Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Structural DamageWith “all risk” home insurance policies, hidden structural damage in a home should be covered by homeowners insurance.

You will be expected to provide your insurance company with reports on the damage, and to help protect the home from further damage—including making any necessary repairs and keeping maintenance up-to-date.

If your agent thinks you are providing poor maintenance then that could affect your policy’s rate or whether it is renewed.

It is up to you to be honest, up-front, and in contact with your insurance company. Your company may want to know from what event the damage may have occurred.

If you have an all risk policy, then you should be guaranteed coverage for any hidden structural damage you may discover. Read on to learn more detail about hidden structural damages and home insurance coverage and then enter your zip above to compare free homeowners insurance quotes!

Causes of Hidden Structural Damage

Hidden structural damage can often be caused by disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, and floods, as well as termite or other pest infestations. This damage is called “hidden” because, sometimes, it won’t become apparent until months—or sometimes years—after the damage is done.

If there is visible structural damage being addressed in rebuilding, sometimes it is only in the middle of fixing those issues that the hidden damage shows itself. Hidden structural damage can make your home very unsafe. In addition, these hidden damages can mean an enormous increase in the final cost of repairs, sometimes doubling or even tripling (or more!) the original estimate for repairs.

One of the most common causes of structural damage is due to termites. Read the article about termite damage and home insurance to learn about what is and is not covered when it comes to termite damage.

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Health Risks

Deep, structural, water damage in particular—after a hurricane or flood, for example—can take a very long time to really make itself apparent, and can cause some of the worst damage that is the most difficult to deal with.

You can notice surface mold and mildew, and take steps to get rid of it with bleach or other topical cleaners, but it is possible to have intense mold and mildew problems that are taking root in the foundation of your home that you may not immediately be aware of. This can post incredible health risks on top of the damage it can do to your house.

If you begin to notice musky smells in your house after a flood, you will want to take action right away, because this could likely be the indication of a major mold or mildew problem.

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Water Damage

Water can also cause damage to your roof that you may not notice for a while. Often you won’t find it unless you know where to look for it. Water can get under the roof tiles, and begin a slow, yet relentless, process of causing damage to your home.

This might cause leaks that you will not be able to see without knowing where to look (you may be able to spot these in attic crawl spaces). Again, you will want to contact experts who can make a thorough investigation of your home and any possible damages.

Water and wind combined can also cause damage to the structure or foundation of your home. These damages will make themselves apparent by slowly showing up as cracks over time. Often original weak construction develops into severe structural problems and damages; consider the Leaning Tower of Pisa, whose foundation was poorly laid. (Who wants their home compared to that?)

These problems can be fixed, but they can also be costly, especially if some of these problems become clear when you are in the middle of repairs. Take any cracks you may find seriously, as they could be indicators of serious problems.

Water can also cause hidden structural damage to the trees on your property (which, as you know, can go on to cause damage to your home) but, unfortunately, damage to trees is not often covered in home insurance policies. This varies from state to state, so you might want to look into what your state’s specific policy on tree damage is.

The Importance of Estimates and Inspections

To make sure that you get everything you need covered, do not be afraid to get estimates once you believe you may have hidden structural damage. In fact, you should make it your main priority to get in-depth inspections and estimates.

Get estimates from contractors who are not connected with your insurance company—you may end up with a very low estimate and a settlement that does not actually cover the damages. Find local, independent and well-reviewed contractors who carry their own insurance. They will expect you to pay them for coming and viewing your property and estimating the damages.

You should be happy and willing to pay them; their expert opinion will help you make your claim and get the settlement you deserve. Regardless of your situation be sure to enter your zip code in now for free home insurance rates – see how much money you can save!