Finding a crack in your foundation can be an indication of a variety of different problems, from structural issues with your home to difficulties maintaining a proper soil environment. Your homeowners insurance will cover repairing or replacing a cracked foundation, but only if the cause of the damage is covered by your policy. There is likely nothing inside your policy that specifically covers or prohibits coverage of your foundation, which means that coverage of your foundation is determined by the perils that your insurance covers. Unfortunately, this often excludes many common causes of faults within your foundation, so the question can be complicated to answer.
The Most Common Causes of Cracks in the Foundation Aren’t Covered
There is no shortage of causes for foundation damage, and a lot of these causes require regular maintenance in order to be prevented. For example, soil quality plays an important role in keeping your foundation steady, because different types of soil have different expansion properties over the course of the day, which can cause cracking. For similar reasons flooding, even when minor, can cause cracks to appear in your foundation as it shifts the soil, directing pressure to different points along the fault, resulting in cracks.
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Poor-quality materials in the foundation itself are also a common cause of foundation damage since lower-quality materials have a reduced ability to handle the common stresses that foundations are exposed to, such as soil contraction, soil expansion, and faults within the structure itself. Trees are also a major culprit of foundation damage, beyond physically deforming the ground around the fault, they are also prone to absorbing moisture out of the ground, which impacts the soil’s ability to contract or expand at all.
What these causes all have in common is that they are not typically covered by your insurance, which will either explicitly deny these things (in the case of flooding or damage from tree roots), or implicitly deny them (in the case of maintenance or wear and tear).
Your Insurance Policy Only Covers Certain Kinds of Damage
A peril is an event that can damage your property. Your insurance evaluates the validity of claims in terms of these perils and groups them into one of two categories: covered and uncovered. With modern insurance policies, you tend to find all perils have coverage, except for perils explicitly mentioned in a list. This list of uncovered typically includes things like floods and their resultant damage, damage from earth movements (such as soil erosion or earthquake), infestations, wear and tear, and house maintenance.
It’s not always this cut and dry, however; sometimes, damage from uncovered perils can qualify for coverage if the ultimate cause was due to a covered peril (such a cause is said to be a proximate cause). The reverse, though much rarer, can also be true, where coverage is denied because the proximate cause is determined to be uncovered. The bottom line is that insurance is tricky, however, the fact remains that most foundation damage will be due to uncovered perils, meaning that any claims will likely get rejected.
Also Read: Does Home Insurance Cover Structural Damage?
There Are Still Situations That Can Make Foundation Damage Coverable
Just because the most common causes of foundation damage aren’t covered, doesn’t mean that you should never expect coverage. There are more than enough covered events that can cause damage to your foundation. For instance, if a large tree collapses onto your building due to a powerful windstorm, destroying a part of the building and the foundation, your insurance would very likely cover that. You can also expect coverage in the event that your foundation gets destroyed due to an act of vandalism, or if it gets cracked as the end result of a major house fire.
The Best Thing to Do Is Prevent Problems Before They Can Occur
Even though common problems that cause foundation damage aren’t covered, a lot of them can be preventable with regular maintenance. The biggest factor in preventing foundation damage is making sure the soil around your foundation remains properly balanced. While there isn’t much you can do to keep your soil moist, apart from watering it, you absolutely want to prevent water accumulation due to storms or malfunctioning plumbing. Always make sure to keep your gutters clean, and to get your plumbing inspected regularly.