That Sinking Feeling

Subsidence insurance is there to protect houses that are sinking into the ground and moving on their foundations. Although this usually isn’t as damaging as it sounds, it can be an incredibly severe issue and our insurance is there to protect those who otherwise would have to pay out for damages on their subsiding house.

Clay soil is particularly susceptible to this because of its tendency to expand when wet and contract when dry. This sensitivity to moisture tends not to be a problem. The soil simply shrinks and expands with the changing weather. This means that there are no permanent problems caused by the soil and no damage sustained.

However, a period of dry weather can change this – the clay soil never gets a chance to recover. From here, problems arise, and lasting damage can be done to the property. Damaged drains can also cause issues regarding subsidence. Underground water leaks weaken the soil structure and compromise the structure’s foundations.

When you apply for subsidence insurance, you may be asked about the type and number of trees within your house’s vicinity. Research shows that trees often add to the likelihood of subsidence. This is due to their ability to suck moisture from the ground up to six metres in depth and at a diameter of even further. For this reason, trees can have a large impact on the soil near your home. The main offenders include ash, oak, plane, poplar, sycamore and willow.

If you’re unsure whether you have subsidence problems, there are things you can look for within your home. These include doors and windows becoming stuck in your house as your building begins to distort. However, what you should really be looking for are cracks appearing in or outside your house.

The distinctive cracks caused by subsidence are difficult to miss. They are thicker than a ten pence piece and wider at the top than the bottom. These cracks, along with any new ones appearing at weak points in the house’s plaster, should be of concern. You should remember though, that cracks in any house, old or new, can be perfectly normal. What you should be worried about are those that appear to worsen in a short period of time – weeks or months. Many ‘normal’ cracks will settle and remain the same for years.

If your home is affected by subsidence and you need a tailored quote to protect your home call Alternative Insurance Brokers  today on 0161 388 2520.