Homeowners insurance is like an umbrella against misfortune for your home, shielding it and you against the rainiest days. But what about when the trouble comes from below? Does homeowners insurance cover foundation issues? The short answer is it depends. The kind of damage, your ability to prevent foundation damage, and the types of home insurance coverage you’ve got all play a role.1
But before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s define this foundation we’re talking about.
What is a house foundation?
Simply put: it’s the level of your home that holds the rest of it up.2 Foundations come in several forms: basements, crawlspaces, and slab-on-grade. Each come with their advantages and disadvantages, but if built and looked after properly, they will all do their job of keeping the rest of your home above ground.3
What causes foundation issues?
A lot is happening below the surface of the ground that we rarely see or think about. Your foundation, on the other hand, lives alongside this subterranean world every day. Burrowing animals like groundhogs or moles, termites, tree roots, and water-saturated soil are just a few of the unseen threats that can cause damage to your foundation without your notice. Other more overt threats can cause damage above the surface, too. Heat and flames from fires (wildfire or home fire), flooding, and earthquakes can all threaten the integrity of your home’s foundation.4
What is and isn’t included in homeowners foundation insurance coverage?
Whether or not you’re covered depends upon the cause of the damage and the scope of your home insurance coverage. Basic home insurance covers many kinds of damage, however certain kinds such as those related to natural disasters often require separate coverage.
Does homeowners insurance cover foundation problems from accidents?
In most scenarios, yes. Damage resulting from accidents comprises much of what homeowners insurance covers. Scenarios that fall under the banner of accident-related damage include severe storms, fires, gas leak explosions, even incidents like a vehicle crashing into your home.
Does homeowners insurance cover foundation problems from flooding, earthquakes, and extreme weather?
Not every natural disaster is covered by basic homeowners insurance. As previously stated, damage from wildfires and heavy storms is usually covered. Damage from earthquakes and floods, however, does not fall under basic foundation insurance coverage. You can purchase additional insurance for these hazards.5
Does homeowners insurance cover foundation problems from faulty construction?
If it’s not caused by some sudden and accidental event that you can’t have planned for, then it’s probably not covered in your homeowners insurance policy. Foundation problems resulting from faulty construction are no exception. The responsibility falls on the homeowner to research during the home buying process. Always have a full home inspection performed before signing on the dotted line.6
What are the signs of foundation damage?
Because damages usually have to be sudden and accidental to be covered, spotting the signs of deterioration ahead of time is critical. If you know what foundation damage looks like, you can spare yourself a very large repair expense. Some signs of foundation damage can include uneven floors, doors, and windows that have cracks around them or don’t open and close as easily as they should, cracks in your foundation exterior or basement walls, and stair-stepped cracking in bricks or concrete. Regularly checking in on your foundation will help you identify these warning signs before they develop into something worse.
How do you file a foundation repair insurance claim?
If you believe damage sustained by your foundation is something that’s covered under your policy, you’ll want to get your claims process started sooner than later. Take photo and video records of the damage for your records. You may also need to contact your agent to answer pressing questions, too. Does homeowners insurance cover foundation repair under these circumstances? Will all the repairs be covered? Your agent can answer all these questions and arrange for a claims adjuster to be sent to your home so the damage can be evaluated in person. After these evaluations have been made, simply hire a contractor that meets your requirements and those of your insurance company.
Prevent foundation damage and protect your home
As with most kinds of home damage, prevention is key. There are several ways to mitigate potential threats to your foundation. Adding gutters to your roof helps to divert water away from the ground immediately surrounding your home, minimizing the risk of water damage. Trimming grass and other foliage near your foundation also discourages rodents and other pests from making their homes nearby.7 Be careful about trees growing near your home, too. Their root systems grow out further than you might think. And, of course, if you do find any cracks or other early signs of damage, call a professional to have a look. A preventative evaluation is less expensive than a repair job!8
It’s also important to understand homeowners insurance and know what it covers. Get a free quote today from Nationwide and learn how homeowners insurance can help you live with a sound mind and a sound foundation.
1 https://www.thebalance.com/does-homeowners-insurance-cover-foundation-repair-5189320, Accessed October 2021.
2 https://www.thisoldhouse.com/foundations/21015176/from-the-ground-up-house-foundations, Accessed October 2021.
3 https://www.thespruce.com/types-of-house-foundations-1821308, Accessed October 2021.
4 https://www.thebalance.com/does-homeowners-insurance-cover-foundation-repair-5189320, Accessed October 2021.
5 https://www.thebalance.com/does-homeowners-insurance-cover-foundation-repair-5189320, Accessed October 2021.
6 https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/homeowners-insurance/does-homeowners-insurance-cover-foundation-repair/, Accessed October 2021.
7 https://www.thebalance.com/does-homeowners-insurance-cover-foundation-repair-5189320, Accessed October 2021.
8 https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/homeowners-insurance/does-homeowners-insurance-cover-foundation-repair/, Accessed October 2021.