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What to disclose to insurers regarding subsidence

If you are in the market for insurance on a property that has suffered subsidence in the past, it is worth getting your information together ahead of time.

What to disclose to insurers regarding subsidence

What to disclose to insurers regarding subsidence

Knowing exactly what you need to disclose to insurers will help you obtain a relevant and accurate policy in the quickest possible time.

When the movement happened

The timeframe since the subsidence occurred can have an impact on the number of insurers available, as well as how extensive the information you need to provide.

For example, more insurers may be more comfortable if the movement is over 10 or 15 years ago. You may not need to provide documentation after a certain point in time, maybe after 25 years.

While some companies may ask their subsidence question in a different way, there is usually no time period where you do not have to disclose subsidence at all, it doesn’t “expire” like a claim would after 5 years, or points on a driving licence for example.

What the cause was

This is particularly important to know, as the insurer will want to make sure that preventative measures have been taken to stop the same issue from cropping up again.

With this question, the insurer is likely wanting to know more than “subsidence” or “heave” and is trying to get to the bottom of why it actually happened. A few examples could be a leaking drain washing away foundations, or tree roots taking too much moisture out of the soil.

How severe the damage was

The main thing to understand here is the cost of the claim, as this can give some indication of the severity of the damage.

For example some minor cracking caused to a tree, might cost £5,000 or less, and shows that the damage was relatively minor.

A more substantial claim, that requires the house to be fully underpinned for example, may cost £50,000 or more.

With subsidence in particular though, a big claim doesn’t necessarily mean bad news. More extreme cases may require more comprehensive measures to be taken, which can make an insurer feel more comfortable about accepting it.

What the preventative measures were

Measures can vary from something as simple as cutting back a tree, all the way up to underpinning a whole property.

In absolute worst cases, poorly built houses have been taken down and rebuilt completely with more adequate support in place.

This is an essential piece of information to disclose to insurers. This gives them the confidence that appropriate measures have been taken to prevent subsidence from reoccurring.

When the work was completed

Time is a great indicator of how successful a repair or a preventative measure is, and the more time between the fix and present day, the more chance there has been for a problem to reoccur.

Therefore, if your repairs were carried out in the last 12 months, you may find a limited number of companies will be able to take on that risk.

The exact date usually isn’t necessary, but if you can get the month and the year to disclose to insurers, that is a great place to start.


Unless the movement was twenty years ago or more, it’s pretty likely that your insurer will want documentation before they will agree to cover you for subsidence in the future.

The main documents that are accepted are Certificates of Structural Adequacy, Guarantees of Works, Full Structural Surveys and Subsidence surveys. It is worth getting digital copies of these ready to email over.

If you’re not sure about whether your information is detailed enough, or you’re already well prepared, GSI Insurance Services (Southern) Ltd. are on hand to help. Give us a call on 0800 612 9376, or click Get a Quote to fill in our online form.

Need some more information?

Why not read one of our other subsidence insurance guides?

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