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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Your Foundation?

Owning a home is likely one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, so it’s important to protect it. Homeowners insurance helps safeguard your home and possessions from potential disasters like fire, theft, earthquakes, and certain weather-related events – but does it cover your foundation? In this article, we’ll explore whether your homeowners insurance typically protects against foundation issues, what to do when your home has a foundation problem and you’re not insured, offer tips on how you can help prevent foundation trouble, and more. 

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Your Foundation?

So, does homeowners insurance cover your foundation? It depends.

If your foundation damage is caused by a covered peril, such as a fire, explosion, or severe weather event like a tornado or hurricane, then yes, your homeowners insurance may cover the repair or replacement of your foundation.

However, if the damage is due to wear and tear, poor maintenance, or neglect, your insurance probably will not cover it. This is why it is important to regularly inspect and maintain your foundation to minimize the risk of damage.

Carefully review your policy and talk to your insurance agent to fully understand what is and isn’t covered when it comes to foundation damage. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and clarify any confusing terms or conditions.

What if My Home Has Foundation Damage Not Covered by My Insurance Policy?

If your home has foundation damage that isn’t covered by your insurance policy, it’s not the end of the world. Here’s a possible plan of action:

  • Get an estimate – The first step is to figure out how much it will cost to repair the damage. Reach out to several reputable foundation repair contractors and get quotes. This will give you an idea of how much money you’ll need to come up with.
  • Apply for a grant – Depending on where you live and your circumstances, there may be grants available to help cover the cost of home repairs. Do some research to see if this is an option in your area.
  • Consider financing – If you don’t have the cash on hand to pay for repairs and do not qualify for a grant, consider talking to the foundation repair contractor about financing.  
  • Negotiate with your insurance company – You can try and prove that the damage was caused by something covered in your policy. For example, if you have coverage for water damage but not foundation damage, you could argue that the foundation damage was caused by water. 

Dealing with foundation damage isn’t fun, especially if it’s not covered by insurance. However, there are options available to you – so don’t lose hope. With a bit of research and some hard work, you can get your home back to its former glory.

What Causes Foundation Damage?

Foundation problems are caused by various things, including the following:

  • Expansive soil – Expansive soil is a real troublemaker because it expands when it soaks up moisture and contracts when it dries out. This back-and-forth swelling and shrinking creates movement under the foundation that can lead to serious structural damage.
  • Improper site preparation – When soil is not properly tamped down before building, it can settle and shift over time, causing your foundation to become unstable. This can happen even years after the building has been constructed.
  • Erosion-prone soil – When the soil under the house washes away, it can create voids under your foundation, which can cause uneven settlement.
  • Seismic events – When an earthquake hits, the ground shifts and moves in ways that can cause serious structural damage. In areas prone to earthquakes, it’s especially important to have your home seismically retrofitted. 
  • Poor drainage – Poor drainage can make matters worse when it comes to expansive and erosion-prone soil. When soil becomes saturated with water, it can exacerbate the effects of these types of soil, leading to increased damage over time.

How Is Foundation Damage Repaired?

The selected repair solution for foundation damage will depend on what caused the problem. Here are a couple of common foundation problems and their possible solutions:

Foundation Damage Caused by Differential Settlement

Differential foundation settlement is when the foundation settles unevenly into the ground. This can happen when the soil beneath the foundation isn’t able to support the home’s weight evenly, causing certain parts of the foundation to sink more than others. Differential settlement can lead to all sorts of problems, such as cracks in walls, ceilings, and floors, as well as trouble opening and closing doors and windows.

Differential settlement is usually corrected via underpinning. This involves excavating underneath the foundation and installing piers to extend the foundation down to load-bearing soil.  

Foundation Damage Caused by Hydrostatic Pressure

Poor drainage around a foundation can cause hydrostatic pressure to build up and push against the foundation walls. If the pressure isn’t relieved, the walls will eventually start to bow inward. They may even crack. 

One possible solution for a bowed or cracked foundation wall might be carbon fiber straps to stabilize the wall, followed by the installation of a drain tile system to correct the drainage problem and alleviate the pressure.

Common Signs of Foundation Damage

If you’re wondering whether your home might have a foundation problem, here are a few telltale signs to look out for:

  • Uneven floors – If your floors have a noticeable slope or feel uneven when you walk on them, it could be a sign that there is a problem with your foundation.
  • Cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings – Tiny cracks are pretty normal as a house settles evenly over time, but if you notice larger cracks, it’s probably best to have a professional inspection done just to be safe.
  • Stairstep cracks in brick or masonry – These types of cracks always indicate a serious foundation issue that needs to be addressed immediately.
  • Doors and windows that don’t open or close properly – If you notice that your doors or windows are sticking, it could be a sign that your foundation has moved and everything is now out of plumb.
  • A chimney or porch that’s pulling away from the house – The problem might be related to the foundation under the chimney or porch. However, this could also indicate a problem with the house’s foundation. 

If you see any of the above (or anything else that strikes you as suspicious), contact a foundation repair contractor in your area and ask for an inspection.  

Tips on How to Help Prevent Foundation Damage

The good news is that there are some things you can do to help prevent foundation problems from occurring.

One thing you can do is regrade your yard. This involves making sure the ground slopes away from your home so that water doesn’t pool near your foundation. If water is allowed to pool around your foundation, it can cause serious damage over time.

Another way to prevent foundation problems is to install downspout extensions. These direct water away farther from your home’s foundation before release.

It’s also important to clean your gutters regularly. This will help prevent water from overflowing, running down the side of your house, and soaking into the ground next to your foundation.

If you live in an area with heavy rainfall or a high groundwater table, you may want to consider installing a drain tile system. This involves a series of buried drainage pipes that will help direct water away from your home’s foundation.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to keep trees away from your foundation as well. Trees can “drink” a lot of water from the ground, which can cause the soil to shrink and shift. This can lead to foundation problems over time.

Did you notice that most of the above measures involve ensuring the ground around your home’s foundation remains dry? This is because most foundation problems are caused by excess moisture in the soil. 

If you’re concerned your home might have a foundation issue, contact us today to schedule a free foundation inspection and receive a repair estimate! 

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