Does homeowner's insurance cover porch settling due to drought?
October 30, 2008 6:05 AM   Subscribe

InsuranceFilter: Would homeowners insurance generally cover a large concrete porch that has pulled away from the house due to a summer drought?

The porch is settling and pulling away from the foundation due to a summer drought in our area (and because it wasn't tied in well enough with the rest of the foundation) I know I don't have drought insurance, because that usually covers agricultural assets (crops, etc.) and I don't plant anything but my butt on the couch for football.
posted by schleppo to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
I doubt it. I have a feeling the insurer would categorize the problem as normal wear and not related to any sort of accident. Still, it wouldn't hurt to ask your agent to look into your policy and see what, if any, options it provides.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:35 AM on October 30, 2008

and because it wasn't tied in well enough with the rest of the foundation

That's the real issue. Your home insurance doesn't cover you against defects in construction. If the house was built for you, then you might have a claim against the builder.
posted by winston at 6:44 AM on October 30, 2008

Most policies have exclusions for settling or subsidence; look for those words in your policy to see if they are specifically mentioned as exclusions; parts of your state have insurance for damage caused by subsidence due to coal mining, but it does not look like your area is covered. As. Thorzdad says, it can't hurt to check with your agent.
posted by TedW at 7:51 AM on October 30, 2008

Best answer: The only way to answer this is to get out your insurance policy and read the declarations page and related exclusions. Odds are good you'll find an item specifically excluding both defects in construction and settling/subsidence, but because there really is no other way to tell, it's worth doing.

Thing is, even if you could make a claim for it, odds are good that it wouldn't be in your best interest. Homeowner's policies usually have reasonably high deductibles--at least $500, some up to $5k or $10k--so simply getting the porch replaced might actually be cheaper. But even if it isn't, making homeowners claims is a good way to either jack up your premium or get dropped altogether, neither of which is a good thing.

But don't check with your agent before reading your policy. Notifying your insurance company of potential claims, even if you wind up not filing, is always dicey.
posted by valkyryn at 8:23 AM on October 30, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice everyone. I have a low deductible, but I don't believe I have any provisions for coverage of structure settling in my policy. I'll verify with my agent if I think it's worth it.
posted by schleppo at 9:20 AM on October 30, 2008

Actually, it can hurt to check with your agent. As valkyryn alluded to, this will go down on your permanent record, and can result in higher premiums, canceled insurance, and inability to get insurance on a different property in the future - even if you never file a claim. The culprit is the CLUE database.

When I bought a house, my real estate agents actually told me to call them first (rather than the insurance agent) if I had any questions, for this reason.
posted by expialidocious at 12:26 PM on October 30, 2008

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