, ice, rain, or sleet

  • Riots or civil disturbances

  • Windstorms

  • Fallen trees 

  • Water damage from plumbing or HVAC

  • Vandalism

  • Damage caused by aircrafts

If your home’s foundation or any other part of your house is damaged due to any of the events listed above, your insurance company should pay out for repairs.

When foundation repair isn’t covered by homeowners insurance

If your foundation issues didn’t come about because of any particular event, or you notice structural damage that has gradually gotten worse over time, chances are homeowners insurance won’t pay for repairs. In fact, homeowners insurance likely won’t cover the most common causes of foundation issues, including: 

  • Natural settling, shrinking, bulging, expansion, and cracking of the foundation

  • Wear and tear, marring, deterioration

  • Earthquakes

  • Flooding

  • Tree root pressure

  • Sinkholes

  • Rodents, insects, and vermin

  • Faulty design or construction

Homeowners insurance won’t cover foundation damage caused by an earthquake or flood, but many insurers offer supplemental coverage or separate insurance policies that can help fill in those gaps in protection.

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How to file a home insurance claim for foundation damage

Most homeowners insurance policies cover the structure of your house at its replacement cost, which means if your foundation is damaged by a covered event and you file a claim, your insurer will cover repairs without depreciation being factored into the payout. Check your policy’s declarations page to see exactly how you’re reimbursed for claims. 

If you suspect your home’s foundation issues are covered by homeowners insurance, you should reach out to your insurance company with as many details as possible.

Below are a few steps you should consider taking after damage to your home’s structure and foundation.

  • Take photos and document the damage - After the storm or covered event, be sure to take photos or videos of the affected part of your home. This will make it far easier to prove your case and get a payout for foundation repairs

  • Inform your insurance company - Your insurer will inform you if the incident is covered or not

  • Fill out claims forms - If your claim is covered, you will need to fill out documentation so that your insurer can resolve the claim and get you a payout. This can typically be done online 

Your insurance company may 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.

How to prevent foundation issues

The foundation is the stabilizing force of your house. The sturdiness of its floors, the functionality of its doors and cabinets, and the mere comfort of your home depend on the condition of its foundation. 

To prevent foundation problems from occurring, pay close attention to the soil moisture on your property. Your home’s foundation moves as the ground expands or contracts, so being able to control water flow and soil moisture on your property is the best measure you can take to prevent foundation damage. 

  • Install drains in your yard - If you begin to notice puddles and wet areas in your yard, look into installing underground drains to siphon the water off of your property

  • Clean your gutters and spouts - Clogged gutters and drains spouts can affect your home’s roof as well as its foundation. During a period of heavy precipitation, water in a clogged gutter can spill over and leak down into the soil underneath the home’s foundation

  • Don’t plant trees too close to your home - Trees that are too close to your home’s exterior can cause major problems for its foundation. When a tree is too close to the house, its roots expand underneath the foundation, drawing in moisture. This causes the soil around your home to expand and contract, leading to shifts and cracks in your foundation

  • Keep the soil watered - Dry soil can also lead to significant foundation issues. Make sure your yard is regularly watered, especially during dry seasons

  • Have your foundation inspected - Every couple years, hire a foundation contractor to inspect the condition of your home’s foundation. They may be able to spot issues and warning signs that you’ve missed

Signs of foundation damage

When it comes to foundation damage usually the signs are relatively obvious, like cracks in basement walls or uneven floorboards. If your home has any of the following issues, it’s likely a sure sign of foundation damage.

  • Cracks in your home’s sheetrock, tiles, or exterior masonry 

  • Sagging or shifting of floors, walls, ceilings, and support beams

  • A wet crawl space

  • Misaligned doors

  • Insects

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to fix the foundation of a house?

Most homeowners pay an average of $5,000 for foundation repairs, according to Home Advisor. Repairs involving hydraulic piers can cost up to $10,000 or more, while filling in minor cracks could cost as little as $500

Does homeowners insurance cover structural problems?

Yes, the dwelling coverage portion of your homeowners insurance policy covers damage to the structure of your home, including its foundation. If your foundation or any part of your home’s structure is damaged due to a covered event, homeowners insurance can help pay for repairs or a full rebuild, depending on the extent of the damage.

Can you live in your house while its foundation is being repaired?

This will likely depend on the severity of the foundation damage. If your foundation is sinking into the ground and repairs involve lifting the home up onto a pier and beam foundation, you likely won’t be able to stay in the house. If repairs entail smaller fixes, like filling in cracks, you can likely stay put.

Keep in mind that if your foundation is damaged due to a covered event and you’re forced to stay somewhere else while the house is being repaired, homeowners insurance can help cover the cost of your additional living expenses.

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Homeowners Insurance

What are the different types of homeowners insurance policy forms?

There are eight different types of homeowners insurance policies for various home types and coverage needs.

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What’s included on a homeowners insurance policy?

Your homeowners policy includes different sections that explain what is and isn’t covered by your policy. It also thoroughly explains your policy limits, deductibles, and premiums.

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What is dwelling coverage?

Dwelling coverage is the portion of your homeowners insurance policy that helps pay to rebuild or repair the physical structure of your home in the event of a covered loss.

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