Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Erosion?

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Andrew Lee is insurance content writer and editor for Andrew holds a Bachelor's degree from Ryerson University and has extensive experience of writing content for financial websites. His expertise is especially strong in home and auto insurance.

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Erosion can be a real problem: not only can it ruin any gardening projects you have, but it destroys your landscape and potentially sets your property up for more damage down the line: further erosion, flooding, or mudslides. Unfortunately, your homeowners insurance is unlikely to cover erosion of any kind. Your insurance will typically exclude all types of earth movement – which includes not only erosion, but earthquakes, landslides, mudslides, and the like – and it is simply unlikely to make an exception for erosion. You should check your specific insurance policy to get an idea of potential exceptions if there are any.

Your Insurance Distinguishes Between Covered and Uncovered Perils

Your insurance policy will separate events into two major categories: covered perils and uncovered perils. These are pretty straightforward; a covered peril is an event that, should it cause any damage to your property, your insurance will cover at least some of the costs of repairing or replacing it.

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An uncovered peril, on the other hand, is an event whose damage will not be covered. Modern homeowners insurance will define all perils as covered, except for a specified list of uncovered perils. Typically, these uncovered perils are either preventable by the homeowner, or cause widespread destruction.

Earth Movement Typically Requires Specialized Insurance for Coverage

Earth movement is a specific insurance industry term, used to cover various kinds of destructive events, typically things such as earthquakes, sinkholes, or erosion. Even though erosion doesn’t technically occur due to movement, it’s nevertheless defined under earth movement for the purposes of your insurance. The reason why earth movements aren’t covered is because of how widespread the destruction is when these events occur, especially as communities keep growing in areas prone to things like earthquakes or mudslides.

The whole economics of insurance relies on the idea that problems will only hit some but not all of the insurance policyholders. If everybody has a problem at once, then the insurance will go bankrupt, leading to a whole swath of people that will end up not receiving any payment, which defeats the whole purpose of insurance. To accommodate for this fact, insurance would have to charge much higher prices, which would lead to fewer people buying the insurance, further increasing policy costs.

Erosion Being an Uncovered Peril Doesn’t Have to Mean That the Effects of Erosion Can’t Be Covered

While you will be hard-pressed to find a policy that covers erosion, it’s possible to find policies that can cover certain perils caused by erosion. For instance, if during the course of erosion, some electric equipment manages to malfunction, causing a spark that lights your house on fire, your insurance might still cover the cost of repairing damages caused by the fire. In fact, certain jurisdictions require homeowners insurance to guarantee such coverage.

The Best Way to Deal with Erosion Is to Be Proactive

Since your insurance is unlikely to cover any damage due to erosion, your best bet to cover erosion costs, aside from purchasing specialized insurance, is to prevent erosion damage before it occurs. There are a variety of ways to approach this problem. You will want to study your land, and take note of inclines or impressions, to try and figure out where erosion is most likely to occur.

After that, you will then want to make sure your structures are reinforced; not just your house, but sheds, garages, fences, and other structures that could be subjected to damage from erosion. Finally, to actually help prevent erosion, you’ll want to plant trees or shrubs on the parts that will be prone to erosion. While the specific plants will depend on your region, good plants for erosion includes junipers, roses, and tall grasses.

Understand What Coverage You Do and Don’t Have

While your policy is unlikely to cover erosion in any form, it’s good to review your policy and figure out what situations it is you need to watch out for, and to see what exceptions, if any, may exist. It’s important to be extra cautious about prevention when it comes to erosion, since erosion is a root cause of a lot of other uncovered damage.

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Andrew Lee is insurance content writer and editor for Andrew holds a Bachelor's degree from Ryerson University and has extensive experience of writing content for financial websites. His expertise is especially strong in home and auto insurance.