Does Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy Cover Damage to Your Foundation?
No building can stand without a structurally sound foundation. But unfortunately, when foundational issues arise, they are often difficult to diagnose and expense to repair. Such challenges underscore why homeowners need insurance and also why they need to understand what damage their insurance policy actually covers. An experienced attorney can help when disputes arise regarding the scope of coverage.
Warning Signs of Foundational Problems
Here are a few signs that there’s something wrong with the foundation of your home:
- Cracks in the drywall;
- Water in the garage or around the perimeter of the house;
- Windows that stick or are difficult to open;
- Doors won’t close properly;
- Sloped floors or staircases; or
- Gaps between the wall and the ceiling.
Of course, these are not the only signs of foundational problems, and one of these signs on its own may signal that there’s another issue entirely. But any of these signs should raise a red flag about the structural integrity of your home. Seek a professional assessment immediately.
Common Causes of Foundation Damage
Common causes of foundation damage include:
- Earth movement. While Florida is not an earthquake-prone state, it is prone to sinkholes. Florida law requires insurers to cover property damage caused by catastrophic ground cover collapse, but it only requires insurers to offer coverage — at an additional cost — for damage caused by a sinkhole. If sinkhole activity weakens the ground beneath your home and causes structural damage, and you don’t have specific sinkhole coverage, your insurance policy won’t cover you unless the damage qualifies as catastrophic ground cover collapse.
- Water leakage or flooding. Most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover flooding damage such as overflowing retention ponds, rivers and creeks, backed up sewers or water main break. What your homeowner policy will likely cover is damage caused by a broken water pipe running through your house, or broken hoses from your washing machine, or ice maker, or storm-driven rain, but you’ll have to read the fine print of your policy to confirm. That is why one can and should buy a separate flood insurance policy through the federal government or a private insurer. Don’t wait until the next hurricane or tropical storm to protect your home.
- Shoddy construction. It’s highly unlikely that your insurance policy covers poor workmanship or low-quality building materials. But check to see if you have any applicable warranties, and most importantly, never purchase a home without thoroughly investigating the foundation.
- Tree roots. Homeowners often enjoy having trees in their yard, but be wary of having them too close to the house. Extensive tree roots can crack your pipes or foundation.
Does My Insurance Policy Cover Foundation Damage?
When you’re reading through your insurance policy to determine scope of coverage, it’s often more important to focus on why the damage happened instead of what was damaged. So, if the foundation of your home is damaged by a sinkhole or flood caused by an overflowing of a body of water onto normally dry land, the key question to ask yourself is whether your policy coverage includes sinkholes and floods, irrespective of the particular damage they cause.
Contact Us Today for Assistance
Homeowners have multiple options when it comes to resolving disputes with their insurance providers. If a dispute arises under your insurance policy, the Florida attorneys at the Insurance Litigation Group can help you with your dispute, so that you can receive the compensation that you are entitled to under your insurance policy. At Insurance Litigation Group, we take the time to analyze and interpret your policy to understand the full measure of damages available to you. We work with construction experts, restoration professionals and others to determine the facts and will always fight aggressively on your behalf.
Contact us today for a free consultation and don’t worry -experienced and aggressive attorneys at ILG are on your side!