Many homeowners face a personal and financial nightmare if their properties are affected by subsidence or heave.
They may not have sufficient cover to cope with such an occurrence and will be left out of pocket as a result. Homeowners should check with their insurance providers to ensure that they have adequate buildings insurance protection.
Our advice is very simple – check your policy immediately. Too many people will be left high and dry.
‘We are advising people to ensure that they are adequately covered by their buildings insurance cover going forward. An insurance broker can help arrange the best policy with the correct sum insurance, appropriate excess and competitive price.
“Subsidence and heave can be a personal and financial nightmare for homeowners as this damage can be very expensive to repair. It is simply not worth the risk and we urge everyone to speak to their broker to ensure they have enough insurance to cover such an eventuality.”
To help worried homeowners, BIBA advises the following:
Will your insurer cover you for repairing the damage caused to the property?
Yes, the good news is the UK is one of the only countries in the world that insures our private homes for the risk of subsidence, heave and landslip, providing your insurers are notified when you first become aware of the problem. It is worth noting that it is a breach of most mortgage agreements not to have buildings insurance.
Will anything be excluded or will I have to pay an excess?
You will normally have to pay the first £1,000 excess of your policy (be aware some policies have higher excesses). Most damage should be covered including alternative accommodation, but consult your BIBA broker for detailed advice as all policies differ.
Some insurers may also insist upon an excess of up to 3% of the sum insured on buildings (usually applied where there is existing damage or previous subsidence claims history).
What should you do if you want to buy a house that has suffered from subsidence?
- Make sure you have a full structural survey before you buy the property.
- Find out when, why and how it was fixed.
- Speak to your lender and broker before you buy the property.
- For previously underpinned properties you should speak to a specialist BIBA broker who can help you arrange cover.
Who will insure the property after subsidence?
Your existing insurer will normally continue to cover you, or you can contact BIBA for a specialist broker.
Look for an insurer, who will “transfer” the insurance to a new buyer, you will find it much easier to sell the property if insurance is available.
The British Insurance Brokers’ Association has a specialist scheme available through BIBA members which can cover previously underpinned properties.
What to do if you suspect subsidence?
- Contact your insurance broker immediately
- Deal with it early, do not hope that it will go away
- Keep a diary of events
If you are having problems finding a company that will cover your property because of subsidence call BIBA on 0370 950 1790 or vist the BIBA ‘Find a Broker‘ service who will be able to advise you on a broker that can help.