When you discover or suspect subsidence, you must contact your home insurance provider immediately. They may send a surveyor or engineer to examine the damage to the building in order to identify the cause and recommend a solution.
Making a claim for subsidence
Minor damage can usually be repaired quite easily and quickly. However, if movement of the house is ongoing and damage continues to worsen then your insurer may decide to monitor your property over several months before agreeing repairs. In the very worst cases, the house foundations will need to be strengthened to prevent further subsidence. This process is called underpinning.
Most insurers include subsidence cover in their buildings insurance policy. Cover usually applies to the structure of your home but does not typically include driveways, patios or garden walls. Check the terms of your policy to find out exactly what is covered in your personal situation.
Insuring Homes with Subsidence
A property with a history of subsidence is a greater risk to insure and consequently you might find that your existing insurer will refuse to renew your policy. If your house has been affected by subsidence then the number of insurers available to you is likely to be restricted and your final premium more expensive too.
A property that has gone through a subsidence claim in the past may have high policy excesses and conditions to adhere to in order to obtain sufficient cover. It is possible to take out a policy which excludes subsidence cover but this would obviously leave you at risk of bearing the full cost of repair if subsidence issues recur.
What if subsidence occurs after recently changing home insurance provider?
If you discover damage caused from subsidence after having recently changed insurance provider then the Association of British Insurers (ABI) will have to determine whether you old or new insurer should manage your claim.
Usually, if subsidence occurs and you notify your insurer within 8 weeks then your previous insurer should manage your claim.