Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repairs?

Foundation Damage Insurance

Most of us are not contractors, builders or structural engineers; neither do we walk around the home’s interior and exterior pondering about settling, earth movement and other factors that may impact the structural integrity of our homes.

Like many, you may feel the unfortunate pinch of battling with difficult to open windows, a curiously stiff insect screen or cracks appearing on your drywall. Once noticed, the damage has already occurred but this was not a sudden and accidental occurrence; it gradually happened over time.

You may be shocked to find foundation and other structural repairs are very expensive. In the back of our minds, we may simply expect that our homeowners insurance will protect us from such calamities, without the further thought of reviewing and understanding the covered perils and the conditions and exclusions to our homeowners insurance policy.

Structural Foundation Repairs are NOT Typically Covered
Homeowners Insurance is intended to protect your home, other structures and your personal belongings; however, the policy is designed to cover sudden and accidental losses such as Fire, Smoke, Water & Burglary.

The gradual settling of the foundation, termites, insect infestation, mold and other perils that occur over time are generally not covered by the homeowners insurance policy.

The structural foundation damage and unnatural settling of the house is caused by soil conditions, damage caused by water channeling or gradual earth movement; neither which are sudden not accidental. Insurance companies suggest structural damage is avoidable by keeping up with maintenance, which may help the avoidance of structural damage and costly repairs.

Is There Any Form of Prevention Against Foundation Damage?
Flood and drought conditions are beyond our control but there are things we can do which will channel water away from the foundation which would have the largest impact on structural integrity.

  1. Clean Gutters Regularly – Clearing the gutters of leaves, dirt and debris is a simple task that can be done with a garden hose and a gutter cleaning nozzle extension.   It is equally important to trim away any tree branches which may cause debris to continue collecting thus blocking the gutters.
  2. Channel Downspouts Away from the Foundation – Many home owners install gutters; after a beautiful installation, the thought of channeling the downspouts away hasn’t even occurred. Most professional contractors connect downspouts to a drainage page assuring the water will be carried away from the home and to the street gutter where possible.
  3.  Be Mindful of Yard Drainage – Trees, plants and shrubs planted too close to the house create harmful moist conditions; further, vegetation needs to be watered and this is a situation you don’t want to contribute to close to your foundation.
  4. Level Landscaping Downward Away From House – The lawn and garden need to be landscaped such that there is a grade running water away from the house on all sides.

The best way to save money on structural foundation repairs is to take any available step to prevent the damage.  There are experts that specialize in water channeling, sump pumps and subterranean systems to keep your foundation as dry as possible. Yard drainage, good maintenance, upkeep and preventive measures are clearly the cheapest way to keep your home in good condition and avoid costly repairs which usually are not covered by homeowners insurance.