A lot can happen to damage your home, and sometimes it’s impossible to notice until the damage is severe. Small cracks at the base of your wall could grow to huge, spiderweb-like cracks. Walls can crack due to humidity, natural settling, sagging ceilings and more.
Unfortunately, cracked walls aren’t typically covered under homeowners insurance.
Homeowners insurance covers the structure against:
- Fall objects
- Weight of snow/sleet/ice
- Damage caused by air-crafts or motor vehicles
Homeowners insurance generally doesn’t cover normal wear and tear, such as if your older home’s foundation is beginning to crack. Damage due to a sinkhole usually isn’t covered, either. Cracks in your walls will only be covered if the cracks are ruled as caused by one of the above incidents.
Keep in mind that homeowners insurance also doesn’t cover disregard to maintenance. If you fail to fix a known problem that then grows worse, an insurance claim elating to that problem will most likely be denied.
How Do You Know if a Wall Crack is Serious?
A lot of wall cracks are harmless, due only to changes in humidity with no real influence on the structure itself. They’re not very attractive, but they’re harmless. Other wall cracks can hint at a much bigger structural problem that should be handled immediately. Cracks more than .25 inches long or larger are cause for concern. Cracks .125 inches wide or shorter are usually harmless. The position of the crack matters, as well. Cracks along wall and ceiling seams may mean roof issues, which can be dangerous. Also look at the direction of the crack. Cracks running in straight vertical or horizontal are normal, while jagged cracks may be a sign of a more serious problem. Cracks can also be caused by water damage. Limited water damage is covered under a typical homeowners policy. You can usually purchase an additional flood insurance policy and sewage coverage, as neither of these dangers are usually covered.
Always have a professional look at any serious cracks before attempting to fix them yourself.
Preventing Wall Cracks and Foundation Issues
Repairing the foundation of your home can be a long, expensive process, so it’s important to take as many preventative measures as possible. Some older homes may already have foundation damage. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a home inspection conducted before signing on a home.
Steps you can take to protect your home’s foundation include:
- Maintaining gutters, drains and spouts by cleaning them out regularly.
- Add sloped landscape so water runs downhill away from your home instead of gathering beneath your house. Mold generally isn’t covered by home insurance, so make sure you keep an eye out for it, especially if you live in a humid area.
- Purchase a sprinkler system that senses rain so that it doesn’t overwater your lawn.
- Trim plants and trees away from the home.
- Watch for cracks and repair them immediately.
If you live in an area that’s at high risk for floods, you should also purchase flood insurance. Flood insurance covers damages to your property and belongings. Foundation issues that arise directly because of a flood should be covered under this insurance. Possessions coverage typically comes with a limit of $100,000 while building coverage comes with $250,000 or less for structural damages.
If an accident does occur, consider the cost of filing a claim versus having the damages repaired. If the cost of your deductible is higher than the cost of repairing the damages out of pocket, it may be advisable not to file an insurance claim.