The health of your home's foundation is of the utmost importance to the integrity and safety of your home. Fortunately, most foundation damage happens slowly, over many years, and can be corrected before any serious failures happen. As a homeowner, you should be prepared to make repairs at the first sign that your foundation has cracked or begun sinking, because the longer you wait, the harder it will be to correct the problem. When it's time to make repairs, you may be thinking that your homeowner's insurance will kick in to save the day, but there are some important caveats to your coverage that you need to know about before you schedule your repair.
Signs You Need Foundation Repair
There are many signs that your foundation has started to crack or sink, aside from seeing visible cracks in the concrete pad itself. For instance, when doors and windows begin to stick, it's a sign that the frame is no longer straight. Another example is stair-stepped cracks in the brick exterior of your house. Finally, when the exterior trim begins to separate and pull away at the corners, you should take note. All of these are signs that your foundation has shifted, cracked or moved in a way that is putting a strain on your home.
Causes of Foundation Cracking
The reasons for foundation damage are as varied as the weather. Indeed, many of them are tied directly to Houston weather events and climate change. When your city goes through a rainy season, the soil around your home becomes saturated, which causes it to expand and apply pressure to your foundation. Then, when the soil dries out in a drought, the soil retracts, leaving gaps beneath the foundation where it is no longer supported. This causes sinking and cracking to happen over time. Other events like flash floods and earthquakes can cause erosion to happen suddenly, sweeping soil away from your home in an instant.
Where Does Homeowner's Insurance Kick In?
If your home has started to exhibit signs of foundation damage, be prepared to pay up for the repairs. Unfortunately, most insurance policies do not cover foundation damage that happens under normal circumstances. In fact, if you pull out your policy right now, you will likely find language that expressly excludes coverage for foundation repairs unless the damage is caused by an event that is normally covered. This means that you are covered if the foundation was cracked due to a flood caused by your plumbing or HVAC unit, but not if it was caused by regular seasonal rains. In addition, earthquakes and floods may not be covered at all unless you have paid extra for coverage for those specific events.
Of course, your insurance company is going to do everything in their power to avoid paying out on your foundation repair, so you should be prepared to fork over some cash. However, it is still worth making the call even if you don't think it will be covered, because you may find some event that does qualify, and your insurance company keeps a list of recommended contractors who can give you estimates and recommendations for repairs. They may also have tips for helping you prevent further damage while you are waiting on your repair.
What to Expect
For the most part, foundation repairs are a simple matter these days. Your contractor will use a series of concrete piles and jacks to lift the underside of your home back into place. The cost of this service varies across the country, and will depend on what type of equipment is used to lift and secure the slab. For more information about the repair process and filing a claim with your insurance company, you can contact Allied Foundation today and schedule your consultation right away.