Drought Causing Home Foundations to Crack

Problems caused by shifting foundations not covered by home insurance

The amazingly dry conditions in Illinois are proving troublesome for more than just farmers losing crops. Homeowners report foundations are shifting due to the dought, and the repairs generally aren't covered by insurance.

Some houses in the region have visible gaps and large cracks in their siding, brickwork and drywall, and residents are experiencing sticking windows and doors due to a lack of moisture in the houses' clay foundations.

"The problem with clay is it has a high propensity to do what's called desiccate," geotechnical contractor and co-owner of Atlas Restoration Chris Heintz told NBC Chicago. "And that means, when the water evaporates out of it, it shrinks."

When the clay foundation shrinks, the house sitting atop the foundation moves with it. This can affect the house's structure and alignment.

The problems caused by the shifting earth can take from $5,000 to over $50,000 to fix.

"What I hear from homeowners is that the insurance companies put this under their 'Act of God Clause,'" Heinz explained. "They're not responsible for soils causing movement, and we've never seen it covered by a standard home insurance policy."

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