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Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Home Foundation Problems?

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Home foundation problems can cause many structural issues throughout your home. If you’ve spotted signs of home foundation issues, you’re likely worried about how to tackle repairs and manage the cost. Depending on your unique situation, home foundation problems can be both dangerous and expensive. Understanding the immediate risks and cause of your issue can help you determine what steps to take next.

Causes of Foundation Problems

Foundation problems can lead to a chain of events that causes damage throughout your home. The effects usually happen slowly and can go unnoticed until severe damage has already occurred. Some of the most common reasons for foundation problems revolve around water. Yet, there are many other events or elements that can damage your home’s foundation. These are some of the most common causes of home foundation problems.

  • Poor Irrigation: When your home isn’t equipped with the proper drainage solutions to avoid pooling water near your home, significant rainfall can damage your home’s foundation over time.
  • Weather Events or Natural Disasters: While not common, earthquakes, heavy rain or snow, flooding, sinkholes, and windstorms can cause foundation damage.
  • Plumbing Problems: Plumbing issues lead to leaking and water damage. When this leaking works its way down to your basement, your foundation can suffer damage.
  • Tree Root Growth: Trees and even large plants have roots that can grow beneath your home’s foundation. Large tree roots can disrupt the soil beneath your home’s foundation or grow into sewer lines and cause erosion beneath your home.
  • Substandard Construction: While contractors are required to follow certain building codes, there’s no guarantee that every shortcut will be recognized during an inspection. Even worse, substandard building materials like concrete that contains pyrrhotite can mean an entire basement/foundation replacement.
  • Poor Soil Conditions: Expansive soil that expands with water and shrinks upon drying out can cause your foundation to heave and crack. These actions are caused by building on clay soils, frost heaving, and backfilled soil that wasn’t properly compacted when the foundation was built.

Risks of Foundation Problems

Your home’s foundation was built to withstand the weight of your home. When elements change the way your foundation supports your home, severe damage can arise. Home foundation problems can be one of the costliest issues a homeowner can face. Failing to get repairs can lead to a dangerous living situation inside your home or even make your house uninhabitable.

When it comes to your home’s foundation, a small crack you can see usually means bigger issues you can’t see. If your foundation isn’t solid, your house can shift, causing issues like cracked walls, mold damage, uneven floors, and jammed doors and windows. Unrepaired foundation issues can lead to major damage, including large cracks in the foundation and walls of your home, bowed walls, and structural issues.

Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Home Foundation Problems?

insurance-policy-sample-home-foundation-concept
Insurance Policy

Your home’s foundation is covered by your homeowner’s insurance in the same way the rest of your home is covered by the policy. The protection that reimburses you for the value of your home when a covered event occurs is called dwelling coverage. Your dwelling coverage offers the same level of protection for your foundation as for the rest of your home.

Most often, the confusion about coverage comes in with the consideration of covered events. A typical homeowner’s policy offers coverage for events like fires, lightning, hurricanes, hail, or vandalism. Unfortunately, this can leave a lot of damages for you to pay out of pocket.

Here’s what you can expect from a typical homeowner’s insurance policy.

Covered Events

  • Lightning or fire
  • Windstorms
  • Fallen trees
  • Collapse due to the weight of snow, ice, rain, or sleet
  • Damage caused by vehicles
  • Vandalism Water damage from plumbing or HVAC

Events Not Covered

  • Natural settling, shrinking, bulging, expansion, and cracking of the foundation
  • General wear and tear
  • Flooks
  • Tree root pressure
  • Faulty design in construction
  • Sinkholes
  • Earthquakes

While a typical homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover foundation damage caused by an earthquake or flood, supplemental coverage or riders can be purchased to cover earthquakes, floods, poor maintenance, and sewer and drain backup coverage.

If you discover foundation damage that is covered by your homeowner’s policy, you can file a claim to pay for the cost of repairs. You can expect to be covered up to your policy’s dwelling coverage limits that are based on the replacement cost of your home. Like any other insurance claim, you’ll be required to pay your deductible.

It’s important to remember that minor foundation repairs are considerably easier and cheaper to fix than major home foundation repairs. If you notice any of the common signs of foundation damage to your homes like cracks, a wet crawl space, mold or mildew, or misaligned doors, it’s best to call a professional to have your foundation inspected. When you file a claim, provide as much information as possible, including photos, descriptions, and an inspector’s report when applicable.

A Note About Pyrrhotite in Basement and Home Foundation Concrete

As local insurance providers in Massachusetts, we’re acutely aware of the burdens faced by thousands of homeowners in the area who have discovered pyrrhotite in the concrete used to build their home basements and foundations. Unfortunately, these damages fall under the classification of faulty design in construction. As a result, the damages aren’t covered by homeowner’s insurance.

Currently, the state doesn’t provide any money to help homeowners cover the cost of a new foundation for homes with damaged foundations due to the presence of pyrrhotite. Recently, state legislators passed an amendment to set aside $50,000 to reimburse homeowners for 100% of the cost (up to $400) for a visual inspection and 75% of the testing of two core samples up to $5,000. State Senator Anne M. Gobi hopes that the bill will be passed before the legislative session ends at the end of July.

The Solution

While federal help for impacted homeowners is a part of the “Build Back Better” bill, the legislation is currently stalled in the Senate. As your local insurance providers and Massachusetts citizens, we sincerely wish we had better news to present for the many homeowners affected by this disaster. According to reports, the Senate Ways and Means Committee is also considering a measure to help finance home repairs. We hope this relief comes soon for our neighbors in Massachusetts and all those affected.

Your home foundation is one of the most vital aspects of the health of your entire home. It’s important to take steps to protect and maintain your home’s foundation to avoid severe damage that can occur over time. If you suspect your foundation is damaged, contact a professional inspector to have the damage evaluated and discuss the results with your independent insurance provider. To learn more about how to find the best protection for your home with customized home insurance, contact the independent agents at LoPriore Insurance.

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