The abnormally hot weather and lack of rainfall this summer created a disastrous combination for homeowners, according to industry experts. Recent data revealed that subsidence claims have seen a 350 per cent increase throughout the UK within the last six weeks alone. Not to mention, the number of claims are up 20 per cent compared to this time last year.
Subsidence, which occurs when the ground beneath a property either collapses or sinks lower, is a big problem for homeowners, as the end result can cause serious structural damage, such as cracks in walls, floors and ceilings. This issue is common among homes built on clay soil, seeing as it shrinks when there is less moisture in the ground.
Industry experts have identified 226 postcodes that are most vulnerable to subsidence claims, primarily located in large cities due to the pressure placed on the ground from buildings and skyscrapers crammed into condensed areas. Regardless of where you live, consider this guidance to help handle and prevent subsidence in your home:
- Know the signs—As with any property damage issue, it is important to catch the problem as early as possible. The most evident sign is a diagonal crack, next to either a door or window. These cracks are typically narrow at the bottom and wide at the top.
- Take down trees—Because their roots absorb water from the soil, the trees in your garden can contribute to subsidence, especially if they have large, thick roots. Consider killing nearby trees by either cutting them down, removing the bark or using herbicides.
- Fix your drains—Subsidence can result if water leaks from damaged drains and washes away soil. Be sure to routinely check your drains and fix any rising concerns.
If you have suffered a subsidence claim, you can easily find yourself trapped with your existing insurer, who may well have applied extensive terms and conditions to your policy. If you’re thinking of buying a property with a history of subsidence there is a distinct possibility you won’t find cover at all.
A-Plan can help. We have arrangements with insurers that allow us to provide insurance cover for properties that have been affected by subsidence.
Our specialist home insurance team understands that such properties require an individually tailored approach.