Insurance for Property with Previous Subsidence

How to insure a property previously affected by subsidence

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What is insurance for subsidence properties?

Subsidence is usually covered by house insurance policies, but only if your home has never suffered from subsidence in the past. A specialist policy will cover repairs to damage caused by subsidence and replacement costs for lost items and alternative accommodation.

It's bad enough having to deal with a property with subsidence problems, perhaps where the property has been previously underpinned or has suffered other types of ground movement; it adds insult to injury when you realise that even after the cause of the cracks has been identified and remedied, a number of insurance companies will often decline insurance for underpinned property or where there is a history of previous subsidence.

If your property has been affected by subsidence and this has been corrected professionally, insurance cover is available from specialist insurance brokers who are experts in arranging cover for a property with subsidence history.

subsidence property insurance

Our home was subject to heave, that is the buildings had effectively been pushed out of the ground. We needed to claim on our household buildings insurance policy and the claim was substantial. Once this had occurred, we found that most normal insurance companies would not offer quotes for household buildings insurance.

What causes subsidence?

Subsidence can occur when the ground beneath a building begins to sink. Sinking can cause stress on the building’s foundations, resulting in cracks on the inside or outside of the building. Common causes of subsidence include:

  • Clay soil drying out
  • Tree roots
  • Mining
  • Chalk soil
  • Sand/gravel soil

Why purchase insurance for property with subsidence history?

Subsidence insurance is a highly specialised area and one where you would probably benefit from obtaining appropriate advice from insurance brokers who specialise in insuring property with prior subsidence problems.

It is just as unfortunate for owners of commercial property with subsidence. For those who find that their commercial premises have been affected by subsidence, heave or have been underpinned, our specialist brokers can assist with the appropriate quotes and cover for commercial property.

Once your home has had subsidence or heave confirmed, possibly as the result of a full structural survey or maybe because some cracks in the walls are becoming more apparent, you will probably need to make a claim on your household buildings insurance. This in itself can be a stressful process but obtaining subsidence insurance cover after the property has been underpinned may also prove to be a challenging time.

What does subsidence property insurance cover?

Common types of cover included with insurance for property wth subsidence history include:

  • Buildings insurance: This covers damage to your home’s physical structure, its fixtures and often its fittings, commonly including roofs, chimneys, walls and windows
  • Contents insurance: This covers your possessions, such as furniture, clothing and electricals
  • Subsidence cover: Most buildings insurance policies include cover for subsidence; however, cover limits vary between insurance providers and many are subject to a compulsory excess

Frequently asked questions

How can I avoid subsidence?

A few ways to reduce the chance of needing to make a subsidence property insurance claim include:

  • Avoid planting trees too close to your property
  • Maintain underground pipes
  • Monitor any cracks, both in your interior and exterior walls
  • Consider having a full structural survey done ahead of purchasing a property

How can I detect subsidence?

A few ways to detect the presence of subsidence include:

  • Large cracks in the walls or extension to a property
  • Existing cracks getting longer, wider or deeper
  • Doors or windows not opening or closing properly
  • Wallpaper wrinkling
  • Sloping floors

Is subsidence property insurance expensive?

This will depend upon many factors, including the previous history of any subsidence or other ground movement under the property. Other factors that might affect your insurance premium include:

  • The type, age and construction of the property
  • The proximity of any trees
  • The property's proximity to water, streams, rivers etc
  • Previous insurance claims history
  • A surveyor's report into the property's likelihood for future ground movement

How can we help?

QuoteRack works closely with specialist insurance brokers who can offer you access to specialised schemes offered by niche insurance companies looking to provide insurance for property with subsidence history.

You are welcome to submit your details through the QuoteRack website, without cost or obligation to proceed when you compare quotes for insurance for properties with subsidence history.

With due acknowledgement to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, you can download their excellent RICS Subsidence Guide here.

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