According to geology.com, foundation damage causes more financial loss to homeowners annually than earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes combined. How widespread is the problem? The American Society of Civil Engineers says one-quarter of all homes in the U.S. have damage from expansive soils. Sadly, many homeowners don’t worry about foundation damage, thinking if it occurs their insurance will cover it. To some degree, insurance provides peace of mind. Whether we’re talking about car, life, health or home insurance, beneficiaries rest easy knowing they will not be accountable for costly expenses. However, this may not be the case when it comes to foundation repairs. Homeowners are often surprised to find out that foundation repairs are not covered by their homeowner’s insurance policy. Does your home insurance cover foundation work?
How Did the Damage Occur?
Policy coverage often depends on how the damage occurred. For example, your policy will not cover a new roof when the old one wears out. However, they most likely will cover repairs to a roof that is damaged during a storm. Every policy is different. However, here are three of the most common types of coverage that may include foundation repair.
- Earth movement. Mostly purchased by people in earthquake zones, this coverage will protect you against damage caused by the movement in the soil. However, this rider is not common in Texas since earthquakes are not a risk.
- Flood insurance. If you purchased a separate flood insurance policy, your foundation repairs may be covered if the damage can be blamed on a flood. For example, flooding may have caused the soil to wash away, causing the concrete to break down.
- Plumbing problems. If your foundation damage occurred as a result of burst pipes or other plumbing issues, your insurance may cover it.
What You Can Do
Unfortunately, the most common cause of foundation damage, the normal compression and expansion of soil, is not covered by most policies. The majority of foundation damage is not the result of a disaster and is considered general maintenance. What can you do to reduce your risk? First, carefully read your policy and ask your agent what is specifically covered and under what circumstances. Carriers are legally required to list all perils covered. Secondly, some insurance companies offer a “dwelling foundation” rider. This additional coverage can be purchased to add to your protection. However, it too will be dependent on the cause of the damage. So, consider it carefully before buying. Another alternative is to add “endorsements” to your policy. Endorsements cover damage associated with specific events, such as damage covering sewers and drains. Lastly, check to see if your foundation is still under warranty. If you purchased a new home, foundation warranties can be anywhere from one to 10 years. This coverage can also be extended.
What can you do if it’s too late to add coverage or it’s simply not offered by your carrier? Most find themselves in this situation because we do not think about foundation repair until it is needed. Damage to your home’s foundation is one of the most serious, and often most expensive, types of damage that can occur. Just not getting it fixed is not an option. As soil continues to shift and the home settles, further damage will result. When insurance does not cover the repairs, families are often left to find financing through credit cards or home equity lines. Perma-Pier Foundation Repair has been serving Texan homeowners for three generations and understands the importance of practical financing options. We offer several payment methods, including 12-months with no payments and no interest for qualifying applicants. We understand your home is your biggest investment and want to help you protect it. Contact us to learn more.