Subsidence Insurance

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Obtaining cover for a home that has previously been affected by subsidence, landslip or historic movement can be difficult.

It’s usually a survey which brings this to light and it’s common in older houses with limited or no foundations and 20th century homes built on clay soil.

Many insurers will simply say no, without asking for any more information, even if the movement was in the 19th century or before and if it isn’t getting worse.

If you’re getting home insurance quotes online, be careful before you tick any boxes. The “previous movement” statement may be amongst many others you are agreeing to. If you agree that your home has not “been affected by any structural movement” and it has, no matter how long ago, you could be invalidating your policy. If you have a mortgage on the policy, the bank will usually require subsidence cover so choosing not to take subsidence cover, or inadvertently invalidating this cover could put you in breach of your mortgage terms and conditions.

If you are thinking of buying a property with a history of movement, ask for a Certificate of Structural Adequacy or a Structural Engineer’s Report which shows that the cause of the movement has been removed, that any cracks have been properly filled and that the superstructure is now sound. For help and advice, talk to Aston Lark. We understand the challenges of subsidence and historic movement and have access to insurers that appreciate this too.

Case study:

Mrs Parsons’ home insurance did not include subsidence cover, due to signs of cracking around the windows. The cracks had not been worked on since the property was purchased. On our advice, Mrs Parsons called in a structural engineer who pointed out that the windows had not been properly installed. This was corrected, the cracking filled, and full subsidence cover agreed with a higher than usual, but acceptable, excess.

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