Subsidence insurance, protecting home with previous subsidence, heave or landslip

If your property has suffered subsidence you have probably experienced it both difficult and very expensive to get home insurance. We specialise in providing subsidence insurance for homes that have been impacted by subsidence, heave or landslip. Our simplified website gives you an instant price and buy online option, avoiding lengthy phone calls.

  • Cover for homes that have suffered from subsidence, heave or landslip & since underpinned
  • Policies designed to cover underpinned homes at competitive prices
  • Cover for most properties in known ‘subsidence areas’
  • Cover for most properties showing signs of historic movement
  • Buildings cover up to £1.5million
  • Contents cover up to £150,000
  • Excellent coverage and limits as standard
  • Our staff have the expertise to help you secure the right cover
  • Calls answered on average in under 1 minute.

 

 

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one minute call answer time subsidence insuranceNeed a little help quoting?

We have experts ready to help if you want to ask a question. Our average call answering is under 1 minute so give us a call on 0333 358 3359 or chat with us online via our livechat option.

 


Cover for a property with subsidence history

Whilst subsidence is a standard peril that is covered by most home insurance policies, once a property has suffered from subsidence it can be much more difficult to obtain this cover. This is when it necessary to look into the option of a company that specialises in such properties. At CoverBuilder we are subsidence insurance specialists who work with top UK names to ensure that any previously underpinned property is able to obtain the most comprehensive coverage possible, including protection against future occurrences.

You can find out more information about your options after a subsidence claim through the ABI here

 

What if my home has experienced heave?

Heave can cause extensive damage to buildings and other permanent structures. This is the upward movement of the ground, often as a result of an excess of water causing the earth in the ground to expand. The symptoms and effects of heave are similar to that of subsidence, with the upward movement of a property causing serious cracking to walls, especially around windows and doors.

 

Does building insurance cover subsidence?

The CoverBuilder panel has specifically designed their policies to cover properties with previous subsidence. Therefore we can quote for many different scenarios as long as corrective work has taken place. Our enhanced policies make sure you are fully covered at competitive prices. You can get an instant price online and buy the same day!

 

What if I discover an issue after I have switched provider?

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has an agreement with its members which stipulates, should subsidence be identified within eight weeks of switching provider, your previous company has the responsibility for handling the claim.

 

What is a Certificate of Structural Adequacy (CSA)?

If your property has previously suffered subsidence then as part of our requirements to be able to offer you the best premium we can, there will need to be a Certificate of Structural Adequacy for the underpinning work previously done. When the repair has been organised as a result of an insurance claim, a Building Surveyor would have overseen the work and provided a CSA.  This is issued under the guidance of the Institution of Structural Engineers (1994) although there is no actual contractual or legal requirement for one to be provided, nor is this a form of guarantee.


5 ways to reduce the risk of subsidence impacting you

 

1. Plan where you plant trees and shrubbery

Avoid planting trees or large shrubs close to your home, garage, or outbuilding. Trees and shrubs can absorb a considerable amount of water from the surrounding soil resulting in shrinkage and destabilising of the foundations.

2. Take care of your gutters, downpipes, and drains

Ensure that your drain system is tested regularly for any infestation or water leaks. Contact your local buildings maintenance firm to arrange the necessary checks.

3. Investigate any cracks in your walls

Whilst many wall cracks are simply superficial damage, they can be an excellent early warning of a more serious problem. Doors and windows are key areas where subsidence cracks can first show. You may also experience difficulty in opening/closing doors and windows due to the frameshifting.

4. Carry out the relevant research before buying a house with a history of any movement

Conducting the necessary checks is recommended before committing to purchasing a property. Access to a surveyor’s report will enable you to discover whether the property has been previously affected by subsidence and whether it has been sufficiently repaired.

5. Deal with early warning signs quickly

If you notice any signs of cracking or movement you should act fast to prevent as much future damage as possible by getting a surveyor out to assess the likely cause. It’s highly advisable to contact your insurer as soon as possible.


What are the causes of building subsidence?

  • Illustration showing subsidence damage caused by tree roots
    Illustration showing subsidence damage caused by tree roots

 

Historic mining or soil movement

When the land was still being intensively mined, it was a commonly used technique to dig the ground out in a grid pattern, leaving a series of rooms supported by pillars of un-mined coal which supported the mine roof and the surface. Over time, the ground surface can sink, shift or even collapse into the underground mine, causing movement of the ground above.

Broken water pipes

Leaking drains and pipes are the second highest cause of house subsidence and account for around 20% of all incidents. This escape of water can lead to damage in two main ways. Firstly it can soften the ground extensively, reducing its load-bearing capacity which can ultimately result in the downward movement of foundations. It can also wash away fine particles in a non-cohesive soil, reducing the volume of the soil, again causing foundations to sink or warp.

Tree roots

Direct damage to the foundations and subsequent movement can be caused as a result of tree roots. However, the foundations of most buildings are strong enough to withstand this. A more common cause of subsidence as a result of trees is the way that their roots absorb moisture from the soil, particularly in clay areas where this can result in dry cracked ground and movement of foundations.

 


What is the definition of subsidence?

This is the downward moment of earth beneath a property, moving with it the foundations on which the structure is built. Buildings with this issue can be very difficult and costly for you to source the appropriate home insurance policy for, although the number of homes affected runs into the thousands each year. Before assuming that your property is suffering from subsidence, it is important to examine the signs in great detail. Subsidence cracks are most likely to;

  • Exceed 3mm in width
  • Be visible on both the interior and exterior of the property
  • Form in weaker spots of the home (surrounding windows and doors)
  • Be wider at the top than at the bottom

Other indicators that may suggest your home is suffering from subsidence include;

  • Movement of the walls causing windows, doors and other openings to stick and become difficult to open.
  • Cracks appearing in the plasterwork inside your home
  • External brickwork showing cracks
  • Damage where an extension joins the main building.

Is my building at risk?

When buying a house there are lender requirements, specified in the Council for Mortgage Lender (CML) Guidelines, that you should be aware of:

  1. The Conveyancer must carry out any searches that may be appropriate to the property; considering its locality and other features (including subsidence).
  2. There could be a defect that is not covered by the lender’s valuation report. It is recommended that the borrower obtain more comprehensive reports from secondary surveys and not rely on the valuation report alone. These secondary reports should be more detailed reports on the condition and value of the property.
  3. The building requires a home insurance policy that covers the provision for damage resulting from an episode of ‘subsidence, heave or landslip’.

I think my property is subsiding. Who should I contact?

If you suspect your property is subsiding and you may need to make a claim for the damage, contact a professional for further advice at the earliest opportunity. A builder or structural surveyor will be able to confirm if your property is affected by subsidence and provide a solution which may involve the removal of vegetation, relining of drains or the strengthening of your home’s foundations through underpinning.


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