A home is widely regarded as one of human’s greatest lifetime investments. One of the most beautiful parts of such an investment is the floors. Floors can make the interior decor of a house look so much better. Just take a look at a beautiful and minimalistic floor design like the one below:
That looks good, doesn’t it? Well, it could be quite a disturbing problem if the floor of your house starts sagging. A saggy floor could disfigure the aesthetics of your home and make it unpleasant to look at. It could also feel unsafe and creaky to walk on.
Therefore, repairing the floor is a matter of utmost priority. However, the repair could cost up to $10,000, depending on the severity of the cause. This is a hefty amount you don’t want to pay out-of-pocket. Therefore, you want to know if your home insurance provider can pay for the bills. Well, this article will explain all you need to know about your homeowners insurance covering the repair of your saggy floor.
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What Causes Sagging of Floors?
Knowing the possible cause of your sagging floors would help you make a rough estimate of the cost of repair. Knowing the cause will also help in determining if your home insurance will cover the bill or not. Here are a few of the common causes of sagging floors:
Insects are one of the most popular culprits of sagging floors. Two common species of insects that eat wood include beetles and termites. They come in hordes, and they keep gnawing at the wooden flooring system. This affects the structural integrity of the house, hence causing the floors to sag.
Water is another common cause of sagging floors. Due to the parts of the foundation being wooden (joists and beams), water tends to have a destructive effect if it finds its way down there. The joists and beams are the actual structures supporting the floor of your house. Hence, if water starts wetting the wood, the wood gets weaker and the floors sag.
However, you should know that even water vapor from the air can also degrade the wooden structural system of your house. This is because wood can easily absorb water vapor, leading to its decay. However, this occurs at a much slower rate than actual water.
Sometimes, the sagging of floors isn’t due to any external factor affecting the structural system. It could be the house just deteriorating due to years of existence. Many houses built decades ago were built using standards that have since been reviewed to fit current environmental conditions.
For example, some materials builders used to build structures in the past have changed. Shims that are important support structures in houses should be made of metals. However, if they’re made of wood, this exposes them to decay over time. This could also cause sagging of floors.
Types of Homeowners Insurance And What They Cover
After knowing the cause of your sagging floor, understanding the type of homeowners insurance will help determine the type of coverage you can get to fix your sagging floor. Before we explain the different types of homeowners insurance, you need to know the three levels of coverage any homeowners insurance can cover. They are:
1. Actual Cash Value
This type of coverage only provides you a reimbursement worth the actual cost of the house and belongings lost to the mishap. However, it factors in depreciation. This means you only get paid the amount your house and belongings are worth currently.
2. Replacement Cost
This level of coverage does exactly the same as the actual cash value coverage. The only difference is that it doesn’t take depreciation into consideration. This way, you get the amount your house and belongings were worth when you bought them.
3. Extended Replacement Cost
This is the complete form of coverage. It provides you with the amount it would require to repair your home completely. It will even pay you above the limit of the insurance plan you’re on. However, there’s a maximum amount they can pay. This is usually 20 – 25% above your insurance limit.
It is advisable to purchase the extended replacement plan as this ensures you receive reimbursement for your belongings at their current market value. Hence, this reduces the amount you pay out-of-pocket to the barest minimum.
There are eight types of homeowner’s insurance
HO-1 (Basic Form Homeowners Insurance)
This is known as the basic form of homeowners insurance. It offers the lowest amount of coverage of all homeowners insurance. It provides actual cash value for your home and personal belongings (the latter might not be included). It provides coverage for damages caused by mostly natural disasters such as volcano eruptions, windstorms or hail, and fire or lightning.
It also covers events such as explosions, vehicles or aircrafts crashing into your home, theft, riots, and vandalism. Due to its low amount of coverage, this plan is mostly extinct.
HO-2 (Broad Form Homeowners Insurance)
This is a broader form of the HO-1 insurance plan. It offers a replacement cost coverage for your belongings
It basically covers everything an HO-1 plan covers and some other damages, such as those caused by ice or snow damaging your home, damage from a power surge, and an accidental leak of water or steam. It could also cover some other damages depending on the company you’re insuring with.
HO-3 (Special Form Homeowners Insurance)
This is a best-seller among most homeowners. It offers a combination of both replacement cost and actual cash value coverage. It values your home with the replacement cost coverage and your belongings with the actual cash value. It provides coverage for any type of damage except those excluded in the insurance policy. Some damage causes commonly excluded include landslides, wars, earthquakes, sinkholes, etc.
HO-4 (Renters Insurance)
This plan is suited to those who are renting or leasing a home. It covers their personal property at the replacement cost coverage level. The plan also covers their living expenses if their rented house gets damaged. However, it does not cover any liabilities they incur in the house’s damages.
HO-5 (Comprehensive Homeowners Insurance)
An HO-5 is quite similar to an HO-3; however, it has additional coverage limits. For example, it covers both your home and belongings at the replacement value coverage level. Also, it provides a higher coverage limit for high-value properties such as jewels.
HO-6 (Condo Owners Insurance)
This insurance plan is meant for those who live in a condo or co-op building. It basically covers whatever the Homeowners Association (HOA) insurance does not cover. This usually includes personal property, renovations or remodeling your condo unit, etc. However, this insurance is only meant for those who own the condo unit. If you’re renting it, an HO-4 insurance plan is more suitable.
HO-7 (Mobile Home Policy)
Mobile home insurance is basically an HO-3 insurance plan for mobile homes. The reason why it isn’t grouped with the HO-3 is that mobile homes are excluded from HO-3 plans. It covers a wide variety of mobile homes, including modular homes, trailers, etc.
HO-8 (Modified Coverage Insurance)
This form of homeowners insurance is meant for houses with a high chance of getting damaged. It also covers houses that have a higher replacement cost compared to the actual cash value. It is similar to an HO-1 insurance plan. This is because it provides actual cash value coverage. Also, it covers the same damage causes, just like an HO-1. If you live in an old home, this plan is more appropriate.
Knowing these plans will help you know which is more suitable for the kind of house you live in and can cover your sagging floor repair.
Will Homeowners Insurance Cover Sagging Floors?
This question cannot be answered directly with a “yes or no.” This is because you have to factor in the type of insurance plan you’re on, the amount of coverage it offers, and the cause of the sagging floor. For example, if you’re on the HO-1 plan and termites are the cause of your sagging floor, your insurance plan won’t cover that.
Hence, it is advisable to thoroughly go through the terms and conditions of any insurance plan you’re buying. You could also get a financial advisor to help with your decision. This way, you can make informed decisions on the most suitable plan for your home.