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The Pulse: GSI News

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What does subsidence insurance cover?

Are we in for a hot, dry summer? Are there shrubs or trees growing close to the walls of your property? Or have there been mine workings in your area some time in the past? All of these may have the potential for causing one of the biggest fears and headaches for any property owner – subsidence.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps the Royal Horticultural Society insists that trees are not always to blame and quite properly points out that there are a number of factors contributing the risk of subsidence.

At GSI Insurance, we have published our own detailed guide to subsidence in a bid to promote a broader understanding of the problem, consider ways of tackling it and, not least of all, to help our customers secure the subsidence cover they may need.

Why is it difficult getting cover?

Subsidence is a problem that may be difficult accurately to identify, especially in its early stages when the cost of putting things right might be relatively reasonable. The problems in identifying the risk and the potentially high cost of remedial works mean that many insurers are reluctant to extend subsidence cover, especially if there has been evidence of it in the past.

The website Homebuilding and Renovating also notes that even though some insurers might continue to cover a home that has been treated for subsidence and recognise the remedial works that have been done, when it comes to a new buyer of that property, cover may be declined.

The solution

Since not all insurers are prepared to include subsidence in the buildings cover typically included in standard home insurance or landlord’s insurance, it is important to check whether your own policy incorporates such protection or not.

And if you are having trouble getting accepted for subsidence cover, then please give us a call, as we are specialists in this particular type of cover.

Whilst arranging cover for the risk of subsidence, there are a few factors you may wish to take into account:

  • typically, the related problems of heave and settlement are also included along with subsidence – you might want to check whether this is the case;
  • you might also need to be clear about the size of any excess that is almost certain to attach to any claim relating to subsidence – with such claims, the excess might be considerably higher than other types of claim and may be as much as £1,000;
  • remember that subsidence cover typically applies only to the main building of your property and excludes damage to other outbuildings, shed and walls;
  • if subsidence does occur, any remedial building works may need to be so extensive that it is impossible to continue living in your home or letting it to the tenants who are normally in occupation – in that event, you may be glad of the alternative accommodation or compensation for loss of rental income that may be included in your subsidence insurance cover.

It remains to be seen whether the conditions this summer make your property especially vulnerable to subsidence. If you are in any doubt at all, however, and are looking for appropriate cover at a competitive price, now might be just the time to contact us.

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