Does homeowners insurance cover foundation repair?

Foundation repairs are covered by the dwelling portion of your homeowners insurance, or Coverage A.  This is the part of your home insurance that handles rebuilding the structure of your home. It’s the bulk of the cost of your home insurance and probably the most important feature.

Not all foundation repairs are covered, though. “This depends upon what caused the foundation problem,” says David Lervig, founder and main instructor at the Insurance School of Texas. 

When will foundation repair be covered by homeowners insurance?

“If the foundation problem is caused by a covered peril on the policy, it is likely to be covered for HO-3 and HO-5 policies,” Lervig says. 

Covered perils for standard homeowners policies include:

  • Lightning strikes
  • Fires
  • Tornadoes
  • Falling trees
  • Bust pipes

Standard HO-3 home insurance policies are all perils, which means a peril is covered unless it’s specifically excluded. So, unless your foundation damage was caused by something specifically excluded from the policy, it should be covered.

If you put in a claim to your insurance company, you will need to show that a covered peril caused the damage.

What foundation damage isn’t covered by home insurance?

There are major exceptions to the foundation damage covered by your home policy. 

“If the foundation problem is due to the house settling for various reasons that is typically not covered by the policy,” Lervig says.

Any cracks or damage caused by wear and tear, age or neglect are also not covered.

Water seeping in and sewer backups aren’t covered either. Have some huge old trees whose roots have grown into the foundation and caused problems? That’s not covered, either.

Two important exclusions are flood and earthquake, things well beyond your control. These natural disasters can cause devastating damage to your home and its foundation, and your standard homeowners policy will not cover the cost. 

You will need separate flood and earthquake coverage to protect yourself from these events.

How to file a claim for foundation damage

If you have foundation damage and need to put in a claim with your home insurance carrier, do so immediately. Never wait, as waiting can sometimes be considered a sign of neglect by the carrier.

Call the claims department to start the process. Provide them with as much detail as possible, including photographs and/or videos of the damage. They will most likely send an insurance adjuster to inspect the damage. 

On your first phone call to your insurance carrier, ask if you should enlist a contractor to do repairs immediately or if they need to visit your home first. Sometimes, the insurance carrier has repair companies they prefer to work with; however, you can choose your own contractor.

As long as a covered peril caused your foundation damage, your claim should be approved.

How to prevent foundation damage

Preventing foundation damage is a key component of owning a home and can save you tons of money in the long run.

Proper drainage around your home and gutters and downspouts on the roof to divert rainwater keep the area around your foundation as moisture-free as possible.

Be wary of trees and large shrubs close to the house, as the roots can grow into the foundation.

Stay ahead of pest infestations that can weaken not only the foundation but all the underlying structures of your home.

Get used to inspecting your home regularly. Walk around and look at the foundation and notice any cracks or other issues. If you’re not sure exactly what to look for, you can always pay a fee to a home inspector to do a once-over on your home.