After the deluge this weekend the February & March warm dry spell feels like a lifetime ago, but it was around that time that the Association of British Insurers (ABI) were echoing our advice on the issue of subsidence; reminding homeowners to keep a regular check on any cracks appearing on the property. But cracks are not always caused by subsidence, hence our advice to keep an eye on them and not to panic, and if you live in a property that property has suffered with subsidence in the past then look for specialist subsidence insurance when your property insurance falls due for renewal.
There are 3 principle causes of subsidence; the type of soil, tree proximity to your home and leaking pipes and drains. The ABI point out that trees, especially ones that are large or especially near a home, can increase the risk of subsidence due to the substantial quantity of water they absorb, which dries out the soil near and underneath a home. The ABI offer advice on their website regarding distances and a tree surgeon can offer guidance on whether action needs to be taken regarding trees already planted.
Good general maintenance of the property helps reduce damage from escaped water, and the clay soil common in the South East is particularly prone to subsidence issues. Minor cracks, less than 5mm, can be due to other factors, but large cracks (into which a 10 pence piece can be slotted) are often the first signs of subsidence.
In January 2012 AXA forecast that prolonged dry weather could lead to a rise in subsidence, a prediction likely to be vindicated given the hosepipe ban announced in parts of the south and east last month.
Like with most things in life these days if you see a problem keep a very close eye on it, if cracks are increasing in size then don’t delay getting them looked at. Most buildings insurance policies include cover for subsidence, but typically with an increased policy excess, it is in everyone’s interest (yourself, insurance company and your neighbours) that you contact your insurance company immediately, they have specialists to help assess the damage and agree the right course of action.
The Property Insurer works with one of the best specialist subsidence insurance providers in the UK and it will do its best to provide comprehensive insurance cover at a price to suit your budget. Don’t delay, visit The Property Insurer today and click on the subsidence insurance button.
The Property Insurer