Will Insurance Companies Pay for Foundation Damage in South Carolina?Oct 15, 2017
As the foremost authority in home foundation repair, foremost authority in home foundation repair, CNT, located in Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina, we know that most homeowners tend to worry most about what is lurking outside the house — from storms to vandals to burglars. However, it is the internal disaster known as foundation damage that could leave you feeling truly shaken up. If your home needs foundation repair, will your insurance company cover it and when should you file a claim?
In this article, we will discuss which structural issues are and are not covered by insurance, reasons for structural damage and when to file a claim.
Will My Insurance Company Pay for Structural Problems of My South Carolina Home?
Generally speaking, homeowners insurance is your safety net in case of sudden disasters. If something totally unforeseen happens that is 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 is that it can stem from a wild variety of factors, ranging from simple settling of the home to severe drought. While some of these causes may qualify for coverage, others may not. Depending on how the damage came about, there are several instances when a homeowners insurance policy could cover your foundation repairs.
If your property is destroyed by a tornado and needs rebuilding, home foundation repairs could be part of the reconstruction process and thus included in your dwelling coverage. Most insurance companies consider major storm damage as an “act of God.”
If your foundation damage is a byproduct of another covered risk — such as a plumbing backup, explosion, or fire — your homeowner’s policy could reimburse you for the repairs up to your coverage limits.
When the Foundation Damage May Not Be Covered By Your Homeowner’s Policy in South Carolina?
Most homeowners policies do not cover flooding or earthquakes. If your foundation damage is a result of either of these disasters, you will typically need separate flood insurance or earthquake insurance.
Homeowners insurance typically does not cover general wear and tear of a home’s foundation. As time passes, foundations tend to shift which can lead to cracks in your home’s structure. An aging foundation is something for the homeowner to address as part of the routine maintenance that goes along with buying property.
Homeowners are expected to make regular estimates of the home and perform sufficient maintenance to keep the home in a condition which remains as close to the insured value as possible. This means doing such things as removing dead trees near the home, leaves from the eaves, and inspecting the property for potential insect infestations. The reasoning is that by using pest control measures during the early stages of a pest infestation, you can prevent the insects from gaining access to the dwelling and causing any serious damages.
Because it can take so long to detect, structural damage can be considered a maintenance problem, which is not covered by home insurance. However, once you have discovered the damage and taken steps to repair it to prevent further problems, your insurance policy may cover ensuing loss.
What Are Some of the Most Common Reasons for Foundation Damage in South Carolina?
Many homeowners may not think about foundation damage until it is after the fact. However, 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.
CNT located in Columbia and CharlestonCNT located in Columbia and CharlestonCNT located in Columbia and CharlestonSome of these risks include:
Shoddy construction. Shopping for a home requires you to look beyond the glossy façade of your potential house. The estimate process is a crucial time to spot foundation problems before you buy or possibly resign yourself to years’ of headaches.
Earth movement. Anything from an earthquake to a minor shift in 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 exposure. Water can wreak havoc on your foundation in many forms, including torrential downpours, flooding, plumbing backups, leaks, or even a lawn sprinkler left on for too long. An overabundance of water causes the soil to expand and your foundation to bulge. Monitor your water usage closely and make sure your drainage is adequate.
Soil misuse. If your home builder did not let the soil fully settle before starting construction or used an inferior product, your foundation could be at risk.
Tree roots. Tree roots that intrude on your foundation can be enough to crack your home’s pipes, which is why it is wise to monitor any trees in your yard closely and never plant too close to the house.
Should I File an Insurance Claim on My Home’s Foundation Repair in South Carolina?
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, your homeowner’s policy may reimburse you for the repairs up to your coverage limits.
Before filing a claim, calculate the numbers to determine if doing so is in your best interest. If the cost of repairs is only a little more than your policy deductible, it is probably better to make the repairs yourself than to file a claim against your insurance. Keep in mind that the more claims you file, the greater your risk assessment, so renewing the policy may cost more, and if you have a string of claims filed against insurance companies you may find it very expensive to get insurance policies if you can find a company to accept you at all.
If you have a structural issue with your foundation or would like to have it inspected, contact CNT. Your home is too valuable to leave to chance.