Are Foundation Repairs Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Are Foundation Repairs Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Discovering foundation problems is never a fun experience for a homeowner. Any structural issue should be addressed by a professional as soon as possible, and they can seem overwhelming to deal with at first. The cost of repairing your foundation may cause anxiety, as it can be several thousand dollars.

The purpose of homeowners’ insurance to protect you from unexpected events and emergencies in your home. When you have an emergency involving your foundation, can you count on your homeowners’ insurance to offset the cost of the repairs? Let’s take a look at what the average homeowners’ policy will and won’t cover, along with the basics of filing a claim.

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The Basics of Homeowners’ Insurance Coverage

Most people have a homeowners’ insurance policy to offset the costs of repairs to their home. Homeowners’ insurance typically covers accidents, theft, and damage to your home. You will typically make an insurance payment once per year, and the average cost per year is around $1,500.

This type of insurance doesn’t just cover the physical structure of your home, it also covers your belongings. When you purchase your policy, you’ll probably need to do an inventory of your home, listing your belongings and their approximate values. You may also be required to have a home inspection done before your policy takes effect so that the insurance company has a record of its current condition.

Are Foundations Covered?

The foundation is part of your home, meaning that it is covered under your homeowners’ insurance policy. Here are a few circumstances that the average policy will cover.

  • Water damage. If something inside your home causes water damage to your foundation, such as a problem with your HVAC or plumbing system, it will be covered under most homeowners’ insurance policies.
  • Snow or ice damage. Heavy snow can do some real damage. Snow and ice are covered as well, so if heavy snow or an ice storm causes damage to your foundation, there’s no need to worry.
  • As wild as it may sound, home explosions can and do happen. Gas-powered appliances such as water heaters, furnaces, and stoves are the most common causes of home explosions. An explosion can damage your foundation and affect your home’s structural integrity, but this uncommon event is covered under most insurance policies.

Which Events Are Not Covered?

Your insurance may or may not be willing to cover your repair, depending on what caused the damage in the first place. Some insurance policies have exceptions written into the policy that exclude types of damage, like these:

  • Earthquakes. Most of the United States is not at risk for an earthquake, and as such, earthquake damage is not covered in most homeowners’ policies. You’ll need a separate earthquake insurance policy if you live in a state like California or Oregon that’s at high risk. If an earthquake causes foundation issues and you don’t have earthquake insurance, your repairs may not be covered.
  • Floods. Floods are also not covered under standard homeowners’ insurance policy. Similar to earthquakes, you need a separate insurance policy; if you suffer foundation damage due to a flood, you’d file a claim with them rather than your homeowners’ insurance.
  • Negligence. Homeowners’ insurance will also typically not cover issues caused by negligence, whether it be the builder’s or the homeowner’s. When it comes to foundations, negligence typically refers to not taking steps to prevent a problem. Even if a problem seems unpredictable, be aware that an insurance company may claim negligence- for example, if you suffer moisture damage in the basement and don’t have a drainage system, the repairs may not be covered.

How Much is a Foundation Repair Without Insurance?

Whether you do not have homeowners’ insurance or your insurance company will not cover the repairs you need, you could find yourself in a situation where you’re responsible for the entire cost. It’s helpful to know the average cost of foundation repair so that you’re prepared for the potential expense.

HomeAdvisor quotes the average cost of a residential foundation repair as $4,647, which can vary depending on square footage, the method used to repair the foundation, and the extent of the damage. Though a foundation repair can be a significant investment if you don’t have insurance, it’s well worth it to prevent further damage to your home and raise its resale value.

What Foundation Repair Costs Will Insurance Cover?

When you file a claim for foundation damage caused by a covered event, the insurance company will evaluate the damage and let you know what they are willing to pay. In most cases, if the damage can be tied directly to a covered event, the insurance company will cover the full cost of the repairs.

However, you may still be left with expenses after the repair is paid for. For example, if your foundation damage was due to a plumbing problem, homeowners’ insurance would cover the cost of the repair and potentially access to the problematic plumbing if it lies under the foundation (most plumbing does). You would still be responsible for the plumbing repair, as that is considered a maintenance expense.

How to File a Claim For Foundation Damage

When your foundation is damaged and you are able to file a claim with your insurance, there are a few steps to follow. First, give your insurance company a call. Let them know what happened as soon as possible. You’ll need to document the damage. Take photos and videos, and be sure to capture the damage from a few different angles.

Next, the insurance company will send someone out to assess the damage. They will then use that information to determine whether they’ll pay for your repairs.

Why Hire a Professional Foundation Repair Company?

No matter the scope of the foundation damage you’re dealing with, it’s always best to entrust the repairs to a professional. Foundation repairs can be very involved processes, and it’s best to hire someone who has the experience, equipment, and training to ensure your safety and the stability of your home. They will also be able to do the job in a way that prevents you from having to worry about even more repairs, whereas doing this kind of project yourself can sometimes make things even worse in the long run.