When you build a home, the last thing you want is foundation cracks to start showing up. But sometimes nature has its way. Soil can shift, floods can inundate your home, or an earthquake can strike. All these can trigger foundation cracks that can make your once comfortable home unlivable.
Like every homeowner, you probably didn’t think about other risks that could render your foundation useless. So you find yourself in a difficult place, as there’s a 50-50 chance you’ll get financial support for repairs.
Will your insurance provider help you pay for foundation repair?
Several issues cause foundation damage, and insurance companies handle each differently. Some repairs are covered by your insurance policy, while others are not. It is important to read your coverage to see what is covered and what isn’t. To understand the risks that are covered by insurance, look at each cause of foundation cracks separately.
Poor quality of construction material
If a home construction company used low-quality materials to build the foundation of your home, the evidence will soon start showing. This may come in the form of cracks. Insurance policies do not cover foundation repairs due to faulty structure or poor quality of construction materials.
Also, the foundation could crack as a result of natural wear and tear, which is never covered by insurance. However, you can use a warranty cover to repair cracks on the foundation. Some insurance companies such as Amica, Liberty Mutual, and Farmers offer warranties for repairs made through some approved contractors. You need to invite a foundation expert to inspect your home before moving in. If you have a warranty cover, ensure that you renew it every year to enjoy free repairs.
Excessive moisture, floods and leaks can cause a lot of damage to your foundation and foundation walls. When water seeps through the wooden beams that support your home, it causes wood rot and a degradation of the entire foundation. As a result, it may bow and start sinking. When it seeps through the soil, it causes an expansion that causes the foundation walls to crack.
Most insurance policies cover repairs caused by sudden damage, such as a sudden bursting of a pipe. However, water damage as a result of neglect or damage that occurs over time is not covered. For instance, if you know there’s a leak that has lasted long enough for mold to grow, you will not receive financial support for repairs.
On the other hand, insurance companies treat natural disasters such as flooding differently. Insurance companies consider homes in floodplains as high risk, so they don’t cover them against flooding. However, they sell separate riders to cover damages caused by internal flooding. These policies cover repairs on the foundation, foundation walls, stairs, and anchors.
You can check if you are on a floodplain from the FEMA flood map and take precautionary measures to protect your home from flooding. Measures such as landscape grading, installation of perimeter drainage, and waterproofing your basement can reduce the risk of flood. Once you file a claim for flood-related damage, the claims adjuster will be looking for signs of sudden damage. If there is mold, for instance, you will have to take care of the repairs.
The type of soil outside your basement and around your home can affect the condition of your foundation. During summer, the soil can lose all its moisture and start shrinking, causing it to pull away from the foundation wall and create gaps. The long-term effect of such gaps is a settling foundation.
Soil can also hold too much water, causing it to expand toward the foundation walls. This outward movement exerts pressure on the foundation wall causing it to bow and crack. Clay soil, for instance, expands during upheaval and constricts when dry. In addition, if the builder did not compact the backfill or prepare the soil well during construction, it will damage the foundation. Such issues are not covered by insurance policies. The best you can do is fix them before they damage the foundation.
Should you notice a settlement issue, hire a professional to help you install piers to stabilize the foundation and prevent future settling. This restoration technique involves excavation, installation of hydraulic piers to support the concrete floor, and potentially raising the foundation back to its original level position.
Apart from flooding, insurance policies also provide coverage against earthquake-related damage. This policy is in the form of a rider. Most homes in DC are in places that are seismically active. Check your home policy to see if you are covered against earthquakes, explosions, falling objects, fire, and volcanic eruptions. Most policies don’t cover homeowners against issues such as mudslides and terrorism.
While your home insurance policy can protect you against fires, burglary, and vandalism, it won’t protect you against foundational issues. You’ll need to get a rider that adds protection against specific risks that can cause foundation damage. We also strongly advise you to keep up with maintenance and conduct routine inspections for various issues.
Schedule a free foundation inspection today and discover what issues could be ailing your foundation.