Costly Home Repairs

10 Costly Home Repairs Your Insurance Might Not Cover

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Costly Home Repairs


Homeownership is a goal for many, but the pride that comes with having your own place can be costly, especially when an unexpected problem rears its ugly head. Unfortunately, some home calamities can be extremely expensive to remedy, and many homeowners are surprised to find out that home insurance often won't help cushion the blow. Here are 10 of the costliest fixes your home might need, what you might expect to pay, and whether a typical home insurance policy might kick in any help.



Removing this carcinogen, often found in the insulation of older homes, can run up to $30,000 for a 1,500-square-foot home with a lot of asbestos, according to HouseLogic. A smaller area will still pack a painful financial punch: Fixr puts the per-hour cost of removal between $200 and $400. Emily Long of SafeWise cautions that asbestos inspections also aren't cheap, but worth the investment. Expect to spend between $600 and $1,000 pre- and post-removal, she says.
Is It Covered? Though policies vary by company, location, and other factors, home insurance probably won't cover asbestos removal, says Charlotte Burr of AZ Insurance Team, an independent insurance agency based in Tempe, Arizona. There's a chance of some coverage if asbestos is found during cleanup stemming from an issue specifically covered by the policy, such as storm damage. Even then, some policies exclude asbestos, Burr says.



How much you'll pay for professional mold remediation and removal varies dramatically depending on the scope of the infestation, according to HouseLogic: You could spend $500 to $4,000 to remove this allergen from a crawlspace, $2,000 to $6,000 if it's also in ducts, walls, and the attic, and even $10,000 to $30,000 if there is related structural damage.
Is It Covered? "Normally, mold removal will only be covered (and usually only to a certain limit) if the cause of the mold is due to a covered water claim -- it has to be a direct correlation," Burr says. "If it's not clear that this mold came from this covered water damage claim, it probably won't be covered."

Wet Basement


Got water in your basement? First, dry things out as much as possible, recommends Evan Roberts of Dependable Homebuyers in Baltimore. Doing so "can save you hundreds in potential mold remediation down the line," he says. Once things are dry, long-term solutions include underground gutter extensions to keep water away from your foundation (about $400 each), he says. Homeowners may also have to re-grade the soil around their house to ensure rain flows away from the foundation ($1,200-$2,400), use a masonry waterproofer on unfinished walls ($1,500), or install an interior drain system ($4,500-$6,000), he adds.
Is It Covered? Insurers will want to know how the water got in your house. "This one is tough because you have to look at the cause and source of the water -- is it flood (which is never covered on homeowners insurance), is it water damage or is it sewer/water backup?" Burr says. "Water damage is a peril that is covered on most normal homeowners policies up to the dwelling limit."

Termite Damage


Long says yearly termite inspections, typically anywhere from $75 to $150, are crucial to avoid spending big to get rid of termites. How big? It depends on how widespread the infestation and the type of treatment, but a company may charge around $1,500 for a liquid termiticide for a 2,500-square-foot house, according to Fixr. Fumigation, which involves tenting the house, requires family members to move out for a few days, and may cost around $5,000 for the same size house.
Is It Covered? Normally not, Burr says. Termites are considered an issue that should be addressed through routine home maintenance – not an insurance fix.

Leaking HVAC in Attic


Homeowners may see mysterious wet spots on their ceiling and think they have a roof leak, when they actually have another costly issue: A leaking HVAC unit in the attic. Travis Knight, owner of Beach Cities Mechanical in Los Angeles, says issues like clogged drain lines "can almost always be attributed to neglect" of routine maintenance. A truly neglected unit and related damage may cost up to $10,000 to fix, he warns. Installing central air without dealing with other damage still averages a painful $5,300, according to HomeAdvisor.
Is It Covered? "It depends if the leaking is from lack of maintenance or Mother Nature," Burr says -- if it's the former, you're likely out of luck.

Septic Tank Backup
Jo Ann Snover/shutterstock


One of the most unsavory unexpected tasks a homeowner can face? Sewage cleanup from a sewer-line backup. Cleanup might cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 depending on the size of the space and severity of the backup, according to HouseLogic. Clearing a clogged line will tack on at least $150 to $300 more, and replacing a septic tank may run several thousand dollars.
Is It Covered? This is a similar situation to the wet-basement scenario, Burr says. In other words, unless a situation specifically covered in your policy led to the backup, home insurance likely won't pay.

Foundation Cracks


Notice a new crack in the wall or floor? Every home settles as it ages, but sometimes this natural process can lead to major structural damage to the foundation. Fixing a minor crack could run as little as $500, while a major repair that involves hydraulic piers could cost $10,000 or more, according to HomeAdvisor. Unfortunately, merely getting an inspection to determine the scope of your issue can cost at $500 to $700, according to HouseLogic.

Is It Covered? Like termites, foundation problems generally fall under the umbrella of home maintenance, and Burr confirms they usually won't be covered. But if a foundation is damaged from a covered situation like a tornado, then it might be covered, notes Esurance.

Storm Damage
J. Bicking/shutterstock


All it takes is one good thunderstorm for Mother Nature to send a tree crashing through your roof, fraying your nerves and forcing your family out of the house for days. It can cost between $2,000 and $8,000 to repair a damaged roof or walls, remove a fallen tree, and perform any other needed structural repairs, estimates Fixr.

Is It Covered? This one is a resounding yes, Burr says. "It's always covered, up to a certain limit specified in your policy, less your deductible," she says. But don't expect your policy to pay for the removal a downed tree that didn't cause any damage, Allstate cautions.

Burst Pipes
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A burst pipe can be relatively cheap to fix -- up to $250 in an easily accessible space, according to CostHelper. But calling in a plumber on an emergency basis will cost more, and pipes in hard-to-get spots can top $1,000. If a burst pipe causes a lot of water damage, though, that's where the real financial pain comes. A typical range for these cleanups is between about $1,000 and $4,000, according to HomeAdvisor.
Is It Covered? Somewhat, Burr says. "This one is always confusing to people. The damage that the broken pipe caused with water is covered, but the pipe itself is not covered."

Fire and Smoke Damage


Here's a really big ouch -- HomeAdvisor members say a typical range for cleaning a fire- and smoke-damaged home is anywhere from about $2,500 to $16,000. That can include a range of fixes, including drying out wet items, removing soot, deodorizing furniture and other textiles, and neutralizing smoke odors.
Is It Covered? In the case of fire, it should be, Burr says. But warns that anyone whose house sits vacant for part of the year may need a special endorsement to get coverage.