You will need extra home insurance coverage if you live in disaster-prone areas because while policies in home insurance are sometimes known as all-risk policies, they don’t always cover all the damages that may happen to your home. One of the excluded risks on most home insurance policies are earthquakes, which is covered by a different insurance policy called earth movement. It’s called earth movement because it doesn’t just cover damages caused by earthquakes, it covers a much broader type of earth movement and shifting issues.
Even an extra coverage excludes coverage for these kinds of issues under certain circumstances, that’s why getting earth movement insurance is also important for you to consider.
Standard Home Insurance Excludes Earth Movement Coverage
The definition of excluded earth movement in the standard homeowners insurance policy includes shifting, expanding, rising, contracting, and sinking of earth, which can be combined with water or not. Earth movement insurance doesn’t just cover seismic activities and earthquakes. If you think that it’s just about earthquakes, then you’re missing some important exclusions. Here are the earth movement insurance exclusions and its definition:
- Rising – If the soil under your home bulges, heaves, or rises, it will cause damage to the house and its foundation. Too much water in the soil can cause it to expand.
- Expanding – This is included as an additional exclusion since rising earth isn’t broad enough. They are similar to each other; however, the dismissal of the policy exclusion leaves uncertainty of its intent to exclude damages of earth movement.
- Shifting – This covers the potential lateral movements that will also cause massive damages to your home.
- Contracting -Similar to earth contracting; however, this seeks to broaden its exclusions which allows no room for potential coverage.
- Sinking – It is called sinking if the ground under your home settles and can result to erosion due to poor compaction or water when your home was built.
Excluded earth movement includes each direction where the earth can move and cause damage, which is not covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. Earth movement also excludes other phenomenons, such as sinkhole, subsidence, landslide, earthquake, erosion, movement that results from improper compaction, mudflow, site selection, and others. As an addition, it also excludes earth movement resulting from lava flow or volcanic explosions.
However, there are exceptions and one of those is that when an earth movement happened and it caused a fire on your home, you’re covered. For instance, if a mudslide caused your home to move several inches and caused a fire because of a gas line, the loss of your home will be covered because of fire. But, if the movement results in shifted or cracked foundation, those damages will not be covered because the foundation isn’t a loss resulting to fire.
To avoid a lot of exclusions, you can purchase earth movement insurance in addition to your home insurance policy. If you’re residing in California, you are prone to particular kinds of earth movement, which is why insurance companies are required to offer earthquake insurance coverage in this state.
There is limited insurance coverage available for earth movement and it’s an inescapable risk that faces all homeowners. Before thinking about what is covered and what isn’t, read your policy carefully. Ask your insurance company about buying back some of the excluded coverages if you are concerned about insufficient coverage.