Underwriting subsidence risks

Emma Myrie

Written by

Emma Myrie

Insurance Underwriting Expert

Sophie Kamkar

Reviewed by

Sophie Kamkar

Content Marketing Manager

Less than 1 minute

Updated: 21 Mar 2024

Details are key to underwriting. The more details an underwriter has access to, the better they can assess a potential risk and the more accurate your home insurance terms will be.

This is especially true when underwriting a subsidence insurance risk. There are certain supporting documents that can contribute to the underwriting process, allowing our Underwriters to carry out calculations based on the present risk (rather than that faced while your property was still undergoing subsidence). Any documentation you can provide will usually be beneficial, but the most useful documents are:

  • A Structural Engineer’s Report: This is when a qualified and accredited structural engineer undertakes an inspection of a subsidence problem to identify possible causes of any structural issues. Such reports should include advice about the likely consequences faced, making proposals for what can be done to rectify or alleviate the situation and giving an estimate of the likely costs of remedial works or additional investigation.
  • A Survey of Completion (Following Underpinning): This survey confirms satisfactory completion of any underpinning works undertaken, as well as details of any monitoring which has already taken place.
  • A Contractors Guarantee (following underpinning): Many contractors will now offer a guarantee for underpinning works carried out to rectify a specific subsidence problem. These might be good for a designated period of time, and will go a long way toward demonstrating a reduction in risk. However, they do not necessarily guarantee your property against any future subsidence issues; only the issue that caused the original subsidence event. If another part of your house begins to subside, which was not affected by the guaranteed underpinning works previously carried out and is attributable to a separate cause, then it is unlikely to be the responsibility of the contractor.

Insurer responsibility with subsidence issues

If you discover subsidence after you have switched between home insurance providers then there is an agreement in place for handling your claim. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) drew up an industry agreement to define responsibility and help claimants receive fair treatment from their insurers. Should a subsidence problem be identified within the first eight weeks of your switching providers, your previous insurer will be responsible for the full cost of your claim.

Should subsidence be identified after the initial eight week period, but before the end of the first year since you switched, both your present and previous insurers will be responsible for sharing the cost of your claim equally.

Once a full year has elapsed since you first made the switch, any subsidence claims are the responsibility of your present insurer alone. If you own a new-build property you are likely to find that subsidence claims are covered by the property’s NHBC (National House Building Council) warranty, which is good for up to ten years after the house is built (or newly converted in some cases).

If your home has undergone subsidence issues in the past, you will probably already know how difficult it is to obtain suitable house subsidence insurance. With Homeprotect you can get an online quote for buildings insurance based on the subsidence risk it faces now, not as it was before remedial works were completed.

Homeprotect provides specialist home insurance online, including unusual property insurance and can cover an enormous variety of properties including converted properties.

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