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Subsidence and insurance


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Hello, has anyone else found that insurers are turning them down in this area for home insurance due to higher numbers of subsidence claims in the area? I have more cracks than usual but don?t think it?s subsidence, ?just? super dry summers on clay and sodden winters. Be great to hear other people?s experiences recently and how they dealt with it.
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The bad news is "?just? super dry summers on clay and sodden winters" is......subsidence

The good news

Theres a general misconception that subsidence is some sort of mysterious "house illness" - I think this comes from the way insurers talk about it/deal with it. In fact in this area, it is usally caused by dry summers, wet winters and compounded by things like tree routes. Yes, there is "proper" subsidence due to slip & landheave - but most of the people i know in this area who have experience of movement in their houses - its always been down to the wet/dry cycle on clay.

There is also a misconception that your house will immediately fall down. I've been involved in subsidence claims at two different properties in the area - with both of the cases , a few minor adjustments (removing a tree, cutting down a hedge) remedied the problem.

For the first of these cases - we went straight to the insurer. We are still paying the cost of that 15 years later - we struggle to get insurance, our polices are really expensive as we always have to declare subsidence. The irony is that the claim was about ?1000 - mainly re-decorating over cracks

For the second case, we were fortune in that an independent surveyor came to look at it in advance (we had a dispute with a neighbour) - he chose his words very carefully (and may have winked) when he said "that's not subsidence, that's a few cracks caused by a tree drying the clay this summer" . We removed the tree, it was sorted.

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  • 8 months later...

We are on clay, depending on the age of your house and the type of your foundations you will be more susceptible to movement. As long as you don't lie when taking your policy out you will be covered. Different insurers will have different approaches, some a blanket one when all properties will have loadings/restrictions on their policies in a postcode area, whilst others will ask if there is a history of subsidence and price the policy accordingly.

When I was in SE26 most of the Edwardian properties were underpinned following the drought of 1976, but come the 90s some had started to move again, and when they did it could be 10cm in a year (compounded in that area by all the natural streams).

Of course what we have now are more extremes, when we did rain dances in the summer as the ground was cracking and now there is standing water.

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