Is foundation damage covered by homeowners insurance? – New Jersey
Any damage to your foundation is covered unless your policy explicitly excludes it. For your foundation repairs to be covered by insurance, they have to be caused by an event your company ‘accepts’. Events homeowners policies generally cover that could cause foundation damage are:
- Collapse weight of snow, ice, or sleet
- Riots or civil disturbances
- Falling objects
- Water damage from plumbing, heating, or A.C. overflow
- Damage caused by aircraft
- Damage caused by vehicles
- Volcanic eruption
- Lightning or fire
Cracks, settlement, and other types of damage to your foundation are not only serious to the structural integrity of your home, they can also be very expensive to repair. Depending on the extent of the damage and the method of repair, you could be looking at a hefty bill. But if you think your homeowner’s insurance will pay for it, you could be in for a surprise.
The most likely causes of foundation damage, such as soil expansion and contraction or poor construction, are typically excluded from most insurance policies. Most carriers consider the conditions that contribute to foundation damage to be avoidable by keeping up with home maintenance and controlling conditions that can lead to flooding or inadequate drainage. A typical homeowner’s policy covers your house only against specific, identified perils. Check your policy’s declarations page to see what perils are named. If your foundation damage is the result of a covered risk—such as a tornado, explosion, or fire—your homeowner’s policy may reimburse you for the repairs up to your coverage limits.
If you’re having foundation problems and notice the initialwarning signs of damage,get the problem repaired as soon as possible. By addressing these issues early, you could avoid more serious structural problems down the road. The best way to assess damage to your home’s foundation is to hire a contractor or foundation specialist. They will be able to tell you what caused the damage, which you can then use to decide whether a homeowners claim would be successful.
Insurance policies typically don’t cover anything occurring over time deemed wear and tear or regular scheduled maintenance tasks. For example, if pipes under your foundation have been leaking over the course of a year, the insurance company could deem this as a long-term maintenance issue. A claims representative would look for signs that the leak occurred over time; signs include mold, mildew, growth and other foundation issues that indicate the duration of the problem. Sudden incidents though, are often covered. A pipe bursting suddenly, damaging the foundation, would likely be covered, depending on your insurance company and policy coverage.
It’s good to discuss potential perils with your insurance agent, making sure you have the right policies for the risks in your area. Weigh the cost savings against the potential out-of-pocket costs when looking at deductibles.
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