Does Home Insurance Cover Structural Damage?

Before scouring your insurance policy for structural damage coverage, you need to know how to identify structural damage. Most structural damage is due to foundation issues (settling, ground shifting), weather-related damage, like a tornado or hurricane, or hidden structural damage, like that caused by termites.

When it comes to structural damage and home insurance, the answer to whether or not you’re covered is usually no. The main reason structural damage isn’t included in most home insurance policies is that insurance is designed to cover loss due to sudden, accidental events. Most of the time foundation damage or hidden structural damage isn’t discovered until months or even years after the initial problem started.

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’ve discovered the damage and taken steps to repair it and prevent further problems, your insurance policy may cover ensuing loss. For example, if cracks in the foundation let water into your home, that damage could be considered ensuing loss, but the cracks themselves would not be covered.

To make sure you’re not stuck holding the bag for structural damage, there are a few things you can do. First, check your policy for ensuing loss coverage. Even though it won’t help with initial repairs, it does protect you from additional damage due to the original problem. You can also add extra coverage, or riders, that may help cover costs due to events like earth movement (earthquakes), floods, or ground collapse due to sinkholes.

No matter what, be sure to pay attention to the exclusions of your policy. Before buying a home, get a professional to do a thorough home inspection to help you identify any existing or potential structural damage problems.

When you need home insurance, it is important that you know the details of the insurance policies you are considering. Expert agents can make that complicated process easy and smooth. Give one a call and we will ensure you have the home insurance policy for your needs.