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Wood rot or floor joist rot is typically not covered by a homeowners insurance policy. But as with most things, there are exceptions to that rule. If the rot occurs as a result of a peril that is covered by your homeowners insurance, you might be in luck.

Key Takeaways

  • Homeowners insurance only covers rotting wood when it is the result of a covered peril and the damage happened suddenly and unexpectedly.
  • If wood rot was caused by negligence or old materials, then your homeowners insurance likely won’t pay for the damages.
  • Mold caused by wood rot will only be covered if it is caused by a covered peril. 

Does homeowners insurance cover rotting wood?

Typically, the only time homeowners insurance covers wood rot is when it is the result of a covered peril and usually that damage is “sudden and accidental.” For example, the accidental discharge or overflow of water from a household appliance is a peril covered by most homeowner policies. 

If a pipe bursts and causes water damage to your floor joist, you likely could make a claim that will be approved if you filed at the time of the damage. If instead, it appears that the rot isn’t caused by a certain event but is a result of aging materials and poor maintenance, your claim likely won’t be approved.

And if there’s mold, it will also only be covered if it’s caused by a covered peril, like a burst pipe. Mold caused by water due to condensation, excessive humidity or flooding is typically excluded from coverage provided by a home insurance policy. 

Does homeowners insurance cover sagging floors and subfloor damage?

Sagging floors are a structural issue. They may be caused by a water leak or flooding, but could also be caused by termites, soil settlement or other structural issues. Regardless of the cause, sagging floor joists can be dangerous in a home and need to be resolved.

Whether or not your homeowners insurance covers saggy floors depends on various factors. If the sagging floors are the result of a covered peril, you’ll likely be covered. Otherwise, you’ll be on your own.

Does homeowners insurance cover dry rot?

If the dry rot was caused by a covered peril and not the result of negligence, the home insurance company will usually cover the claim. However, most commonly, dry rot is the result of a leak or flood incident and then poor ventilation to the area. Many homeowners insurance companies consider dry rot to be a preventable issue, meaning it likely won’t be covered.

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Does homeowners insurance cover structural problems?

Structural problems can be quite complex. Sometimes a structural issue is the result of something like a severe storm that causes flooding or a burst pipe. Other times, the issue may be caused by improper materials used to build the home or even soil settling. If your structural problems are caused by covered perils — and not the result of neglecting to resolve or report an issue — home insurance may step in to save the day.

Does homeowners insurance cover floor damage?

Homeowners insurance covers floor damage if it was caused by a covered peril, which is generally sudden and unexpected damage. However, if the damage was caused due to negligence over time, your homeowners insurance policy won’t cover it. 

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Penny Gusner
Contributor

 
  

Penny is an expert on insurance procedures, rates, policies and claims. She has extensive knowledge of all major insurance lines -- auto, homeowners, life and health insurance. She has been answering consumers’ questions as an analyst for more than 15 years and has been featured in numerous major media outlets, including the Washington Post and Kiplinger’s.