Subsidence house insurance

Find subsidence insurance policies to help cover the cost of repairing any damage to your home caused by subsidence.

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Last updated: 2 February 2021

What is subsidence insurance?

Subsidence insurance pays out for subsidence damage to your home.

What exactly is subsidence?

Subsidence is when your home moves because the ground under it is sinking. This causes stress to the foundations, resulting in cracks.

Houses are underpinned to strengthen the foundations and make them more secure. Left untouched, a home with subsidence could end up leaning and be structurally unsound.

That’s why having home insurance subsidence cover is sensible, so you could have the repairs paid for before it’s too late.

How to protect your home with subsidence insurance

With most home insurance, subsidence damage will be covered by subsidence insurance.

But you’ll only be offered this cover if your home hasn’t suffered from subsidence in the past. Polices vary, so check your home insurance to make sure.

Some companies won’t offer any insurance at all for a property with subsidence history, or for a property in an area that’s at risk.

A home insurance subsidence policy can protect your property against repairs, or damage to the contents, as a result of subsidence.

Here’s more information on subsidence home insurance.

Check the excess on your home insurance subsidence policy

When you compare home insurance subsidence policies check what excess you have to pay if you claim for subsidence. It’s often higher than the excess on a standard home insurance claim.

For example, some subsidence insurance policies set an excess of £1,000 which you have to pay in the event of subsidence, compared to £200 for any other claim.

A home insurance subsidence policy often comes with a high excess. This is to offset the cost of a subsidence claim, which can be very expensive. You can find out more about home insurance excess here.

Look at what isn’t covered by your subsidence home insurance

Read each subsidence home insurance policy carefully when looking for cover to see what’s excluded from your policy.

For example, most subsidence home insurance policies won’t cover any subsidence damage that’s caused by:

Updated 2 February 2021
Escaped water or oil from fixed water or heating systems
Normal ‘bedding down’ of new buildings
River or coastal soil erosion
Any structural changes you make to your home

It’s important to take note of any exclusions when you take out your policy.

Finding home insurance subsidence cover if you have a history of subsidence

If your home has suffered subsidence damage in the past it will be harder to find a home insurance subsidence policy that can cover your property.

You can find out more about getting home insurance for subsidence history here.

The signs of subsidence to look out for in your home can include:

Updated 2 February 2021
Deep, wide cracks in the walls, outside and inside
Cracks around windows and door not linked to natural house settlement
Cracks that are expanding
Rippling wallpaper not linked to damp
Sloping floors
Doors and windows sticking due to frames changing shape

What does subsidence insurance cover you for?

This depends on your subsidence insurance policy, as every policy will be different. 

Your subsidence home insurance is likely to cover you for subsidence damage caused by:

Updated 2 February 2021
The type of soil under your home (clay is known to cause more problems)
Trees growing close to your home
The age of your home

The best policies will pay out for repairs caused by subsidence damage, and replace lost items. They’ll also pay for alternative accommodation while repairs are carried out.

Most subsidence insurance policies cover subsidence damage to your garden, but only if your buildings have been damaged at the same time.

The kind of things that could be damaged by subsidence include:

Updated 2 February 2021
Floor slabs
Garden walls
Footpaths
Driveways
Patios
Outdoor swimming pools

The most comprehensive policies would pay for repairs to all these, plus the cost of any damaged contents of your home.

How much does a home insurance subsidence policy cost?

The price of a home insurance subsidence policy varies.

The cost is affected by the following factors:

Updated 2 February 2021
What kind of property you have
How old your home is
Where you live (some areas are worse affected)
How much cover you want
How close you live to water
How close to your home there are trees (especially oak, poplar, ash, willow, sycamore and plane trees)
Whether your home’s been affected by subsidence before (although you may struggle to get insurance at all if this is the case)

I’ve had subsidence before. If I’m trying to get subsidence insurance, what will the insurer need to know?

Perhaps you’ve claimed for subsidence damage before, or you live in an ‘at-risk’ area. Either way, it’s likely your insurer will have quite a few questions when you apply for subsidence insurance cover.

These might include:

Updated 2 February 2021
When did the subsidence occur?
What caused it?
What repairs were carried out?
Was the property underpinned, and if so was it a partial or complete underpinning?
Has there been any ground movement since?
How much was your claim for?
Do you have evidence of surveys and reports? (You may be asked to share these)

The insurer will gather this information and then decide whether to offer you subsidence insurance. If you can’t get subsidence as part of your home insurance, you may need a specialist policy.

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