Are Foundation Repairs Covered By Homeowners Insurance

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. QUESTION:
    Will homeowners insurance cover taking down trees damaging the foundation of my house?
    There are two large maple trees in my backyard. They were planted when the house was built in 1955. Recently we had some plumbing work done on our house in the basement crawlspace and the plumber told us that the roots of the trees are starting to come into the basement. If they continue they will damage the foundation of the house. Is removing the trees something that my homeowners insurance will cover because they are damaging the house?If so what do I need to do to get them to cover it?

    • ANSWER:
      Doubt it. Homeowners insurance is to repair damage, not perform maintenance. If a tree fell on your house, they would pay to repair the damages.

  2. QUESTION:
    Would homeowners insurance help with the cost of foundation repair?
    I have noticed cracks on the wall of the house. That probably means that the foundation has cracked.

    • ANSWER:
      Homeowner's insurance does not cover foundation failures in most cases. Insurance covers unexpected and sudden problems; foundation cracks usually happen over a period of time. The insurance also will not cover the cracks in the wall if caused by a foundation failure.

  3. QUESTION:
    what is some advice with my house that is falling apart?
    I tried to sell it. The foundation must be falling apart & its really old & needs so much repairing/updating that I absolutley cant afford. I could have a structural engineer give his opinion? & if possible could I have homeowners insurance help cover some costs? I dont think its sellable without losing lots of $. Even if it did get sold it may be torn down anyway. Its become a thorn in my side.

    • ANSWER:
      Lower the price, fix it or walk away from it.

  4. QUESTION:
    Should homeowners insurance cover mold in basement - covered previous claim due to basement flooding?
    Okay - a year a go we had a pipe burst outside the house and the water basically ran down into our foundation in our furnace room and flooded the basement. Probably a good 2 inches of water throughout the basement (finished basement - living room, bedroom) Replaced all the carpet and the drywall about 2 ft up from base. Insurance covered this. They didn't cover the pipe repair outside that caused the leak - but the inside they did. So now, we've discovered we have mold in our bedroom. It's fairly obvious that it's being caused b/c any moisture coming from outside (rain) is all running down now to where the water made it's path to the foundation the first time, and then it must be sitting there. Insurance is balking at this. Saying they're not responsible. We can fix the mold. We can fix the drywall. But it's just going to happen again next year. Anybody?

    • ANSWER:
      The only time water ingress from the outside (non-flood) is covered is if something that is covered by the policy makes a hole in the building exterior first. So water entering because of cracks in the foundation or the water erode the mortar in a brick/concrete block foundation is not covered. Water that enters the home during a rainstorm after someone runs their vehicle into your home would be covered, because vehicle impact (other than your own) is covered.
      Damage caused by mold, rust, corrosion, wet or dry rot, and condensation are always excluded under any property policy. Losses insured under a property policy need to be sudden and accidental. The perils I just listed all occur over a period of time. That and the perils I listed are maintenance issues.

  5. QUESTION:
    Will home insurance cover tree roots causing water to enter my basement?
    I live in montana, and tree roots have grown under my foundation and drawn up ground water, created a path for the water to follow, and separated my foundation from my footing allowing water to enter my basement. Will any home owner's insurance cover this type of damage or repair? It is a city tree, would they be liable? Thank you.

    • ANSWER:
      No, for several reasons:

      1. Tree roots are a maintenance issue.
      2. Foundation damage is specifically excluded on the standard policy, except by fire
      3. Water damage, from water seeping/leaking into the basement, is considered flood, and also excluded on the homeowners policy.

      The city isn't liable. Any part of the tree on YOUR property, is YOUR responsibility - including the roots.

      Sorry, you'll have to get this done on your own.

  6. QUESTION:
    What are my option for a 4 year old home with structural damages?
    This includes foundation 3 inch shifting and plumbing problems?

    • ANSWER:
      If you can go after the builder or not depends on the cause of the structural problems. Which we don't know.

      If it will be covered under your homeowners insurance or not depends on the cause of the problems. In general, homeowners insurance does not cover foundation issues....but if the foundation was caused by an earthquake and you have earthquake insurance...then it could be covered.

      So...step one...find out the cause of the problem. You don't know what your options are until you find out what the cause of the problem is.

      A reputable general contractor may be able to help you do that. Many will come out and tell you what they think the problem is and write up an estimate to repair for no charge. But make sure you get a licensed and insured GC.
      Or you can hire a structural engineer to tell you what the cause of the problem is( of course, that could cost 00-00)

  7. QUESTION:
    Is there a reverse mortgage available for people less than 62 years old?
    I am a US homeowner. Instead of refinancing, I wanted to explore the possibility of a reverse mortgage.All I have seen so far is that this is only good for homeowners aged 62 or more. Is there a company that provides reverse mortgages for those younger than 62?

    • ANSWER:
      YES

      A reverse mortgage is a special type of loan used by older Americans to convert the equity in their homes into cash. The money from a reverse mortgage can provide seniors with the financial security they need to fully enjoy their retirement years.
      Many of the same costs that someone pays to obtain a home purchase loan, or to refinance their existing mortgage, apply to reverse mortgages too. You can expect to be charged an origination fee, up-front mortgage insurance premium (for the FHA Home Equity Conversion Mortgage or HECM), an appraisal fee, and certain other standard closing costs.

      In most cases, these fees and costs are capped and may be financed as part of the reverse mortgage. Below is a more in-depth explanation of each type of fee.

      Origination Fee
      The origination fee covers a lender's operating expenses—including office overhead, marketing costs, etc.—for making the reverse mortgage.

      Under the HECM program, which accounts for 90 percent of all reverse mortgages made in the U.S., the origination fee is equal to the greater of ,000 or 2 percent of the maximum claim amount (i.e., county FHA loan limit). Currently, the FHA loan limit varies from a low of 0,160 (for rural areas) to a high of 2,790 (for high-cost metropolitan areas). Therefore, the 2 percent origination fee generally ranges between ,003 (2 percent of 0,160) and ,256 (2 percent of 2,790).

      Home Keeper borrowers are charged an origination fee that may not exceed 2 percent of the value of the home. With either product, the entire amount of the origination fee may be financed as part of the mortgage.

      Mortgage Insurance Premium
      Under the HECM program, borrowers are charged a mortgage insurance premium (MIP), equal to 2 percent of the maximum claim amount, or home value, whichever is less, plus an annual premium thereafter equal to 0.5 percent of the loan balance.

      The MIP guarantees that if the company managing your account – commonly called the loan “servicer” – goes out of business, the government will step in and make sure you have continued access to your loan funds. Furthermore, the MIP guarantees that you will never owe more than the value of your home when the HECM must be repaid.

      Appraisal Fee
      An appraiser is responsible for assigning a current market value to your home. Appraisal fees generally range between 0-0.

      In addition to placing a value on the home, an appraiser must also make sure there are no major structural defects, such as a bad foundation, leaky roof, or termite damage. Federal regulations mandate that your home be structurally sound, and comply with all home safety codes, in order for the reverse mortgage to be made.

      If the appraiser uncovers property defects, you must hire a contractor to complete the repairs. Once the repairs are completed, the same appraiser is paid for a second visit to make sure the repairs have been completed. The cost of the repairs may be financed in the loan and completed after the reverse mortgage is made. Appraisers generally charge - dollars for the follow-up examination.

      Closing Costs
      Other closing costs that are commonly charged to a reverse mortgage borrower, include:

      Credit report fee. Verifies any federal tax liens, or other judgments, handed down against the borrower. Cost: Generally under
      Flood certification fee. Determines whether the property is located on a federally designated flood plane. Cost: Generally under
      Escrow, Settlement or Closing fee. Generally includes a title search and various other required closing services. Cost: 0-0
      Document preparation fee. Fee charged to prepare the final closing documents, including the mortgage note and other recordable items. Cost: -0
      Recording fee. Fee charged to record the mortgage lien with the County Recorder's Office. Cost: -0
      Courier fee. Covers the cost of any overnight mailing of documents between the lender and the title company or loan investor. Cost: Generally under
      Title insurance. Insurance that protects the lender (lender's policy) or the buyer (owner's policy) against any loss arising from disputes over ownership of a property. Varies by size of the loan, though in general, the larger the loan amount, the higher the cost of the title insurance.
      Pest Inspection. Determines whether the home is infested with any wood-destroying organisms, such as termites. Cost: Generally under 0
      Survey. Determines the official boundaries of the property. It's typically ordered to make sure that any adjoining property has not inadvertently encroached on the reverse mortgage borrower's property. Cost: Generally under 0

      Service Fee Set-Aside
      The service fee set-aside is an amount of money deducted from the available loan proceeds at closing to cover the projected costs of servicing your account.

      Federal regulations allow the loan servicer (which may or may not be the same company as the originating lender) to charge a monthly fee that ranges between -. The amount of money set-aside is largely determined by the borrower's age and life expectancy. Generally, the set-aside can amount to several thousand dollars.

      (Note: The servicing set aside is just a calculation and not a charge. The only amount added to your loan balance is the monthly servicing fee, which ranges from -.)

      If you are looking for a Lender for reverse mortgage you can click on the link below

      http://www.reversemortgage.org/Default.aspx?tabid=255

  8. QUESTION:
    How do i fix the leak in my basement?
    i have a very leaky basement that looks like a waterfall everytime it rains, and i live in oregon so thats a lot. i have had a few people over and nobody knows what to do for it. does anybody know who i would contact in this type of situation?
    this isnt no small little leak either, it will fill up my basement with 3 feet of water in a 1 hour time period. and i have tried a plumber and that hasn't worked out to well because they dont deal with these kind of issues.
    and on the outside of the wall is 4 concrete steps so i have to work around that and a deck with pipes connecting to a hot tub.
    it is coming for a hole by the concrete steps
    which is from the wall

    • ANSWER:
      I also live in Oregon and the proper way to fix problems like this is something called a "french drain". You mentioned that you have a 'hole by the concrete steps". If this was the ONLY problem then you could see about rerouting the water from that point to another by digging a trench where the stream starts and then have it diverted away from where it is going into the ground. But I venture a guess that you have a spring near your foundation and the water is really coming from it. When it rains, the spring is active and your foundation can't handle the water - hence you get the waterfall.

      Step 1 - invest in a submercible pump (if you haven't already). Some people in Oregon can never get rid of the water and simply have a three foot home dug in their foundation and the pump sits in this hole. When water fills the hole it immediately begins pumping the water out a hose to a place you decide.

      Step 2 - look in the phone book for a company that does excavations and ask if they install French drains. A proper French drain would be dug outside your house and would be deep enough that whatever water level the water is running at (where the spring is) - in my case about 4 feet down - a perforated pipe is put in, then it is filled with gravel and the water is re-reouted away from your basement. They can deal with the problems of steps, landscaping, etc.

      Step 3 - check with your homeowners insurance (or ask your landloard to do it). If this leak wasn't "always" there then the repairs may be covered by insurance. The longer you wait, the harder this will be to prove. And if it was there when you purchased the house but you weren't told of the problem, ask a realtor about non-disclosure.

      Hope this helps. The other answers are helpful, but no one mentioned the key phrase - french drain!

  9. QUESTION:
    How do I find a person to help me set up a budget?
    I am wondering if regular people, without millions in the bank, go to financial planners? Someone that can help set and plan a budget, on what I make and show me how to save money even thought I don't feel like make enough to make ends meet.

    • ANSWER:
      There is no reason to go to a financial planner. Going to a financial planner for budgeting is like going to college for 4 years to learn to ride a bicycle. It's a waste of time and money.

      The foundation of any budget is accurate bookkeeping. You can do it with paper and pencil, with Excel, or with a bookkeeping and budgeting software program such as Quicken. You need to reconcile your checkbook every month. Accurate bookkeeping is like having a condom. It's of no value unless you use it.

      Write down every source of income on a separate line. Then add the total income. This is how much you have to work with. Next write each type of expense on a separate line. You need to do this regardless of whether you pay the expense with a check or you use currency. Now add the total expenses. Subtract the expenses from the income. If the expenses exceed the income, you need to cut back discretionary spending. This is called an income statement or a profit and loss statement.

      The next category of expenses are those which are billed semi annually or annually such as homeowners insurance or auto insurance. Take the total amount of the bill and divide it by the number of months it covers. This gives you the monthly expense. Put money aside for that and add it to your expenses on your bookkeeping sheet.

      The third category are unexpected expenses such as auto repair. You know that your car will need repair, but you don't know how much it will be. Go through your check register and add up all the unexpected expenses over 24 months. Divide the total by 24, and put that amount aside each month for unexpected expenses. Add that amount to the expense portion of your income statement.

      The bookkeeping is the most important part. Now for the budgeting.

      After you have an income statement for 1 year, use that as your budget. You allow yourself 1/12 of each expense each month. If your income goes up, then you can increase the amount of each expense proportionally, and visa versa. This is easy to do on Excel.

      I suggest you read Bookkeeping for Dummies and Budgeting for Dummies. Please don't be offended by the name. For Dummies is a publishing company. They contract with authors who have the ability to put concepts in easy to understand language.

      If you have any questions, just click on my avatar and send me an E mail.

  10. QUESTION:
    Foudation water pipe leak - is there coverage in an Allstate insurance plan?
    Is there coverage on the water pipe leak under the foundation to the outside? There is a mud puddle right outside the kitchen brick wall (foundation?). Will the insurance (Allstate) cover the expenses of fixing the water pipe damage that's OUTSIDE the home (from the foundation of the house)?

    Thanks for all the help.

    • ANSWER:
      In general - your homeowners policy does not cover the cost to repair the leaky pipe. It would only cover resulting damage to the home.

      Your best source of information is your agent. What's covered will depend on what type of policy you purchased to protect your home.

  11. QUESTION:
    For a novice,what are the obvious signs that my home may have a toxic black mold infestation?
    My home is 70 years old built on a pier and beam foundation. A few years ago, I had a major under the house plumbing leak which destroyed the wooden floors in my home. My insurance company dropped my homeowner's coverage immediately after band-aid repairs. The hardwood floors in my house seep air when I place my palm net to the floor. I have experienced a variety of skin inflamations all over my body. A clear waxy like exudate secretes from my skin. Behind my earsand on the back of my neck feels leathery. When shaving, I have to shave off layers of a waxy covering in order to get to the hairs on my beard and moustache. What could possibly be going on with my house and health?

    • ANSWER:
      Only a professional mold specialist can test mold. They can tell if you have it and what kind. Should be listed in yellow pages . Don't risk your own knowledge and health . Even your state health dept may be able to send health investigators over . Good luck

  12. QUESTION:
    What amount of rent can I afford making 13 dollars an hour?
    I just got a job making 13 dollars an hour and I'm about to move out of my current roommates' house, I'll be working full time and most 1 bedroom apartments in the area are between 600 and 700 dollars a month, is this feasible for me when factoring in utilities, etc?

    • ANSWER:
      If you work 40 hours a week * * 52 weeks, you'll make ,040 per year. This comes to ,253 per month. If rent costs 0 per month excluding utilities, then you will have ,603.33 per month to live on. Will that cover all your other expenses? Here is the way you can determine whether that will cover your other expenses:

      The foundation of any budget is good bookkeeping. You need to track your income and your expenses. Set up a budgeting worksheet on Excel, or get Quicken. Quicken will be easier to work with, but it will cost about .. I listed the categories to start below. Add or delete categories as needed. Each column in Excel should be one month. Each row should be 1 expense category. Make sure to reconcile your checkbook each month. Failing to reconcile your checkbook is like having a condom, but not using it.

      There are some items which are a bit harder to budget. For example, you pay for homeowner's or renter's insurance once a year. Take the bill divide it by 12, and add it to your expenses monthly as an accrued item. Some expenses are unpredictable. For example, you know that your car will eventually need an expensive repair, but you don't know when it will happen. Go through your check register for the last 24 months. Add up all the unexpected items and divide by 24. Then enter that amount on your budget each month.

      I suggest you get a book called Bookkeeping for Dummies by Lita Epstein. Please don't be offended by the name. For Dummies is a publishing company. They contract with top authors who are both experts in their field and have the ability to put concepts in simple English.

      INCOME:
      Wages and Bonuses
      Interest Income
      Investment Income
      Miscellaneous Income
      Income Subtotal
      INCOME TAXES WITHHELD:
      Federal Income Tax
      State and Local Income Tax
      Social Security/Medicare Tax
      Income Taxes Subtotal
      Spendable Income
      EXPENSES:
      HOME:
      Rent
      Renters Insurance (actual amount paid)
      UTILITIES:
      Electricity
      Water and Sewer
      Natural Gas or Oil
      Telephone (Land Line, Cell)
      FOOD:
      Groceries
      Eating Out, Lunches, Snacks
      FAMILY OBLIGATIONS:
      Child Support/Alimony
      Day Care, Babysitting
      HEALTH AND MEDICAL:
      Insurance (medical,dental,vision)
      Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenses
      Fitness (Yoga,Massage,Gym)
      TRANSPORTATION:
      Car Payments
      Gasoline/Oil
      Auto Repairs/Maintenance/Fees
      Auto Insurance
      Other (tolls, bus, subway, taxi)
      DEBT PAYMENTS:
      Credit Cards
      Student Loans
      Other Loans
      ENTERTAINMENT/RECREATION:
      Cable TV/Videos/Movies
      Computer Expense
      Hobbies
      Subscriptions and Dues
      Vacations
      PETS:
      Food
      Grooming, Boarding, Vet
      CLOTHING:
      INVESTMENTS AND SAVINGS:
      401(K)or IRA
      Stocks/Bonds/Mutual Funds
      College Fund
      Savings
      Emergency Fund
      MISCELLANEOUS:
      Toiletries, Household Products
      Gifts/Donations
      Grooming (Hair, Make-up, Other)
      Miscellaneous Expense
      Total Investments and Expenses
      ----------------------
      Surplus/Shortage (Spendable income

  13. QUESTION:
    pipe replacement - covered by homeowners ins.?
    We discovered that we need extensive pipe replacement in our upstairs bathroom....we bought our older home a year ago and found that the pipes are actually leaking water into the wall, down to the ceiling and wall in the first floor, and through to the wall and floor of our basement to the foundation. Estimates on replacement/repair are around 2500 dollars, not including the cost of drywall to replace the ceiling and wall areas that will need to be removed.
    Does homeowners insurance cover any portion of this? If they do how does it work....do you just call or write them and submit a claim?

    • ANSWER:
      Call your insurance carrier for that answer, since he is the only one who can answer that question.

  14. QUESTION:
    Should a 6 y.o. home need foundation repair?
    My house was built in 2001, and we are starting to have problems with doors not closing and small verticle cracks inside. Is it strange that a house that new would need foundation repair? Is there something else that can be causing this? We are in north Texas and have a slab foundation. I will be calling some places for estimates, but wanted to get some ideas first. We are the second owners of this home built by DR Horton. Is it possible a builder's warranty might cover this? Our homeowners insurance only covers foundation repair caused by flooding. Thank you.

    • ANSWER:
      Houses do settle and wall cracks occur as a result. Vertical cracks can be fixed as they are normally cosmetic. BUT, horizontal cracks are serious!

      Contact a reputable home inspector or a contractor who does foundation work for an estimation of the problem.

      Is the house built on or near a ledge or close to a busy highway??

      I'd check with the neighbors to see if they have similar problems. Speak with the contractor after you have all of the facts. Six years is a long time to hold the contractor liable unless it was in the sales agreement.

  15. QUESTION:
    will my home insurance cover my old foundation?
    my home is about 100 yrs old and an engineer told me and house is craking due to tear and wear of an old home and soil movement my question is will home insurance cover the repair of my foundation ? i just bought the home 3 yrs ago

    • ANSWER:
      Not likely. Insurance is for the unexpected - storm, theft, accidental damage. Wear and tear is excluded from coverage. Its the homeowner's responsibility to maintain their home.

  16. QUESTION:
    Does homeowners insurance generally cover garage and house concrete (foundation) repairs?

    • ANSWER:
      It depends on the cause of the foundation repairs.

      Settling is excluded.

  17. QUESTION:
    Foundation Cracks?
    I bought my condo in 2005 and everything was fine during the inspection. Just recently I've noticed a foundation crack that runs all along my floor tile. Is this something that is covered under my homeowners insurance?? How big is this issue? Could it effect the whole condo complex I live in??

    • ANSWER:
      I'd contact your Condo association and make them aware of it
      Also contact you homeowners insurance.
      Also there are places that will do free estimates on repairs. your insurance might want a quote.
      Get everything in writing and signed, Estimates, Inspections, Association inspections.
      Document everything is your best bet even simple phone calls and things like that

  18. QUESTION:
    Insurance Adjusters question Homeowners Insurance? Slab Leak causing Foundation to raise? Covered or not?
    Slab drain leak causing foundation to raise in the center, and foundation issues. Please, experienced Insurance adjusters, what steps should I take to make sure this repair is covered by Allstate?

    • ANSWER:
      It's not covered. There are no steps you can take.

      The only little bit of it that *might* be covered, relates to the "slab drain leak". Now, if the water came from a pipe that burst inside of the house, damage that you do to get to the actual leak, aka, breaking through drywall, or jackhammering through the floor & slab, is frequently covered. The cause of the actual leak is NOT covered, and any digging outside the house is NOT covered. Foundation problems caused by the water are not covered, the leaky drain is not covered, and any pipes are not covered.

      If the water is groundwater, that should have sifted through the drain, there is no coverage for any part.

      In any case, there is never any coverage for the foundation. Foundations are JUST not a covered part of ANY homeowners policies.

  19. QUESTION:
    does homeowners insurance cover sinking foundation areas?
    well my policy covers the entire home including the home expansion areas, some structual damage walls pulling apart slab no longer level, this is what i am trying to get repaired with my deductable. if anyone knows where to look thx

    • ANSWER:
      No, it doesn't. It's excluded under every policy.

      You'll be paying for this repair yourself.

  20. QUESTION:
    Home insurance coverages-pest and foundation?
    I am wondering if home owner's policies generally cover the following:

    1. small animals (rats, squirrels or other rodents) living in your attic or walls. Would the policy cover either a professional pest control person to seal up the house and remove the animals and/or cover internal damaged caused by the animals?

    2. Foundation settlement cracks. We have some minor settlement cracks around the house which caused water to leak into the basement. Would a policy cover the repairs of the cracks? Thanks.

    • ANSWER:
      1. rodents and pests - including flea or termite infestations, etc, are typically excluded under the standard homeowners policy. These are just a normal maintenance thing that you have to nip in the bud, early. So no treatment, no damage, is covered, for damage by either rodents or insects.

      2. Normal foundation settling is excluded on the standard homeowners policy.

      Homeowners policy is not a maintenance contract - it's designed to protect against sudden, unpredictable losses. Neither of these are sudden or unpredictable. Sorry.

  21. QUESTION:
    why is earthquake insurance difficult to sell?

    • ANSWER:
      1. The deductible can be as high as 25% of the value of the property improvements. For many people whose homes have already survived earthquakes, it is not considered cost effective when for example the first ,000 to ,000 of damages aren't even covered. Most houses would have to be completely destroyed before the insurance payout is effective. Insurance companies are notorious for using cost estimates that are not based on replacement cost, making the likelihood of actually getting a payout even lower.

      2. Earthquake insurers often require an inspection of the property, and require that changes be made that are quite expensive. For example they may require that your home be bolted to its foundation – a practice that wasn’t required by building codes until the early 1960s. Being forced to spend what could cost over ten thousand dollars for repairs just to be able to buy the insurance is likely to make it cost-prohibitive for many homeowners.

      3. Despite some recent rate reductions (in California) the price is still high, and could cost as much as a homeowners policy for the same dwelling. Since most homeowner's policies have a 00 deductible, instead of what is effectively well over a ,000 deductible, it is probable that most homeowners do not consider the risk-reward ratio to be worthwhile.

      4. There is a perception problem. In my opinion, most real estate agents don't know enough about earthquakes to make them recommend earthquake insurance, so instead they advise homeowners that it is a waste of money. To add to that perception problem, I don't know many people who trust insurance agents, so they aren't likely to take advice from an insurance company. The publicity of some insurance companies that still have not settled claims for events like Hurricane Katrina makes the insurance industry look like their "good hands" are only good at collecting payments.

      5. Lender's (mortgage companies and banks) do not require earthquake insurance like they do fire insurance. Most people are forced to buy insurance by their lender and in my experience most people only buy the minimum required.

      To get quotes check here:

      http://www.earthquakeauthority.com/CEAHome2006.aspx?edate=8&pid=3

  22. QUESTION:
    improperly park pick up truck ran into home, owner 's insurance to pay damages?
    I would like to hear from anyone who has had to deal with this. the front porch and steps damaged as ? foundation. What about structural damage? I asked for a structural assessment and the insurance company didn't think it was nessasary. I do. Should I pay for engineer myself feel insurance should as part of repairs.

    • ANSWER:
      I take it the parked truck's brakes failed and it coasted into your home (can't figure out any other way for a parked vehicle to run into a house)? Anyhoo if this peril is covered under your homeowner's policy, then the insurer is liable for all damage caused by this peril, subject to limits, deductible and policy conditions. What is required of you is to prove that this damage was caused by an insured peril. If the insurer is willing to pay for some damage caused by the truck, they are liable to pay for all damage caused by the truck. If you have an expert (and by expert I mean a certified or accredited one, not just some guy who knows stuff) who is willing to put in writing (and/or testify) that this is the case, then the insurer is obligated to accept this finding or else they are obligated to present their own expert conclusion that the damage was not caused by an insured peril. Unfortunately this means you will have to pay for your expert out of your own pocket. If the insurer is unwilling to recognize your expert's opinion, then threaten them with legal action. The insurer knows they do not have a snowball's chance in hell of a judge sympathizing with them in this scenario. At the very least having an engineer come in and look will give you peace of mind that there is no hidden critical damage.

  23. QUESTION:
    Can I buy Foundation insurance?
    I am buying a house with foundation issues. It is a slab foundation in Texas. I am having the foundation repaired with a lifetime transferable warranty. I am having a structural engineers report compiled as well.

    I am concerned about future settling and wonder if I can get specific insurance to address the foundation. I am worried about other issues in other areas that won't be covered by the warranty

    I carry my auto and home owners with Allstate and have been happy with them, but they do not offer this type of coverage.

    Thanks for your assistance

    • ANSWER:
      You're not going to find it on a standard homeowners policy in TX. TX is well known for settling issues, and, settling and foundation issues are what's called an "inherent vice" - it's just something that you can expect to happen, ANYWHERE.

      If you went to a specialty market, you'd probably pay 20% or 25% of the value of your home in premium, IF you could find someone willing to take it on. In other words, it's not going to be affordable for you to pay for someone else to maintain your foundation.

      That warranty you have, is only as good as the company backing it up - the second they close doors, the warranty is over.

  24. QUESTION:
    house is sinking, am i covered by farmers insurance?

    • ANSWER:
      Settling and earth movement are both excluded under the standard homeowners policy.

      If you have an earthquake endorsement and the sinking is caused by an earthquake, land shock waves, tremors associated w/ volcanic eruption - you may have coverage.

      However, if you are in the south east where the drought is going on - The drought has caused shifting of foundations - this has been seen in slab built homes and crawl space homes. If this is the cause, it will not be covered.

      You would need to call a foundation repair company and have them give you a quote to repair. They usually come in and put piers under the ground to support the home. It can be very expensive. However, if the house eventually collapses because of the foundation problems - that will not be covered either so ignoring the problem is not a good idea.

      **not legal advice **

  25. QUESTION:
    Does insurance cover this?
    My house has a slab foundation, it settles in the middle. The foundation company says it's because of a leaking sewage line, and they said that the insurance company should pay it, but the insurance company won't cover it.

    Should the insurance policy cover the repair of the sewage line and the foundation?

    • ANSWER:
      You would have to read your homeowners policy very carefully, or better yet have an attorney advise you as to the coverages.

  26. QUESTION:
    Insurance Adjusters question Homeowners Insurance? Slab Leak causing Foundation to raise? need steps.?
    1) I have researched to find many claims have been paid that cover slab repair when the cause was proven as a result of water damage.
    2) My leak under the slab is the cause of the slab damage, raising it in the center
    3) My question is what steps should I take prior to repair, to make sure the damage is documented & my slab is repaired by my insurance coverage.
    4) The slab leak is on my, I see that, but the damage it caused should be covered.
    5) The cause of the slab damage is the water leak under the slab
    which raised the foundation
    6) As an adjuster, what steps should I take to ensure the damage is insured and covered?

    Thanks

    • ANSWER:
      Sure, they have been paid. It depends on a. what policy form, b. what exclusions/endorsements are on the policy and c. what causes the water damage. You'll have to specify general policy type & water damage cause for a better answer.

      If this is surface/groundwater, there IS no coverage. If this is a burst pipe, slowly leaking water, there is coverage to the slab to GET to the leak, but not coverage for the leak itself.

      There is no coverage for the foundation. Sorry. I've never seen a homeowners policy that covers foundation. Even for fires.

      You don't "take steps" to ensure the damage is insured. The steps would have been taken PRIOR to the loss - to make sure that you had the most broad policy possible.

  27. QUESTION:
    Assistance with foundation problems?
    I purchased my home roughly 4 months ago, and during that time the inspector found only minor problems with the house (mostly cosmetic except for needing a new roof). Upon going upstairs this weekend, I noticed a crack in one of the walls and found out one of the upstairs bedroom doors are sticking. Now I'm terrified we have foundation issues.

    Will homeowners insurance or our warranty help cover this? Can there be any legal disputing with our inspector?

    We never would have agreed to cover the cost on foundation problems for this home, and now I'm terrified we've landed in a bad situation. Any advise will help. Thanks.
    There was a pre-exisiting crack on the ceiling that we just attributed to settling, however I do not remember the crack on the wall. It is located somewhere relatively unnoticable, you have to be on the stairwell to see it.

    The homeowners bought the house as an investment property and were less than agreeable through the purchasing process -- I can't imagine them answering any questions we may have for them.

    • ANSWER:
      Check contract for wording on patent and latent defects in both purchase and insurance/arranties. In some states the sale can be voided.

      If the subsidence is resent upstairs but not downstairs then some/something has:

      remediated a sag at the base but not the upper floor,

      interfered with the normal settling,

      given way/failed at the base of the upper floor.

      Which of these is most liekely ?? My guess would be a partial repair/readjustment of doors downstairs.

      A careful examination of the foundation itself should reveal what and where the cause is--- a level line might disclose the spot quickly and show the amount of settlement.

      Jacks should be placed at the low point to lift it back to alignment with the unsettled floor level, bracing/rigid support provided then the lieft released unto the new support system.

      The cause of the settlement ought to be addressed by a licensed foundation engineer.

      Several alternatives exist for stabiilizing the settled soil underneath---which one is appropriate depends upon the conditions uncovered and your budget for repairs.

      (one alternative may just be leave it be---the settlement that was to occur has already happened and it will be stable from now on)

  28. QUESTION:
    how to plan payments?
    okay, i get paid every other friday ( example May13th, may 27th) i am planning on getting a motorcycle but i dont know what day i should make the payment due. i have other payments too, on the 1st of each month, the 21st and the 28 and gas each week about . i will be making about 500 every two weeks and i need help to pick a date that wont conflict in money shortage. i dont need a lot of money left over, only like -... please help

    • ANSWER:
      This is a budgeting issue, not a date issue.

      When you get paid you have a specified amount to work with for the next two weeks. You also have expenses. You need to make sure that your income covers the expenses. Here is how to budget to determine whether you have the money for the motorcycle. This will take some work. Continue reading if you are willing to put in the work to build a budget.

      The foundation of any budget is good bookkeeping. You need to track your income and your expenses. Set up a budgeting worksheet on Excel, or get Quicken. Quicken will be easier to work with, but it will cost about . I listed the categories to start below. Add or delete categories as needed. Each column in Excel should be one month. Each row should be 1 expense category. Make sure to reconcile your checkbook each month. Failing to reconcile your checkbook is like having a condom, but not using it.

      There are some items which are a bit harder to budget. For example, you pay for homeowner's or renter's insurance once a year. Take the bill divide it by 12, and add it to your expenses monthly as an accrued item. Some expenses are unpredictable. For example, you know that your car will eventually need an expensive repair, but you don't know when it will happen. Go through your check register for the last 24 months. Add up all the unexpected items and divide by 24. Then enter that amount on your budget each month.

      I suggest you get a book called Bookkeeping for Dummies by Lita Epstein. Please don't be offended by the name. For Dummies is a publishing company. They contract with top authors who are both experts in their field and have the ability to put concepts in simple English.

      INCOME:
      Wages and Bonuses
      Interest Income
      Investment Income
      Miscellaneous Income
      Income Subtotal
      INCOME TAXES WITHHELD:
      Federal Income Tax
      State and Local Income Tax
      Social Security/Medicare Tax
      Income Taxes Subtotal
      Spendable Income
      EXPENSES:
      HOME:
      Mortgage or Rent
      Homeowners/Renters Insurance (actual amount paid)
      Property Taxes (actual amount paid)
      Home Repairs/Maintenance/HOA Dues
      Home Improvements
      UTILITIES:
      Electricity
      Water and Sewer
      Natural Gas or Oil
      Telephone (Land Line, Cell)
      FOOD:
      Groceries
      Eating Out, Lunches, Snacks
      FAMILY OBLIGATIONS:
      Child Support/Alimony
      Day Care, Babysitting
      HEALTH AND MEDICAL:
      Insurance (medical,dental,vision)
      Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenses
      Fitness (Yoga,Massage,Gym)
      TRANSPORTATION:
      Car Payments
      Gasoline/Oil
      Auto Repairs/Maintenance/Fees
      Auto Insurance
      Other (tolls, bus, subway, taxi)
      DEBT PAYMENTS:
      Credit Cards
      Student Loans
      Other Loans
      ENTERTAINMENT/RECREATION:
      Cable TV/Videos/Movies
      Computer Expense
      Hobbies
      Subscriptions and Dues
      Vacations
      PETS:
      Food
      Grooming, Boarding, Vet
      CLOTHING:
      INVESTMENTS AND SAVINGS:
      401(K)or IRA
      Stocks/Bonds/Mutual Funds
      College Fund
      Savings
      Emergency Fund
      MISCELLANEOUS:
      Toiletries, Household Products
      Gifts/Donations
      Grooming (Hair, Make-up, Other)
      Miscellaneous Expense
      Total Investments and Expenses
      Surplus/Shortage (Spendable income

  29. QUESTION:
    Claim denied by Insurance?
    Had Builder's Risk Insurance, this insurance is for construction of residential house, the foundation wall collapsed during 3rd day, the foundation wall was not build as per plan, i had to sue builder, architect and surveyor. my insurance company denied the calim. i though they will pay to repair or rebuild and then recover or sue my builder. they also denied to pay me rent even though i had loss of use of property coverage. any way i can collect the claim to rebuild, repair foundation wall or rent i pay till the wall is fixed.

    • ANSWER:
      A builders risk endorsement on a policy is for theft of building materials, only. If the house was to be done in about 6 months, you could have purchased a regular homeowners policy (if it was intended to be your primary home) and added the endorsement. Faulty construction is NEVER covered by any property policy. It is an exclusion in the policy. You have to contact the commercial policy, hopefully you obtained certificates of GL & WC from the contractors (ALL of them working on the house) so you know who the insurance company is. It is also possible they deny coverage for faulty workmanship because a GL generally is for accidental damage (for example - a piece of construction equipment catches on fire & burns down your half done house, or a ladder falls & breaks your brand new custom window). You cannot collect loss of use on a house that is not built yet. You are not living in it, therefore not using it. You would have to pay rent if the collapse didn't happen. There is no loss of use to cover.
      NO construction I know takes the exact amount of time stated by the contractor and I am sure there is a clause in the contract you signed that has to do with this. Things happen, weather happens, emergencies happen with other customers of the contractors. If you are only 3 days behind now, consider yourself lucky.

  30. QUESTION:
    A tree roots broke into my sewer line. Should HOA pay for it?
    A tree roots broke into my sewer line. I hired a plumber to snake it. He did a camera inspection afterwards and found that my PVC pipe is broken between my house and the city line.

    I live in Florida, in a community with HOA and they are responsible for all outside maintenance including tree trimming, etc. I cannot even dig on my own lot in front of the house without their permission.

    I'm going to open a claim with my homeowner insurance - Citizens, but even if they cover it, I still need to pay a deductible.

    So I guess my questions are:

    Who is responsible for a repair - HOA or me?
    If I'm liable for a repair, should I ask my HOA to knock down the tree to prevent future breakage?
    If Citizens will pay for it, can HOA reimburse my deductible?
    HOA agreement contains nothing about sewer... Like this problem never happens…

    • ANSWER:
      To read your HOA contract is a first step. But I doubt they will pay. I have had a very similar situation and learned that HOA will not pay to fix your sewer line. I assume their contracts are sort of standard and made to make you responsible for everything and them for none (or almost none).
      Your home owner insurance may not pay for this either, if the root is outside the foundation of your house. They would cover water damage to your house from sewer blockage but not for fixing it. But again read your contracts! If you will get it covered by HOA or insurance share with us at http://www.joetheplumbernet.com
      Most likely you are on your own.
      You could probably ask to remove the tree, but are you sure which one to blame? Root can go big distance. And if the line was not leaky roots would not grow into it.

  31. QUESTION:
    Insurance doesn't want to help me with damaged garage?
    I have an old 12 X 18 foot garage in my backyard. its not fancy but it does the job. some crazy lady comes crashing in though my fence and into the side of it taking down the whole wall. I have home insurance that covers outside dwellings for up too 10,600. the adjuster came out and told me that they'd have too tear it down because it doesn't have a foundation its built on dirt. and they'd build a real basic garage same thing 12 X 18. so i was pretty excited for awhile. but now my insurance is telling me that to repair it will cost 1300. so their probably going to send me a check. i told them i don't want a check just fix the thing. and they tell me they cant because its too expensive to build a new one and if a contractor comes out too fix it, he would be forced to bring it up too code and its just impossible to do that with my garage's current condition. So im panicking it looks like im screwed, and im going into state farm tomorrow to see what they can do. he said hed look over some options. is there any advice anyone can give me? I just want a garage that won't fall on my head because right now its dangerous with the wall being gone!

    • ANSWER:
      Insurance isn't a contractor. They give you the money, you hire the contractor to fix it.

      They're not going to UPGRADE your garage. They're only on the hook to FIX it back to the way it was. Unless you have "building ordinance or law" coverage on your homeowners policy, you're only going to get cost to repair the damage.

      Even Crazy Lady's insurance, doesn't have to pay for a brand new garage complete with upgrades - just the LESSER OF the cost to fix the hole, or what it was worth.

  32. QUESTION:
    Will home insurance cover structural damage?
    I've been in my home for 2 years almost now and I do have insurance. I am buying via contract for deed, that is serviced like a mortgage because both me and the original owner have broker/real estate experience, About 6 months after I moved in I was informed that the home (a modular on slab foundation) had been dropped when it was moved on the property by several of my neighbors, I confronted the seller and she admitted it, but my insurance company had inspected it and ok'd the insurance. The seller had said the house had been gutted and ribs had been repaired and so forth at the time of admitting the house had been dropped! however, in the last 3 months the doors have been sagging to the left leaving gaps, windows have been sliding open and the floors seperating, I had set about adjusting the floors and had to move out a counter to do so, what I found was unpainted wood panel from the 80's where they had painted around the counters, suggesting the house HAD not been gutted! none the less, I went on holiday in oregon and when I came home I was in my office and heard what sounded like metal sagging, I cant describe the sound better then that, had a friend come look and he believes part of structure is cracked and sagging and ribs are broken, will my insurance cover this type of damage? They ok'd the home when they inspected it.

    • ANSWER:
      They didn't "ok" your property, they reviewed it (externally only) for potential issues. Their report would not have been nearly as comprehensive as a home inspection.

      Your insurance will not cover this situation. This is a combination of improper installation and/or manufacturing defect; neither of these issues is covered by homeowners insurance.

      Many insurance companies will not write insurance on modular homes for a variety of reasons.

  33. QUESTION:
    Does my homeowners policy cover damage to my property due to a broken underground drainage culvert?
    An underground drainage culvert running underneath my property has rusted out and collapsed. Because of this condition, street surface water drainage is bypassing the culvert and has opened an underground stream. As this stream continues run, it has created a large sink hole in front of my home. The damage so far, includes a collapsed retaining wall, a sunken asphalt driveway, falling trees and other landscaping structures. The soil around my home is saturated causing my house foundation to settle. Some interior damage such as drywall cracks and window cracking has occurred. With winter approaching I will certainly experience additional damage. My Farmers Insurance adjuster (Help Point) told me this damage was not covered and has denied my claim. In reading my policy, I believe that some if not all of the damage is covered. This includes trees, shrubs and what is called 'additional structures' I'm assuming this would include the damage to my driveway, retaining walls and other landscaping improvements. What options are available to me? Should I choose to litigate in small claims court? Is there arbitration options open to me? I am a general contractor and can perform all of the repairs. I can do the repairs for about six thousand dollars out of pocket for material and labor. Using local contractors I could expect repair cost to exceed nine thousand dollars. My deductible is twenty five hundred dollars. Are there any precedents for this type of loss? What should be my course of action?

    • ANSWER:
      How long has this condition been going on?

      Most policies do not cover damage that happens over a period of weeks/months/years. This is one possible cause of denial.

      Additionally, sink holes/earth movement are not covered unless you have specifically endorsed this coverage. In the Section I -Exclusions...you may see language similar to this (your policy wording may not be exactly the same):

      "We do not insure for loss caused directly or indirectly by any of the following. Such loss is excluded regardless of any other cause or event contributing concurrently or in any sequence to the loss. These exclusions apply whether or not the loss event results in widespread damage or affects a substantial area." 2. Earth Movement. "Earth Movement Means: a. earthquake, including land shock waves or tremors before, during or after volcanic eruption; b. Landslide, mudslide or mudflow; c. Subsidence or sinkhole; or d. any other earth movement including earth sinking, rising or shifting caused by or resulting from human or animal forces or any act of nature unless direct loss by fire or explosion an then we will pay only for the ensuing loss"

      This same section also excludes water damage. In the copy of the HO3 I have, this is number 6. It says that water damage means: b water or water borne material which backs up through sewers or drains or which overflows or is discharged from a sump, sump pump or related equipment; or c. Water or water borne material below the surface of the ground, including water which exerts pressure on or seeps or leaks through a building, sidewalk, driveway, foundation, swimming pool or other structure; caused by or resulting from human or animal forces or any act of nature."

      Trees/shrubs are covered as an Additional Coverage- but only for limited causes: such as getting hit by lighting or a vehicle, explosion, aircraft, theft. This has a max of 0 for any one tree/shrub. Damage caused by earth movement is not one of the covered perils.

      Foundation settling is specifically excluded as well. Again, your policy language may be different but should have language similar to this under Section 1- Perils Insured Against. 1. We insure against risk of direct physical loss to property described in Coverages A and B. 2. We do not insure, however, for loss"....6 F "Settling, shrinking, building or expansion, including resultant cracking of bulkheads, pavements, patios, footings, foundations, walls, floors, roofs or ceilings".

      Since the cause of the loss - the earth movement is not covered none of the resulting damages are covered. Both Coverage A and B (additional structures) are excluded from coverage for damage by earth movement.

      You can litigate. But you'll probably lose. If you are insured on an HO3 and don't have the appropriate earth movement/sink hole coverage endorsements...it's not covered. I'm sorry that you are having to deal with this...but this loss in not covered by the HO3.

      You may want to contact the city (or whom ever owned the under ground drain) and see if they would accept any responsibility for any of the damages. I can't tell you if they will or not. But it's probably worth a phone call.

  34. QUESTION:
    If your house burns down and its mortgaged, what does your house insurance cover?
    If your home burns down, but you have a mortgage on it, does the insurance company pay your mortgage off and give you enough money to rebuild or at least downgrade to something. There are sooo many mixed answers on this, some say that the insurance just pays the mortgage and leaves you with nothing else, while others say they pay to rebuild and don't pay the mortgage and others say you get what is listed in your insurance papers for your dwelling and can do what you want with it, along with money for personal property, then some say they pay the mortgage and give you whats left......like what the hell? I am so confused, can somebody please give me a straight answer. I'm NOT burning my house, I know somebody who is wondering about this, they are in a horrible situation and need clarification, so can somebody please help me, thank you.

    • ANSWER:
      Assuming the policy is a "replacement cost" policy, most insurance policies cover the lesser of:

      1) Cost to repair/replace the house
      or
      2) The "Coverage A" policy limit. (Building Coverage)

      When a person purchases a homeowners policy, they purchase a policy for a certain dollar amount. (i.e. someone buys a brand new 0,000 house, the home is usually covered for 0,000 - 5,000 depending on the area) This dollar amount is called the replacement cost. Don't get this confused with "market value." Replacement cost and market value are two different things. Market value is the value of the home whereas replacement cost is the cost it would take to rebuild the home brand new.

      Let's use your example.... A person owns a house (they have a mortgage on the home as well). They bought the house for 0,000 with 100% financing. At the time they bought the house, they spoke with their agent and the agent determined the house has a replacement cost of 5,000. A year later the house burns to the ground and there is nothing left.

      At the time the house burned to the ground, they owed 0,000 on the mortgage.

      After an adjuster visits the home, the insurance company determines it will cost 5,000 to rebuild the home from ground up due to extensive foundation damage. The insurance company decides to "total" the house and write a check for the "Dwelling Coverage Policy Limit." Since the home was written with a replacement cost of 5,000, the insurance company writes a check payable to the bank and you for 5,000. The bank takes 0,000 and you get ,000.

      In other words, it all depends on the mortgage amount and how much coverage is carried under the homeowners policy. The dwelling coverage limit is the maximum the insurance company will have to pay in the event of a loss (assuming there are no other endorsements to the policy). Hope this helps.

  35. QUESTION:
    how much to break up concrete pad, excavate, and replace broken kitchen drain pipe causing basement leak?
    we just bought a new house and about a month after moving in started to get water in the laundry room. it had been raining a lot and there was a broken gutter nearby so i figured no big deal. but water was still coming in 2 weeks later without rain, so that was our first clue something else was going on. a plumber came by this afternoon and figured out that the kitchen drainage pipe was broken behind the foundation wall and the leaking water had saturated the soil, and was the source of the foundation wall leak. to fix it they need to break up the concrete pad in the family room and dig down to the pipe and replace however much is bad. he told me that it would be several thousand dollars. he seemed to be honest and quite competent, but i don't really know much about him and we wanted to know what others thought about how much something like this should cost...
    he indicated the size they would be breaking up was maybe 6 feet by 4 feet. he said that they would do it like this: 1) create work area in familiy room corner next to kitchen with plastic and tape and then remove trim and peel back carpet; 2) break up section of pad with jackhammer; 3) excavate down to pipe, cut the bad section out close to foundation exterior wall and then pull through the part coming down from kitchen and leading out (no messing with foundation); 4) camera section leading to main stack to ensure ok and if not reline; 5) replace section cutout earlier; 6) backfill; 7) lay new concrete where excavated. we would have to put carpet and trim back after concrete hardens. he said there would be a 3 year warranty on the work and a crew of 3 guys would work on it for a solid day.
    i called our insurance company this morning and they said they don't cover it because there was no damage to the interior of the house. our agent said that if some furniture or something was damaged we could make a claim, but since the water just ran down the drain, there was no claim.

    • ANSWER:
      Consider this. He has to jackhammer out the concrete slab, dig down to find the pipe, and determine how much pipe needs to be replaced. He has to replace pipe, back fill the hole, pour a new section of slab, and dispose of the old pipe and concrete.
      Of course it can cost several thousand, depending on how much he has to remove and repair, but it can also cost as little as a thousand.
      The good news is that your homeowners insurance should cover at least part of this repair, depending on your deductible.

      Additional answer.
      Don't insurance companies stink?

  36. QUESTION:
    Brick ranch, on slab with probable galvanized plumbing. Should I stay away from it?
    I have a chance to buy a beautiful large brick ranch here in Ohio that was built in 1954. It is on a slab and probably has galvanized plumbing. Areas of pipe that are exposed, such as around the water heater, have all been updated to copper. But in the slab I imagine it may still be galvanized going to each of the 2.5 baths and kitchen and outside water bibs. One advantage is that for about the past twenty years, the source that supplies water to the town softens it. And as I undertstand it that may help in reducing deterioration of the galvanized line. Someone has advised me that the galvanized that is buried in the foundation should not be a problem.

    It is a great home and a super upscale neighborhood. I wouldn't mind a rare break down the road. But would hate to have to reroute all the lines with pex up through the attic and down to each water source.

    Thanks, in adavnce for any and all help.

    Cheers,
    Steve/OHIO

    • ANSWER:
      I would check with your future homeowners Insurance agent and see if this would be covered should it fail. I would also ask seller for some price reduction (if possible) to defray this repair cost since it was built in 1954.
      I am a general contractor and use all licensed plumbers. we came across a similar situation in Indiana. Buyer purchase older home, but was going to replace all carpet and floor coverings anyway. Our plumber went in and sawcut existing concrete floor about ( 120' Lineal) total, took out concrete and ran Pex. About ,000. He compacted new sand around pex, and poured a 4" cap of concrete. We used a company that specializes in cutting concrete. They used an air compressor with a air saw- diamond blade.
      Next door in Indiana - Good Luck

  37. QUESTION:
    Floor damaged by water heater... What do I do?
    My water heater is leaking, and I didn't know until I went into the garage and there was a puddle coming from under the baseboard... The water heater is in the kitchen, which backs up to the garage. Looking around it, I notice that the floor all around the water heater is damp, including the baseboard. We have just plain old cheap linoleum covering the floor.

    What is the next step that I need to take to get this fixed? What kind of business would I call to see how badly damaged the floors are? It is on a slab foundation. I am going to get a plumber to come look at the water heater, but what can I do today to be proactive and stop any further damage to the floors? Is this something that insurance generally covers?

    I am also noticing an earthy smell, which I am afraid may be mold. Any good fixes to get the smell out?

    I know that there are a million questions here, but I am a bit nervous and want to get it fixed as quickly and cheaply as possible. Thanks for any help!

    • ANSWER:
      That happened to us, so I contacted a company that repair and puts in floors and they removed everything down to the floor boards. They even replaced a few of the floor boards too. I also had mold on the walls, so it had to be painted too. Luckly the sheet rock did not have to be replaced. Anyway I had this problem in 1 bedroom, a closet and the ajoining bathroom. Don't forget to call your homeowners insurance too. This is one time when you will need them also.

  38. QUESTION:
    Do I need title company, escrow officer and more to buy a almost shell home?
    Im far from buying a move in condition home , so I decided to buy a home that needs repairs my bf know about construction, but we are 0 when it comes what to do and know to get a homes that is listed AS IS condition, the asking price is 23.000 it needs 10-15 ti live in, foundation was ok floors ok , electricity and more others things needs to be replace, im ok with this. Now I found this almost shell through a wholesale investor, but its also listed with a real state agent, I don't know if I should try to contact the agent or stay with his investor,Do I need or can I get my own title company? do I really need it? how to know how clear this home title is? the guys that is selling this says He will take care of everything, but I just want to be 100% sure I wont made a mistake , since will be cash and as is condition. any info that I should know, I know Im not talking about a mansion, but this is all my savings.
    will the agent who is selling this will represent me, or I need to get a buyer agent on my own? can a title company handle everything?.

    • ANSWER:
      When you buy a property you want to be sure you have the right to resell it some day and get your money. A title insurance policy protects that right. It will make sure that you own the house without any liens or "clouds" on the title and you do not have to defend that clear title because it will be the title company that defends it.

      I would not pour my entire life savings into something without that assurance.

      You should also find a separate agent to represent you in this transaction. They will share in the commission that the seller is already legally obligated to pay so it is no extra expense and you get representation.

      If you are confident in the condition of the house and know you will not have any surprises that will change your mind about things at all then I would not get an inspection- but I did get one in a very similar situation. The outcome of the inspection did not change the contract at all but it did change my plans on what stuff needed to be done first.

      I would also get some sort of homeowners insurnace. That will cover you if anyone gets hurt on your property and sues you. It will also cover you later if the property is damaged by fire or whatever.

  39. QUESTION:
    Which home repair would you focus on first? Limited funds?
    We bought our house 1 year ago and made a huge list of things we'd like to fix/upgrade. Hahaha... now we're trying to decide which 1-2 of these things we can feasibly do in the next couple years.

    1. Slight water drainage problem in basement (there is a system in place but it leaks when too much water flows at one time - heavy rain, etc.)
    2. Replace old and semi warped (wood that got wet while windows were open during the rain) windows
    3. Replace large picture bay window that has a crack through the middle of it (estimate 00)
    4. High radon levels in basement
    5. Roof is 10-12 years old, do we need a new one anytime soon?
    6. Redo out of date and dingy looking bathtub with tile walls. Rather have a 1 piece insert without tile.

    So that makes my house sound terrible, which it really isn't... great neighborhood, spacious rooms, great sunlight and big front porch. Big yard, near school, etc. Haha... thanks!
    House was built in '74 and I think the bathroom and windows are original.

    • ANSWER:
      OK, most likely, your roof is fine, and as much as I'd LOVE a new bathroom myself, that has to be low on the priority list.

      Now, the water in the basement is a BIG deal, because that can actually damage your foundation. You can't let that go, it has to be your priority. HOWEVER. Most problems, to fix wet basements, are CHEAP, DIY kinda fixes. Here's one link: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/809727/diy_how_to_fix_a_wet_leaky_basement.html But it doesn't emphasize, looking at the outside of the foundation of your house. If you build up dirt, against the side of the house on all four sides, SLOPING AWAY from the house, water can't run in very easily at all. That, and cleaning/installing gutters that divert water WELL away from the foundation of the house, will solve most problems pretty cheaply.

      Now, that radon in the basement - that's pretty unusual. I guess that means your basement/house are pretty well sealed? And it must be a brick house, or a brick foundation? Gotta find a way to circulate air, to get rid of that radon.

      But for money, you probably whould replace those windows. That would be the large ticket item that needs to get done. The good news? If you're at ALL handy, Home Depot will have classes and teach you how to do the labor yourself, which is MOST of the cost of window replacement.

      That bay window, depending on what caused the crack, might be covered under your homeowners insurance. Still, if it were me, I'd be looking at cheaper ways than a one piece of glass situation.

are foundation repairs covered by homeowners insurance

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