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What is subsidence?
Subsidence is the downward movement of the ground under your home. This movement can cause your foundation to sink or shift unevenly, creating characteristic damage inside and outside of the house. Homes situated on clay tend to be more susceptible to subsidence than homes on other types of soil, as clay will expand in wet weather and contract in dry weather. Leaky drains and tree roots can also cause a house to subside.
Conversely, heave is the upward movement of the ground under your home.
What can subsidence look like?
The signs of subsidence in a home can be distinctive. The main visible effect of subsidence could include but it’s not limited to a crack in the wall that is:
- Wider at the top than the bottom
- On the inside and outside of the house, i.e. in both the internal drywall and external brickwork in the same place
- Wider than 3mm
- Near doors and windows
Of course, not all cracks are signs of subsidence. Occasionally, small cracks will appear in the walls of newly-built houses, but these are just a result of the house settling under its own weight and should not necessarily be cause for concern.
While cracks are the most well-known effect of subsidence, other signs include:
- Doors and windows jamming or fitting incorrectly
- Wallpaper crinkling where the wall meets the floor or ceiling
- Cracks where an extension meets the main part of the house
How can I prevent subsidence?
While it may not be possible to prevent subsidence from occurring in every situation, there are a number of ways you can lessen its potential impact before it starts.
- Perform regular tree maintenance. If you can, remove any trees or bushes planted close to the house under the advice of a tree surgeon and be careful about where you plant new ones. A tree’s root system can expand under the house in search of moisture and draw that moisture out, causing the house to subside. If you cannot remove the trees, make sure to prune them regularly. This will reduce the amount of moisture they take up from the soil.
- Check your rain gutters. Improperly maintained or leaky rain gutters, drains and downpipes can cause rainwater to wash away fine soil particles, creating empty spaces in the soil. Ensuring that rain gutters and other drainage systems are functioning correctly will keep soil as it should be and excess water away from the foundation of your home.
- Recognise the signs of subsidence. As mentioned above, there are a number of unique signs that subsidence may be occurring in your home; however, some of the signs may not always mean that subsidence is occurring. Keeping an eye on these things inside your home and calling professionals for help when needed will keep you well informed of what’s happening and ready to take action should things progress.
What does subsidence insurance with esure cover?
If you know that your property has had subsidence in the past but you didn’t inform us when you bought your insurance, you will not be covered.
Straightening things out after subsidence is important to us. Should you experience some shifting, here’s what we would cover:
|Loss of or damage to your buildings caused by heave, subsidence or landslip||YES||If subsidence, heave or landslip affects your buildings, we would cover you. Excess applicable to this cover is £1000.|
|Loss of or damage to your contents caused by heave, subsidence or landslip||YES||Similarly, if subsidence, heave or landslip damaged or caused the loss of your contents, you would be covered. Excess applicable to this cover is £1000.|
|Loss or damage caused by coastal erosion||NO||Unfortunately, loss or damage caused by coastal erosion would not be covered.|
|Inadequate foundations that did not meet building regulations in place at the time of construction||NO||Unfortunately, if damage is caused to the foundation of your home, and the home did not meet the building regulations in place at the time of its construction, we would not be able to cover it.|
|Loss or damage due to settlement||NO||Unfortunately, loss or damage caused by settlement would not be covered.|
Other optional extras you can get with your home insurance
Getting these great Optional Extras for your home insurance can help enhance your cover.
Personal Possessions Cover
Spend a little extra to get cover for accidental loss, damage and theft of your personal possessions while they are temporarily removed from your home anywhere in the United Kingdom and for up to 60 consecutive days anywhere in the rest of the world.
For a small fee you can avoid ringing around – you can claim for the call out charge and the professional extermination or control of wasps nests, hornets nests, rats, mice or grey squirrels subject to an overall limit of £150 (including VAT per claim).
For the treatment of bed bugs this cover will pay the contractors charges subject to a maximum of three treatments/extermination and an overall limit of £200 (including VAT) of bed bugs in one infested area in the Home’
For full information, and terms and conditions on these Optional Extras please look at the policy booklet.