Does Homeowners Insurance cover your Foundation Repair?

As a general rule, NO. Most homeowners’ insurance policies specifically exclude any coverage for concrete slab foundation repair. The insurance companies are well aware of: 1) Why Foundations Fail – Poor Design – most old and new homes in Texas are under designed / under engineered and NOT designed or built to withstand nature’s forces of soil movement, and 2) the “wear and tear” on concrete slab foundations due to the expanding and contracting nature of the clay soils supporting them underneath. In other words, the insurance companies have largely decided NOT to insure home foundations because they have been designed to fail. And in the southern part of the United States, specifically Texas, clay soils comprise many thousands of square miles. In addition, cities such as Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and others are largely built on top of clay soils.

However, there may be some hope. There are some instances where homeowners insurance may cover foundation repair. Below are the three most common instances where homeowners insurance may provide coverage.

  • Bursting pipes* or a poorly designed plumbing system under the concrete slab – which is considered a sudden or unexpected problem
  • Earthquake – a sudden and unexpected event that can damage concrete slabs (a premium for earthquake insurance may be required)
  • Flooding – flooding is a sudden and unexpected event and may cause damage to concrete slabs (a premium for flooding may be required)

Typically insurance companies will offer endorsements (addition coverage) for various risks. There may not be any available endorsements for foundation damage and repair because it is not generally considered a sudden and unexpected event. However, there may be endorsements for related events, such as damage from water leakage of sewer and drain lines. If a water related event damages your foundation, then your insurance company may pay for foundation repair. Always ask your insurance agent for details.

Also, for peace of mind you may wish to contact a structural engineer for his or her opinion of your home and its concrete slab foundation. Should you wish to contact a structural engineer then we suggest that you contact one with experience in concrete slab foundations. In addition, should you ever submit an insurance claim for foundation damage and repair it is always to your advantage to have a professional engineering opinion about your home’s foundation from an expert in the field. And remember, your insurance company will almost always have “their” engineer writing a report and making a recommendation with respect to your claim.

*On July 3, 1998 the Texas Supreme court held that the standard homeowner’s policy Form HO-B covers foundation damage from slab movement caused by plumbing leaks. This settled a long-running legal dispute between insurance companies and some homeowners seeking damages from slab movement caused by leaks.

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