Subsidence and Your Building Insurance Policy

If there’s one word that strikes fear into the heart of a homeowner, it’s ‘subsidence’.

The idea of your home slowly sinking below ground isn’t a particularly nice one, for obvious reasons, and it has major ramifications both for a property’s value and how much it will cost the owner to insure in the future.

Don’t panic at every crack that appears as all property structures shrink and swell naturally with changing temperatures, moisture levels and seasons. And new building work tends to take time to settle.

However, some signs are particularly more significant than others and include:

  • Cracks appearing in plaster work on each side of a wall.
  • Cracks which taper so that they start out much thicker at one end than the other, perhaps thicker than a 50 pence piece.
  • Larger cracks appearing after long spells of very dry weather and which go below the damp proof course.
  • Doors and windows that stick and progressively get worse over time, and not just with the seasons.
  • Damaged drains leaking near the property can wash away soil, weakening foundations.

What to do if you have to make a subsidence claim

If you’re worried, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Contact your Home Insurance provider as soon as you spot any potential signs of subsidence; doing so immediately may be a requirement of your policy, and you could also catch the problem early, preventing it from becoming even worse.

The insurer will then send an investigator, or claims assessor, to your house who is an expert in subsidence. They will assess the damage and what needs to be done, and arrange the necessary repairs.

If the cause is uncertain, the insurer’s specialist may monitor the problem over a number of months rather than have any work carried out immediately.

While cover for subsidence is standard in most home insurance policies, the excess (the first part of a claim which the policy holder pays) is higher as subsidence claims are generally more costly to the insurer. An excess figure of £1,000 is typical.

Getting Home Insurance after making a subsidence claim

It can be hard moving to another insurer after you’ve made a claim for subsidence, and you might be better off sticking with your existing insurer. Either way, you’re likely to see an increase in your monthly premiums.

If you do manage to switch providers, make sure you’re completely honest about having made a previous subsidence claim. Doing otherwise could see future claims turned down.

If you’re struggling to find any insurance cover at all due to subsidence history, there are a few specialist insurance brokers who take into account the particular circumstances of your property’s problems.

Policy Expert

Policy Expert is an online Home Insurance broker, dedicated to helping customers find the insurance policy that’s right for them. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, so we have a team of experts with a real passion for making sure people get the cover that’s right for them. Policy Expert is driven by a desire to help you find not only the best value insurance, but the right insurance for your individual needs. To speak to one of our experts, call 0203 014 9300 or email

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