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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Problems? (2021)

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Amy Beardsley

By: Amy Beardsley

Edited by John Leach

Last Updated July 16, 2021

Why you can trust Insurify

Insurify partners with top insurance companies and is a licensed agent in all 50 states. However, the insurance experts writing our content operate independently of our partners. Check out reviews from over 3,000 satisfied customers, how we make money, our data methodology, and our editorial standards.

Are foundation problems covered by homeowners insurance?

Homeowners insurance can cover some—but not all—foundation issues. It can depend on what caused the damage.

Owning a home is a big financial commitment. Typically, a homeowners insurance policy protects against major losses, including fire, theft, and destructive storms.

But what if you notice cracks in your foundation? Does homeowners insurance cover foundation damage?

When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repair?

Foundation issues can have many causes—your home might settle over the years, or a tornado or severe drought might damage it.

If you notice foundation problems in your home, your next step depends on whether your insurance policy covers the reason for the destruction.

Standard homeowners insurance generally covers causes of foundation damage from:

  • Tornado or windstorm

  • Fire or explosion

  • Plumbing backup

  • Lightning strike

  • Aircraft, car, or vehicle

  • Falling object

  • Collapse of heavy snow, ice, or sleet

  • Heating or air conditioning water damage overflow

Essentially, if the reason for the foundation damage is a covered peril or hazard, your insurance can pay the repair costs.

When a Home’s Foundation Isn’t Covered

Unfortunately, there are many reasons for foundation cracks and other wreckage that insurance doesn’t cover.

Floods

Even the best homeowners insurance won’t cover flooding. You need a separate insurance policy for when a flood causes cracks or other problems in the foundation of your home.

If you live in a high-risk flood zone, you may already have flood insurance. If not, some insurers offer coverage as an endorsement to an existing homeowners policy. You can also buy a stand-alone policy to protect against foundation damage from flooding.

Earthquakes

A standard homeowners policy typically excludes damage caused by earthquakes.

Unless you have earthquake insurance, you won’t be covered if an earthquake, sinkhole, or other earth movement erodes the foundation of your home’s structure.

Wear and Tear

Homeowners are responsible for the general upkeep of their homes. The best-case scenario is to notice the warning signs and take action before the problems become severe.

However, if wear and tear is the reason for foundation damage, the insurance company won’t pay for foundation repair costs.

Faulty Construction or Ground Preparation

Over time, the weight of a house will condense the soil beneath it. The house could settle unevenly if the soil wasn’t properly prepared before the house was built, leading to cracks in the foundation.

However, foundation problems aren’t just an issue for older homes. Newly constructed homes can also have damage from improper construction or the use of heavy equipment after the foundation is in place.

If you have a freshly built home, your contractor or construction company may cover it under warranty for a defect in construction.

Water Erosion

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, water erosion is the number one cause of foundation failure.

Too much water around the foundation can wash away the ground, causing structural damage and cracks. Unfortunately, water erosion isn’t something your home insurance covers.

Tree Roots

Trees are powerful forces in nature, and their roots can wreck your foundation. Tree roots can push against the structure of your home or drain a substantial amount of water from the soil beneath your house—but home insurance doesn’t cover this kind of damage.

Temperature Changes

Something as simple as temperature changes can cause the ground to shrink and expand, leading to damage.

Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover harm caused by changes in temperature. To limit the impact, look closely at your foundation from time to time to locate small cracks before they become big problems.

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How to File a Home Insurance Claim for Foundation Issues

You can file a claim for foundation issues if your insurance coverage includes the cause of the destruction.

The claim will fall under the dwelling coverage part of your policy. Dwelling coverage protects your home’s structure, such as the foundation, walls, and roof.

Here’s how:

  1. File a police report if theft or vandalism is involved.

  2. Contact your insurance agent and complete claim forms.

  3. Have the insurance adjuster inspect the part of your home that was damaged.

  4. Consult with a foundation specialist to get an estimate for repair costs.

  5. Pay your policy deductible.

Your insurance company may have a list of contractors it recommends. But you usually get to choose who does the repairs on your house.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Homeowners insurance can cover foundation issues, but coverage is limited. Insurers typically only pay for repairs if the damage was caused by a fire, tornado, lightning strike, or other covered peril in the policy.

  • The average price to fix the foundation on a house in the U.S. is $4,500. Typical repair costs range from $2,318 to $6,750, according to HomeGuide. Your price will depend on how severe the damage is and your location.

  • Fixing foundation problems can seem like a daunting task. But if you put it off, your repair costs could increase significantly. It could lead to widespread structural damage, water damage, plumbing problems, and a decline in property value.

Foundation Problems and Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance can protect you financially against a variety of damage types. But foundation problems aren’t always covered—it comes down to what caused it in the first place.

Your insurance company could pay to repair the foundation if a covered event was the cause. If you’re not sure, contact your insurance agent. They’ll ask questions and determine if your policy will cover the cost.

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Amy Beardsley
Amy Beardsley
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Insurance Writer

Amy is a personal finance and technology writer. With a background in the legal field and a bachelor's degree from Ferris State University, she has a talent for transforming complex topics into content that’s easy to understand. Connect with Amy on LinkedIn.

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