Subsidence is a serious matter that can negatively impact a building’s structural safety and value.
What Is Subsidence?
Subsidence occurs when the earth below your home moves, causing it to become unstable and sink. This compromises the building’s structure, and cracks appear.
Subsidence can occur due to leaking drains, trees too close to the foundations, shrinking clay soil and drought.
Don’t confuse subsidence with settlement (cracks in new buildings when the ground beneath adapts), heave (when the earth moves upwards), and landslide or landslip (when land gets swept away, taking the foundations or parts of the property with it).
Cracks 20mm wide or more need to be looked at professionally.
Does House Insurance Cover Subsidence?
Most home insurers will cover subsidence damage provided it is a new occurrence. Typically, repair costs will be covered, but preventing further damage will not be offered.
If you seek a home buyers survey Cambridgeshire offers firms such as https://www.samconveyancing.co.uk/Homebuyers-Survey/Home-Buyers-Survey-Cambridgeshire.
More information on subsidence is available here: https://www.biba.org.uk/insurance-guides/home-insurance-guides/subsidence/.
Should I Buy a House That Has Subsidence?
If your dream home has subsidence, seek expert advice before buying. A chartered surveyor can advise you on any remedial work necessary. Without a full structural survey, subsidence problems may not be detected. Your surveyor can advise on whether any work will be merely cosmetic or more substantial.
Speak to your insurance provider to find out if a special subsidence policy is required.
What If My Home Has Subsidence?
Insurers may need to monitor your home for a year prior to remedial work. Underpinning can also take a long while to finish.
If you don’t declare a history of subsidence, your home insurance policy may be invalidated. Honesty is the best policy. The seller’s information form asks if underpinning or remedial works have been carried out and what the state of your insurance policy is. You might face a claim for misrepresentation if you give inaccurate information.
Finding the Best Subsidence Home Insurance
Many insurers won’t cover clients experiencing heave, landslip or subsidence, since they are too risky. Subsidence can impact excesses and premiums for years. Always check the small print relating to subsidence.
A specialist subsidence home insurance provider should be able to offer you a competitive deal.