ABI warns homeowners to watch out for subsidence
The UK has suffered the driest 18 months since records and with the south east and east Anglia already officially in a state of drought the Association of British Insurers (ABI) is warning home owners to be aware of the risk of subsidence.
Changing water levels in the ground can cause movement in the foundations of a building, leading to cracks in walls, floors and ceilings, and the risk of subsidence is likely to increase as we move into summer.
Subsidence can also be caused by blocked drains causing the ground to become waterlogged for a long period of time.
The ABI is advising home owners to contact their home building insurance firm at the first sign of subsidence.
Cracks wider than 5mm, doors that no longer close properly and slanted windows are all signs that a house may have suffered subsidence damage.
After a risk is reported, insurance firms should send out a subsidence specialist to assess the damage and arrange for repairs.
If the damage is extensive the occupants of the property may have to move out while repairs are carried, so it is well worth taking action before the problem becomes too serious.
Although subsidence is usually covered by home insurance policies, householders are likely to have to pay £1,000 for the excess fee.
Properties with a history of subsidence are likely to cost substantially more to insure.
Ongoing subsidence in a property can also cause problems if it is put up for sale as it may affect the potential purchaser’s ability to get a mortgage.
The ABI has also warned that around 200,000 UK homes are at increased risk of flooding and it could be difficult for their owners to purchase insurance cover if the government fails to build flood-control infrastructure.
An agreement between the ABI and the government in 2000 guaranteed that UK insurers would cover homes in high-risk areas where the government was planning to complete flood defences within five years.
However the government may now be unable to complete the necessary infrastructure due to lack of funds.