When you are considering a home purchase, there are potential issues that can impact the future value of your investment. If a home has foundation issues like cracks, there are some steps that you might want to take to protect your financial interests. If you purchase a home with slab cracks or other structural damage, your homeowners insurance carrier might be unwilling to pay for future structural damage. When a claim is made the insurer might claim that the subsequent damage was the manifestation of the structural problems that existed when the home was purchased by the insured.
There are many things that may happen when you find your dream home and go under contract, but when that perfect place comes with a cracked foundation, there are things that you can do to protect your interests. In many instances, damage to the structure of the home will not be covered by the general provisions of a homeowners’ policy. Sometimes the foundation damage that occurs later will not be covered even if you have purchased a rider on your policy to cover such structural damage.
When considering a house with foundation or related structural problems, it is important to recognized the cost of repair associated with these types of issues. The expense associated with using concrete or steel supports to stabilize and reinforce the foundation of a home or to replace the foundation can easily exceed $30,000. Related work to reinforce the foundation might increase this cost of repair by tens of thousands of dollars beyond the $30,000 estimate. Home purchasers need to understand that even when repairs are performed, permanent structural damage may not be identified. When these problems fester, an insured’s dream home can become a nightmare.
When considering whether to consummate the purchase of a home with foundation issues, there are steps you can take to safeguard your investment:
- Use an Expert: Given the size of your investment, you should hire a structural engineer to inspect the foundation. The expert can analyze the severity of the damage and outline your prospects to suffer further issues in the future.
- Explore Coverage Options: There are sometimes coverage alternatives that will provide more extensive protection if you are concerned about foundation issues when you purchase a home. While you might not be able to find homeowners insurance that will cover foundation damage, some policies will provide coverage for an ensuing loss.
- Consider Supplemental Coverage: Many policyholders in this situation purchase riders that offer protection from flooding or sinkholes. If a storm causes liquefaction of the soil or an earthquake causes earth movement, the additional coverage your purchase can be an enormous benefit.
- Obtain a Realistic Idea of Costs: Many foundations have minor cracks that are the result of normal settling activity and pose no risk of serious damage to the structure. An investigation by one or more experts should be used to obtain real estimates regarding the cost of repair. The buyer can request that the seller pay to have the foundation work done before the sale moves forward. If the seller balks at such a request, he or she might be aware that the problem is something serious and prohibitively expensive.
- Talk to an Attorney: If you are unsure whether to proceed or what type of homeowners insurance coverage to purchase, you should talk to an experienced homeowners insurance claims attorney.
If you have questions about Miami-Dade insurance claims, you are welcome to contact my Florida insurance claims dispute law firm. My law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.