Does Homeowners Insurance Usually Cover Retaining Walls?

Retaining walls are essential for allowing drainage and keeping mud and dirt out of your yard or house. They seem to hold back a lot, so for a home backed by a wide hill, it’s only natural to be concerned about the soundness and protection of the hulking structure that is keeping you safe and sane.

At first glance, retaining walls appear to be protected by homeowners insurance since they are a separate structure on the property and can be covered for a variety of damages, including fire, wind, and lightning. Detached buildings are typically covered for 10% of the structure’s total coverage. However, looking deeper into the wording of common policies reveals that retaining walls can not be as secure as you think. They are often expressly stated as not being protected, which should be the first thing you look for when reading through your policy. Even if the retaining wall is weakened, it is unlikely to be due to elements that are usually overlooked, such as wind. In fact, many of the most common causes why retaining walls break in the first place are unlikely to be protected.

Covered Structure

A retaining wall is considered a detached structure for the purposes of a homeowner’s insurance policy, and is thus covered for a number of damages, including fire, lightning, wind, and automobiles. Retaining walls and other detached structures are typically covered to a maximum of 10% of the dwelling coverage cap. As a result, if your house is worth $100,000, your retaining wall is worth $10,000.


Animal damage, foundation or soil settling, flooding, water damage, sewage backup, an earthquake, ice freezing and thawing in cracks in the wall, and many other reasons are common exclusions to coverage. You will still be uninsured if you fail to maintain or update the retaining wall. These are much more likely causes of retaining wall damage than any of the other insured causes, such as wind or fire. Although it will seem that the retaining wall should be protected, it is unlikely that it would be damaged by a covered peril.

If you are concerned about your retaining wall, it would be worthwhile to take steps as soon as possible to ensure your peace of mind. Consult your insurance provider to decide precisely what is protected by your new policy. There is a federal flood insurance policy that you may look into if you are concerned about flooding and the harm it may cause to your home and retaining wall. Similarly, in earthquake-prone areas, an earthquake may put a retaining wall at risk of fracturing or triggering landslides. Examine the choices available in your region to see if earthquake insurance can be added to your policy. If you’re still concerned about the condition of your retaining wall, it may be worth it to have it tested, regardless of whether or not your insurance covers it, so you can be prepared and prevent more damage.

If there are many factors at play that resulted in the damage to your retaining wall, coverage can be tricky. For example, suppose animals burrowed holes that froze, threatening the structure’s integrity, which was then blown over by strong wind, or another scenario occurred. Then you’ll need to go to the portion of your policy that outlines what happens if a failure is caused by several factors.

Other Coverage

While flood insurance may not cover damage to retaining walls caused by flooding or water, earthquake insurance can cover damage caused by landslides, mudslides, or settlements. If you live in an earthquake-prone area or are worried about your retaining wall collapsing due to earth movement, earthquake insurance may give you the peace of mind you need.

Are You Looking for a Company to Build Concrete Retaining Walls for Your Home? 

Spaulding Concrete has been the SF Bay Area’s top Concrete Retaining Wall Builder for over 30 years.  We’re here to build your home’s retaining walls that will last a lifetime, no matter where they need to be placed. We have the specialized equipment, services and professional experience that you need to make permanent improvements to your landscaping. To get you started on the right foot, we would be happy to give you a free quote for your retaining walls. When you reach out by phone or email we will have one of our experts answer any questions you have and explain how we can restore integrity and structural stability to your home or landscape permanently. The qualified concrete experts at Spaulding Concrete will be on schedule, on budget and meet or exceed standards by careful planning, professional execution, and strict quality control. To schedule your free quote, contact us today! We are proud to serve Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood and the surrounding areas.