My concrete porch is sinking. Will my home insurance policy cover repairs or replacement?
UPDATED: Feb 7, 2012
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Asked February 7, 2012
Insurance is regulated on a state by state basis, and each company licensed to sell home insurance will have their own rules in addition to those imposed by law. In this case, however, most companies agree that your homeowners policy does not cover a sinking concrete porch. Read your policy carefully to make sure, and contact your insurance agent if you do not understand the wording of the policy.
The wording used to exclude a sinking porch will be different from one homeowners insurance policy to another. The terminology may be "settling of a foundation," or something similar. In effect, it means that the foundation your home and porch were built on is assumed by the insurance company to be beyond the scope of the policy. In most policies the exclusion from settling includes porches, decks, walls, doors, windows or other parts of the structure that are susceptible to a change in relative elevation. In other words, the insurance expects your home to remain at the same uniform elevation, and making any repairs when it does not do so is your responsibility.
However, if you have earthquake coverage, a special type of insurance policy that is bought in addition to the home insurance, then you are probably covered. In an earthquake policy, movements of the earth are covered specifically, and it may be that your sinking porch is covered under the provisions of "earth movements." Again, all policies are different, and you should check with your insurance company for the exact coverage provided by earthquake insurance to make sure that your claim fits the policy.
If possible, have the foundation of your home tested before purchasing. Since insurance companies will not cover settling of the structure, your best defense is to make sure that the foundation of the home is stable before you buy it. Doing so does not mean that your porch will not settle later, though, and if it does you will have to pay out of pocket to repair it.
Answered February 7, 2012 by Anonymous