Subsidence: Does your home insurance cover you?

Subsidence home insurance icon

By Bobatoo
August 5, 2022

If you’re worried that your property might be affected by subsidence at any time, you might want to take out a home insurance policy with subsidence insurance included.

We cover everything you need to know so you can make an informed decision and take action to help prevent it from happening to your home.

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What is subsidence home insurance?

What causes subsidence?

What are the signs of subsidence?

How much does subsidence insurance cost?

How to prevent subsidence

What should I do if I have subsidence?

What is subsidence home insurance?

Most home insurance policies will include cover for subsidence as standard as long as your home does not have a history of subsidence. However, we always recommend you check your home insurance policy documents to make sure. 

You will usually find that you will need to pay an excess fee (as you do with other insurance claims) in order to start the claim process. Subsidence claim excess payments are usually higher than common home contents or buildings insurance claims because the potential claim value is a lot higher and can run into tens of thousands of pounds.

What causes subsidence?

Subsidence is caused when the foundations or ground beneath a building begin to sink or collapse. This can happen suddenly or gradually depending on the cause. 

Common causes include:

  • Soil shrinking or swelling due to weather conditions
  • Moisture from the soil beneath your home is absorbed by trees and/or shrubbery
  • Soft ground created by leaking pipes or drainage (also known as heave)

When subsidence occurs it can manifest itself in the form of cracks in the building structure as the walls have additional strain put upon them.

What are the signs of subsidence and how to check

The main signs of subsidence in your home or property to look out for include:

  • New diagonal cracks forming
  • Existing cracks widening
  • Doors sticking
  • Windows sticking
  • Rippling wallpaper (not caused by damp)
  • Previous underpinning of foundations

How much does subsidence insurance cost?

Home insurance costs for properties with subsidence can vary but a recent study has shown that the average cost in the UK is around £300 a year.

Similar to standard home insurance, the cost will vary based on factors such as:

  • Type of building
  • Location of trees in comparison to the property
  • How close your home is to water

If your home has a history of subsidence then your premiums are more likely to be more expensive due to the increased risk for the insurer.

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How to prevent subsidence

You can help reduce the risk of subsidence occurring by taking the following measures.:

  • Plant trees at least 10m away from your home
  • Regularly prune branches on your trees and bushes
  • Check pipes and drainage systems regularly to ensure water isn't leaking into the ground below your home
  • Check or get surveyors reports for any signs of subsidence

Always be aware that subsidence can be hard to stop once it has started and it is usually fixed by underpinning the property, which is the process of strengthening the foundations. 

Underpinning can be done by:

  • Extending the base foundations
  • Support beams
  • Reinforcing the ground with concrete 

What should I do if I have subsidence?

If you notice any signs of subsidence in your property that we have mentioned above, it's vital that you contact your home insurance provider straight away. They will help organise a survey to confirm whether or not any next steps need to be taken.

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