Does Home Insurance Cover Cracks in Walls?

Does Home Insurance Cover Cracks in My Wall – Inside or Out?

Caeva O'Callaghan | April 30th, 2020

If a crack appears in your wall, it can be worrying. However, not all cases need to involve your home insurance. Read more to get the lowdown on exterior and interior wall cracking.

In most cases yes, your home insurance will cover cracks in interior and exterior walls. As with most things to do with insurance, it all depends on the underlying cause.

Cracks in the fabric of your house are most often caused by subsidence or ground heave. However, these aren’t the only causes. If your cracks are due to something else, your claim may be rejected.

In this article, we’ll cover questions like:

  • I have a crack in my wall – will my home insurance cover it?
  • Does my home insurance cover the foundations?
  • What causes cracking in exterior or interior walls?

If your home has a crack in it, this might be very costly to repair. Before you take out your wallet, you need to know if your home insurance can help cover the cost.

Ground heave and subsidence

Normally, your standard home insurance policy will cover subsidence, landslip or ground heave of the site on which the buildings stand. This type of event is not usually easy to predict, and therefore is an insurable risk.

However, this isn’t the case for many parts of the country. Some places are more stable for building on than others. For example, your home insurance won’t cover you for subsidence or ground heave if you live in or near Cork. This is because this part of the country is more susceptible, and therefore the risk is more predictable.

Ground heave and subsidence can cause cracks in exterior and interior walls overnight. You can usually spot this kind of damage by their diagonal, jagged look. They are much thicker than hairline cracks other factors cause, and they will appear in the plaster indoors as well as outdoors. Subsidence cracks also tend to be thicker at the top.

Common exclusions

Unfortunately, while your home insurance generally covers ground heave and subsidence, other causes of cracks won’t be. A lot of different situations can cause cracking in the structure of your house, but this doesn’t mean you’re automatically insured.

These exclusions include, but are not limited to:

  • Poor workmanship
  • Inadequate foundations
  • Faulty materials

Or cracks with the following causes:

  • Structural alterations, demolition, repairs or extensions to the home
  • Normal settlement, shrinkage, expansion, chemical actions or structures bedding down
  • Land-filled sites settling or moving
  • Coastal, riverbank or lake bank wearing away
  • Anything which happened to your before your current policy

Poor workmanship and faulty materials

If a builder or tradesmen were the cause of your cracks, you need to check if the business responsible has sufficient insurance.

Product Liability Insurance protects tradesmen (and their customers) from faulty materials. So, for example, if they bought warped joists from their supplier and didn’t notice until you reported problems, this will cover the claim.

But if the materials were fine and it was their negligence that caused problems, the tradesman will need to have Professional Indemnity Insurance to help cover it. This will cover the professional against failures to provide good advice to you regarding the care and maintenance of their work, failures of service such as incorrect installation, and failures of design such as making a window too large.

Other types of cracks

Sometimes, the damage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – even if it looks worrying. If you move into a brand new home, you may start to see hairline cracks in the plaster. This is the plaster “settling” into its new environment. Houses shrink and grow according to a number of factors including ground shift, weather, and more. This puts strain on the inner and outer structure, but is a temporary problem and not usually serious.

If the crack isn’t hairline, and subsidence or ground heave isn’t to blame, you may want to consider other causes. Has a large object hit your house? For example, has a tree fallen over in a storm, or even a large branch or thrown object from a neighbour? If your house is directly on a road, it’s possible a car may have clipped your wall, resulting in a crack.

You may have to play detective to find out the cause of the crack, but doing so will let you know if you need to get your home insurance involved or not.

If you have cracks in your walls and are unsure if your home insurance will cover it, call us and we can advise you.

If you notice any large cracks appearing in the walls of your property, feel free to pick up the phone and call us and we can advise you from a home insurance perspective on what steps you may need to take, to ensure that you are taking the correct steps that will support any claim which may arise. We have been providing insurance advise as a broker in Ireland for over 30 years and have seen all eventualities when it comes to home insurance. Our team of home insurance experts are available for calls between 8.30am and 5.30pm each weekday on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051. We look forward to hearing from you.

If your home insurance is up for renewal or you require a home insurance quote, we compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurance providers to help get you the cover required for your individual circumstances.