Retaining walls play an important role in preventing erosion and holding back soil from sloping areas beside your home, driveway or yard. If you have a retaining wall, you'll want to check with your homeowner's insurance policy to see what losses -- if any -- are covered. By ensuring you have the appropriate coverage, you can help protect yourself from potentially costly damage in the future.
For the purposes of a homeowner's insurance policy, a retaining wall is considered a detached structure and is therefore covered for a variety of losses, such as damage caused by fire, lightning, wind and vehicles. Generally, the maximum amount of coverage for retaining walls and other detached structures is 10 percent of the dwelling coverage limit. Therefore, if your home is covered for $100,000, your retaining wall is covered for $10,000.
If the damage to your retaining wall is due to freezing and thawing water or the weight of water, ice or saturated soil, homeowner's insurance will not cover the loss. Other exclusions include lack of maintenance to the retaining wall, animal damage or damage resulting from a settling of the foundation.
Although flood insurance won't cover retaining walls for flooding or water damage, earthquake insurance may cover damage to your retaining wall that results from landslides, mudslides or settlements. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, or are concerned about losing your retaining wall to earth movement, earthquake insurance may provide you with the peace of mind you're seeking.
All homeowner's insurance companies have different polices regarding the coverage of retaining walls and other detached structures. Before you choose a policy, it's important to get specific information on what your coverage for these structures will include. For best results, compare the policies of a few different companies to ensure you obtain the most comprehensive coverage possible.
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