CASE STUDY #3: Structural Defects – Yes, We Cover and Resolve Them – Part 1

Yes, our warranty does cover structural defects, and that structural coverage is just one of the many benefits of the RWC warranty programs. Providing an RWC warranty on your homes reduces your liability and assures you that your homeowners are protected for covered structural defects for the entire term of the warranty. RWC offers two different types of structural coverage, Major Structural Defect (MSD) coverage and Designated Structural Element (DSE) coverage. During the coverage periods when the Insurer is the Warrantor, the warranty resolution process includes a free fact-finding inspection by a licensed, professional engineer. After that inspection, RWC determines coverage if appropriate. If coverage is granted, then RWC repairs, replaces or pays the reasonable cost of repair or replacement of the structural component.

An enrolled home was in Year 10 of coverage. The homeowner claimed that “the garage foundation has failed causing cracks, sinking of floor and walls.” He also complained that the damage did not allow a door to function properly. RWC retained a licensed, professional engineer who performed an inspection of the home. RWC uses the observations and opinions of engineers to make coverage determinations when homeowners believe their home has a structural defect.

The engineer reported there were foundation wall cracks along the perimeter of the garage and that the cracks were particularly obvious in the area of the main door. Elevation readings indicated that the garage had experienced significant differential settlement and that settlement was an ongoing problem. The engineer’s opinion was that the garage foundation wall had failed. The combination of failure of a structural element, actual damage to a structural element in the form of cracks in the foundation wall, and an adverse effect on safety (the garage main door not functioning properly) satisfied the Major Structural Defect criteria. Coverage was approved and RWC obtained a repair plan from the engineer calling for placement of 7 hydraulically-driven push piers to stabilize movement of the garage’s foundation wall. An estimate was obtained and RWC offered a monetary settlement to the homeowner in the amount of the contractor’s estimate. The homeowner accepted the offer and was satisfied. The claim was resolved without requiring the builder to take any action or pay even one dollar to the homeowner.

a frame of a house being built by RWC