Of all the issues that North Texas homeowners face, one of the most frustrating is foundation damage. It seems to come on slowly, where you don’t necessarily recognize it until you have a multi-thousand dollar repair bill on your hands. If you’re like most people, if you find out you have foundation damage your first thought will be to reach out to your Dallas insurance agent, Lewis Family Insurance Group, to find out if your Texas homeowners insurance covers this type of damage.
Like most things in insurance, the answer is: “it depends”. The reason is that insurance policies are written to cover certain, specific types of losses, referred to as “perils”. Certain policies cover certain perils, but this blog post will try to give a general understanding of what is and isn’t covered when it comes to foundation damage. As always, though, read your policy and reach out to your agent/carrier to attempt to verify coverage before filing a claim.
So, from a 30,000 foot view whether or not foundation damage is covered will depend on what caused the damage in the first place. Some of the common causes of foundation damage in Texas are:
1) Damage due to shifting soil or earth movement.
Texas, North Texas specifically, has soil with high clay contents. This means that the soil expands and contracts as it absorbs water causing your foundation to shift. This tends to be the most talked about cause of damage to foundation, but unfortunately most insurance policies do not cover damage due to shifting soil as it is indicative of the client failing to take preventative steps to prevent and/or mitigate the damage. In the instance of earth movement, homeowners policies typically do not cover, and actually exclude, covering damage as a result from earth movement, sinkholes, mud and landslides, etc.
2) Damage due to faulty construction
Most homeowners’ policies in Texas will not cover damage that is a result of faulty workmanship or building materials. In this instance, you would not be reimbursed for the cost of having the construction recompleted/repaired, therefore your best bet would be to contact the builder or contractor who initially completed the work to discuss remedies.
3) Damage due to flooding or leaks
Beginning with flooding, typically the only policy that will cover flooding (flooding=rising water entering the home from outside) is a flood policy. While there are private companies who write flood insurance, the most common flood policy is routed through FEMA and based on Federal Government standards. As far as damage due to water originating inside the home (from a pipe, for example) your policy will have specific language detailing what is and isn’t covered. Often the damage must result from a sudden and unexpected event, meaning knowing you have a leak and waiting 3 or 4 weeks to stop the damage would likely not be covered.
Bottom line: While everyone should have their home protected, Texas homeowners’ insurance doesn’t cover every single type of damage you might face as a homeowner. Your best course of action is to always prevent damage from getting worse, and contact your insurance agent to find out what steps to take moving forward to best protect your home.