About Underpinned Building Insurance UK
Insurance for buildings that have been underpinned in the past is probably the most difficult of all building insurance to place. Anyone completing an underpinned building insurance proposal form knows that there is now a whole list of questions asking about building problems in your area, particular problems in your own property and even if there are any trees or shrubs within influencing distance of your home. In the first instance, it is recommended that any underpinned insurance should stay with the insurer who actually paid or have authorized the remedial work to be carried out. If you wish to purchase a problem related Building have a word with the vendor, they will usually be quite helpful and should be able to put you in touch with their insurer.
You may find that some companies are prepared to offer you an underpinned building insurance policy but excluding insurance for subsidence, whilst this might seem like an option for you, it isn’t, undoubtedly your mortgage lender will want the peril covered to satisfy their terms and conditions and secondly, if the problem reoccurs, you may get a nasty surprise when you find out the cost of the remedial work. Subsidence is classed as the downward movement of the ground supporting the building. Sometimes only part of the building will be affected, sometimes all of it. Problems can become acute when different parts off the building move by different amounts and directions. The three main types of movement that effect property are:-
-Subsidence – the downward movement of property
-Landslip – the movement of ground down a slope
-Heave – the upward movement of ground supporting a property
The causes are various and many factors contributed to movement or an increased susceptibility to movement. The following are all factors:-
Soil Type – a clay soil is more likely to produce problems as they can shrink during periods of dry weather then expand again when moisture returns.
Trees & Shrubs – the proximity of Trees or Shrubs to your property can be a serious factor depending on their ability to remove moisture from the ground
Drain Problems – cracked or damaged drains may result in water seepage in to the ground surrounding the property.
Mine Workings – properties that are constructed over mine workings or made up ground may experience subsidence problems
Reducing the Risks – a good program of maintenance should help protect your property against possible damage. Guttering and pipes should be checked on a regular basis and any damage rectified to prevent unnecessary water seepage in to the soil. Trees and shrubs should be kept pruned although it may be best if you seek guidance from a professional before undertaking any drastic cutting back or pruning. Different trees and shrubs take different amounts of water from the soil and this should also be a consideration before planting anything new at your property.
What to look out for – many properties, have hairline cracks and a certain about of cracking is only to be expected particularly in newly built properties or extensions. However, you should look out for small, usually diagonal, cracks which suddenly appear in plasterwork inside and outside bricks at weak points, such as around the doors and windows, especially after long periods of dry weather. Any crack that is thicker than the edge of a ten pence coin may warrant further investigation. Any doors or windows that stick may also indicate a problem.
What to do about it – if you suspect that your Building is suffering from damage, you should notify your insurance company as soon as possible. They will probably arrange for a representative to inspect your property and fit Tell-Tale signs to monitor if the problem is ongoing or not.