Homeowners tend to worry most about what's lurking outside the house — from storms to vandals to burglars. However, it's the internal disaster known as foundation damage that could leave you feeling truly shaken up.
structural problems and your home insurance policy
Generally speaking, homeowners insurance is your safety net in case of sudden disasters. If something totally unforeseen happens that's out of your control — like a major storm hits or a car swerves off the road and straight into your living room — your policy is there for you.
What makes foundation damage a sometimes shaky issue (pardon the pun) is that it can stem from a wild variety of factors, ranging from simple settling of the home to severe drought. And while some of these causes may qualify for coverage, others may not.
When your policy may help with foundation issues
Depending on how the damage comes about, there are several instances when a homeowners insurance policy could cover your foundation repairs.
For instance, if your property is destroyed by, say, a tornado and needs rebuilding, home foundation repairs could be part of the reconstruction process and thus included in your dwelling coverage.
Or if your foundation damage is a byproduct of another covered risk — such as a plumbing backup, explosion, or fire — your homeowners policy could reimburse you for the repairs (up to your coverage limits).
Safeguard your foundation by getting a free quote today.
When you might not be covered
Most homeowners policies, including those from Esurance, don't cover flooding or earthquakes. If your foundation damage is a result of either of these disasters, you'll typically need separate flood insurance or earthquake insurance.
Homeowners insurance typically doesn't cover general wear and tear. As time passes, foundations tend to shift ever so slightly, which can lead to cracks in your home's structure.
But like a home's slowly chipping paint job or fading hardwood floors, an aging foundation is something for the homeowner to address as part of the routine maintenance that goes along with buying property.
Consider consulting a qualified contractor or foundation specialist to help you take measures to avoid problems before they start.
common reasons for foundation damage
New (and even veteran) homeowners may not think about foundation damage until it's too late. But by knowing what risks tend to harm the interior structure of your home, you may be able to prevent this sort of costly damage in the first place.
We're probably not the first to tell you that savvy home shopping requires looking past the glossy façade of your potential house. But even if you've heard it before, we can't stress it enough. The inspection process is crucial, the time to either spot foundation problems before you buy (so you can find another house), or possibly resign yourself to years' of headaches.
Anything from a mammoth earthquake to a minor shift in just your yard could bring about foundation damage. Soil erosion under the home can be a factor too, causing sinkholes that could crack your abode's inner structure.
Water can wreak havoc on your foundation in many forms, including torrential downpours, flooding, plumbing backups and leaks, or even a lawn sprinkler left on for too long. An overabundance of water — no matter how you get it — causes soil to expand and your foundation to bulge. So watch your water usage closely and make sure your drainage is tip-top.
This one is practically impossible to spot beforehand (sorry), but it never hurts to be informed. If your home builder didn't let the soil fully settle before starting construction or used an inferior product, your foundation could be at risk.
The overly lush tops of your trees may be what your neighbors nitpick about, but it's what's happening at the bottom of the trunk that should interest you. A renegade tree root that intrudes on your foundation can be enough to crack your home's pipes, which is why it's wise to monitor any trees in your yard closely and never plant too close to the house.
cement your homeowners protection today
Foundation damage is never a welcome discovery. But with the right coverage in place, you could be left cracking a relieved smile … rather than cracking open your wallet. If you're a current Esurance customer and have questions about reporting an insurance claim for foundation damage, or speak with our licensed agents at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262).
If you're shopping for a new policy, start your free quote to explore all that an Esurance homeowners policy can do for you.
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