Underpinned house insurance

If your home has subsided or been underpinned, you may need specialist underpinning insurance to protect your property.

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Last updated: 1 February 2021

What is underpinned house insurance?

Underpinned house insurance is a specialist type of insurance. It’s for houses that have been affected by subsidence or underpinned. 

If your home’s subsided or been underpinned, then it’s likely that you’ll struggle to find a standard home insurance policy. You may need underpinned house insurance. 

Why are houses underpinned?

Houses are underpinned to strengthen the foundations and make them more secure.

Most houses are underpinned due to subsidence, which is when the ground underneath a house is moving or sinking. The factors that affect the risk of subsidence include:

The type of soil under your home
Water damage caused by leaking drains
Trees growing close to your home
The age of your home

The signs of subsidence can include:

Deep, wide cracks in the walls, outside and inside
Cracks around windows and door which aren’t linked to natural house settlement
Cracks that are expanding
Rippling wallpaper not linked to damp
Doors and windows sticking due to frames changing shape

But sometimes houses are underpinned if they’re having extra floors built, and it’s not linked to subsidence at all.

Why do I need specialist underpinning insurance?

Underpinning insurance is provided by several insurers that specialise in covering underpinned homes. 

Underpinned properties are seen as high risk by insurers. If a home’s been underpinned, then it usually means your house has a history of subsidence damage. This suggests structural weakness and imperfect foundations. This can cost a significant amount of money to repair and there’s no guarantee that further work won’t be needed. That’s why you’re likely to need specialist underpinning insurance.

If your home’s at risk from subsidence but hasn’t been damaged, you can compare subsidence home insurance here.

Can home insurance cover subsidence?

How to get insurance for an underpinned house

If you’re looking for insurance for an underpinned house, you’ll be asked lots of questions about your property.

When you apply for underpinned house insurance, insurers will need to understand why the home was underpinned.

Underpinned house insurers will likely ask:

When was your property underpinned?
What was the cause of the subsidence or ground movement?
How much of the property was underpinned?
Was the work carried out following an insurance claim?
Do you have a certificate that proves the property is secure?

There’s a chance that insurers may wish to survey your home, too, so they can check the work.

What affects the price of insurance for my underpinned house?

Hopefully the underpinned house insurance provider you speak to is able to offer you insurance. They’ll base the price of your policy on your answers to the questions above.

It’s crucial to be honest in your answers. If you’re not honest about the condition of your property, your underpinned house insurance provider may not pay out when you need to claim.

If your home was underpinned a long time ago, this may have less of an impact on the cost of your insurance than if it was done recently. That’s because if, over decades, there’s been no further movement, it’s highly likely that underpinning solved the problem. If that’s the case, you’re less risky to insurers.

How much is the excess on an underpinned house insurance policy?

If you do find underpinning insurance, you’ll find that some insurers set a much higher excess amount for subsidence claims.

For example, a standard policy could come with a £1,000 excess, whereas insurance for an underpinned house policy could come with a £2,500 excess.

Should you avoid buying a previously underpinned property (PUP)?

It’s your call. If you are interested in buying a PUP, then it’s a good idea to pay for a full structural survey. That should contain some advice about the property’s current state and whether it’s likely to throw up more problems in the future.

Getting a mortgage shouldn’t be a problem. If the structural survey report shows that the underpinning work has been carried out to a high standard, then you should be ok. It’s much more difficult to get a mortgage for a house that has subsidence but hasn’t yet been underpinned.

The important thing to remember is that you might find it harder to sell when it’s time to move on, so bear this in mind when you’re negotiating.

What if you can’t find underpinning insurance for your home?

You should be able to find underpinned house insurance as there are several providers that offer it.

But, if you struggle to find underpinning insurance, talk to a standard home insurance provider. You might be able to arrange cover with subsidence excluded. 

Remember that if you do this, underpinned house insurance wouldn’t be included. This means you’d be unable to claim for any subsidence damage, but you’d still get all the other protection offered by a home insurance policy.

Here’s how to find the right insurance for your home.

Underpinned house insurance FAQs

Yes, look for a new policy that can cover your underpinned home.

Most underpinned home policies set a higher excess for subsidence claims, for example £2,500 compared to £1,000 for standard home insurance.

Yes, you must inform the insurer, even if the work was carried out a long time ago because your home could be at risk from damage in the future.

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