Householders Guide

Subsidence

Subsidence occurs when the ground beneath the property starts to sink and causes the property to move on its foundations.
Subsidence will increase the risk level on a building insurance policy and therefore result in higher premiums or excesses. If your property has been effected affected by subsidence you should be able to have your property insured so long as professional repair work has been carried out.
There are many ways you can minimize the risk of subsidence, for example:

  • Take action at the first signs of any structural damage to your home, for example, if you notice any large cracks appearing in walls get them checked by a professional. The quicker problem is identified the easier and cheeper it’s remedied. Not all cracks are a sign of subsidence so don’t panic, any crack which are not evidence of subsidence can be easily repaired.
  • If you are planting trees around your home, find out their mature height and how large the spread of their roots. Tree roots can infiltrate and damage foundations and drains, so plant them at a safe distance form your property.
  • Removing large established trees could destabilise your home’s foundations, especially areas where there is clay soil. If in any doubt consult a specialist.
  • Prune shrubs and trees to a manageable height. This will minimize the risk of the soil drying out and help prevent subsidence developing.
  • Keep gutters clean, regularly remove any dirt, rubbish or leaves. The same goes for drains clear any blockages immediately.
  • Regularly inspect pipes for leaks especially during the cold winter months.