Let’s face it. No home in Columbus, OH, is immune to foundational cracks. And we all know how costly foundation repairs are, which leads us to the question: will your home insurance cover you against foundational issues?
You’ll find the answer to this question, but first, let’s start with the basics of foundation cracks.
Understanding foundation cracks
Even before you reach out to your insurance agent to seek guidance on foundation cracks, you need first to understand the problem — specifically, the different foundation cracks and what causes them.
Vertical Cracks – They are very common in newly built homes and occur when concrete dries up. Cracks can run straight up or down, though they appear slightly diagonal at an angle of 30 degrees or less. Vertical cracks aren’t a cause for alarm unless a dime fits in it. Also, they’re cheap to repair.
Diagonal cracks – They run 30-75 degrees against the wall, and usually have one of the ends slightly bigger than the other. Cracks of these types occur in both new and old homes. They’re usually caused by differential settlement.
Horizontal cracks – These cracks run against the wall and appear in concrete foundations. They’re usually caused by external pressure on the wall. Left unchecked, they can result in structural failures that are usually expensive to repair.
Step cracks – These cracks occur on brick and block walls just above the foundation. If the crack is small and thin, you can repair it by re-pointing the wall. However, when the blocks are pushed to the other side, a structural engineer will have to assess the extent of the damage and recommend a fix.
Can my home insurance policy cover my foundational cracks?
A home insurance policy ONLY covers your home against theft, fire, and floods, among a myriad of other situations that could affect your home. Common foundation cracks such as vertical cracks are not commonly covered by most home insurance policies. The same applies to cracks caused by settlement as they’re often regarded as risky by most insurers.
Depending on what causes your foundation cracks, home insurance policies may provide some cover against risks that could damage your foundation. Some of the most common covers include:
Earth movement coverage: This is insurance coverage against earthquakes. It protects your home from foundational cracks that result from earthquake activity near or around your home. The movement of the soil beneath your home can cause your foundation to crack.
Ground collapse cover: Sometimes, a sinkhole can cause extreme damage to your home’s foundation and foundational walls.
Flood insurance: Flood insurance is a cover against damage from flooding. It covers not only your entire house but also foundational cracks as a result of flooding.
These options are not available with your standard home insurance policies but are add-ons that’ll bump up the price of your premiums or coverage. You might be lucky to get your insurance covering damage for cracks caused by a burst pipe.
Insurance policies may have supplemental coverage for other place-specific causes. Talk to your insurance agent to figure out the extra options and how much you will pay for them.
Since insurance policies do not cover the most common foundational cracks, it makes sense to try to mitigate the damage early enough or prevent them altogether. Keep inspecting and maintaining your home to protect it from foundational issues.
What Options Do I Have for Repairs?
Don’t assume your Columbus, OH, home will stay free of cracks for a lifetime. Get an insurance rider that adds protection against specific risks such as earthquakes, soil movement, and flooding. These will cushion your foundation against destructive forces that are not usually covered by typical home insurance policies.
The other option is to seek contractor financing. A good number of foundation and basement repair contractors offer financing arrangements to cash-strapped clients. What this means is they will lock you into a financial plan with a low interest rate and zero deposit, then take care of repairs. You will pay for the repairs in installments for an agreed period.
If you have some cash or credit card, you can also use them to pay for repairs. This is by far the best option as it means repairs can commence quickly. You can pay up front in full or make milestone payments.
The last option is to use your home equity to get another mortgage. Any proceeds from your second home will cater for foundation repairs. This way, you won’t feel the pinch of fixing your foundation walls.
Don’t wait for your walls to come crumbling down. Reach out to your local foundation experts at Ohio Basement Authority today for a free inspection and repair estimate.