Q: I’ve recently noticed some cracks in the foundation of my home. I’m worried they’ll need expensive repairs, but I’m not sure if my homeowners policy covers the damage. Does homeowners insurance cover foundation issues?
A: The foundation of a home is one of the home’s most important components, and the cost of foundation repairs can be high. Whether it’s a common crack from settling or a more serious issue, seeing damage to a home’s foundation can leave homeowners feeling nervous. Homeowners might even wonder, “Will my homeowners insurance cover foundation issues?” The answer, in some cases, is yes—but it depends on the cause of the issues.
In order for homeowners insurance to cover foundation repair, the damage must come from a covered peril. Common covered perils include acts of nature, such as tornadoes, as well as fire or sudden and accidental water damage. However, the answer to “Does homeowners insurance cover foundation issues?” comes with a few exceptions. Insurance won’t typically cover damage from owner Negligence or regular wear and tear.
Homeowners insurance generally covers foundation issues up to the policy’s dwelling coverage limits if the issues were caused by a covered event, such as a tornado or fire.
Homeowners asking, “Does insurance cover foundation issues?” are often relieved to learn that their policy will generally cover repairs that are the result of covered events. The list of covered perils may vary slightly among policies. However, most policies cover foundation damage that’s caused by natural weather events, such as thunderstorms or tornadoes.
Additionally, damage from fire, lightning, and windstorms is usually covered by homeowners insurance. Most policies also cover the damage from fallen trees or the weight of snow and ice. Homeowners might ask, “Does homeowners insurance cover foundation damage from non-weather events?” The answer is that some non-natural perils are covered as well. These usually include vehicle collisions, vandalism, and explosions. If a vandal takes a sledgehammer to the foundation of a home, for example, the homeowner’s insurance policy should cover the cost of repairs once the homeowner’s deductible has been met.
However, foundation problems caused by events that are not covered will be the homeowner’s responsibility to fix.
In the event a homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover foundation damage, the homeowner will be on the hook to pay for repairs. Futhermore, if a homeowner is wondering “Will homeowners insurance cover foundation problems if I haven’t kept up on maintenance?” the answer will likely be no.
Typically, homeowners insurance won’t cover damage from a homeowner’s negligence. A homeowner is expected to take care of their home—including the foundation—via regular maintenance. If an insurance company finds the foundation damage is due to a lack of maintenance, the homeowner’s claim will likely be denied.
For example, homeowners insurance doesn’t usually cover damage from tree roots. Tree roots grow slowly, so it’s expected that a homeowner could take care of the tree before it becomes a problem. If the homeowner lets a tree grow roots that put pressure on the home, it could be considered Negligence.
Foundation issues caused by normal wear and tear or settling are typically not covered by homeowners insurance.
Not all foundation damage comes from Negligence, accidents, or natural disasters. General wear and tear, such as cracks resulting from settling or expansion, can damage a home’s foundation. Unfortunately for homeowners asking, “Does house insurance coverage foundation issues like concrete expansion?” or “Does homeowners insurance cover cracked foundations from settling?” the answer is usually no.
Even though a homeowner may not be expressly negligent, the regular wear and tear on a foundation often isn’t covered by homeowners insurance. Homeowners with older homes or those in areas with lots of soil movement may have to cover foundation damage repairs from settling or shifting materials on their own.
In cases of wear and tear, the best homeowners insurance companies (like Allstate) generally expect the homeowner to regularly check their foundation for issues. This includes monitoring the soil around the house and taking preventive measures before problems begin.
Homeowners insurance can reimburse policyholders for covered foundation issues through actual cash value or replacement cost coverage.
After learning the answer to the question “Does homeowners insurance cover foundation repairs?” many homeowners ask, “How does homeowner insurance cover foundation repair costs?” Typically, there are two ways a homeowners insurance policy will pay for a covered foundation repair. Homeowners are reimbursed for the cost of repairs either through actual cash value or replacement cost coverage.
An actual cash value insurance policy pays for the cost to rebuild a home or repair damaged structures based on the home’s depreciated value. This is generally not the best type of policy since the homeowner is likely to have too little money to repair or rebuild the home to its former specifications. A replacement cost policy pays to repair damages or to rebuild the house based on the current cost of materials or repairs, up to the policy’s limits.
It’s advised that homeowners carefully read their policy documents to understand what is covered and what is excluded from coverage.
The best way for homeowners to learn the answer to the question “Are foundation cracks covered by homeowners insurance?” is to read their insurance policy carefully. There are generally two types of insurance policies: All-risk policies or named perils policies.
All-risk policies, also called “open perils policies,” list out the exclusions to the homeowners insurance policy instead of trying to list out everything that’s covered. These policies often make it easy to see exactly what a homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover. Homeowners with open perils policies can easily answer the question “Are foundation issues covered by homeowners insurance?” by looking at their policy’s list of exclusions. If the peril isn’t named, it is usually covered.
Named perils policies, on the other hand, specifically list the perils or types of accidents covered by the policy. If a homeowner with a named perils policy asks, “Is foundation damage covered by homeowners insurance?” they can simply check which perils their policy covers. While named perils policies tend to be cheaper, their coverage can be limited.
Homeowners can take out additional insurance policies, such as earthquake or flood insurance, to help cover potential foundation issues.
Homeowners will need to know about a few notable exceptions when asking, “Does home insurance cover foundation issues from natural disasters?” While homeowners insurance generally covers fire, wind, and hail, most policies exclude coverage for earthquakes and floods. If a homeowner lives in an area prone to earthquakes or flooding, it’s usually a good idea to purchase a separate policy to cover these perils.
Homeowners can buy a flood insurance policy from one of the best flood insurance companies to protect their foundation from damage due to sudden flooding. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)—a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)—provides homeowners with flood insurance policies directly and through partner insurance companies. Flood insurance covers home structures and personal belongings from damages caused by flooding, including the foundation of a home.
Homeowners in earthquake-prone areas such as Alaska, California, or Nevada might wonder, “Does homeowners insurance cover foundation problems from earthquakes?” The answer is often no. Most homeowners who worry about earthquakes will have to purchase a separate policy from one of the best earthquake insurance companies to protect their foundation from sudden movements of the earth.
A foundation inspection can help homeowners determine the cause of their home’s foundation issues, which can help them decide whether to file an insurance claim.
When a homeowner sees cracks in their foundation or notices warped doorways, they might worry they’re in for expensive foundation repairs. However, not all signs of foundation wear indicate a major issue. In fact, some cracks or other signs of wear might only be cosmetic. A foundation inspection can help homeowners learn more about their foundation problems—and whether they need extensive repairs or not.
A foundation inspection is usually performed by a structural engineer. These foundation specialists know how to spot problem areas and determine what’s causing the home’s foundation issues. They let the homeowner know the severity of the situation, such as potential safety concerns or immediate needs for repairs. Foundation engineers can also usually recommend a plan to solve the problem, whether it’s a complicated repair that requires a foundation company or a simple epoxy job.
Homeowners can take several measures to help prevent foundation damage to their home.
The answer to the question “Are foundation cracks covered by homeowners insurance?” is that it can depend on the situation. While homeowners insurance may cover certain causes of foundation damage, it is generally recommended that homeowners take measures to prevent foundation damage in the first place.
There are a few things homeowners can do to help slow or stop foundation issues like cracking or settling. The most important is to maintain moisture levels in the soil around the home. Soil that is too wet or too dry can put a strain on a home’s foundation. Homeowners insurance can cover water damage in some cases, but if the damage is caused by Negligence or a lack of maintenance, the claim will likely be denied. For example, homeowners in areas with a lot of rain might invest in gutters to help keep excess water from pooling around the base of their home. In dry climates, homeowners may want to regularly water the soil around their homes to keep it from getting too dry and cracking or separating from the foundation.
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