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Buildings Insurance - Subsidence

SUBSIDENCE - You will need help with this one!

First of all, it is going to cost you. There is a substantial excess, so you will have to pay the first part of any claim. Most policies now impose £1,000 but you can shop around for less. I hope you have some savings put to one side!

Second, your claim will take months, if not years to resolve. But more about the handling of subsidence claims under household claims handling. There is a long list of exclusions. Here is a typical list. If one or more of these apply, you are on your own.

All the outside drives, paths, terraces, walls, gates and so on are not covered unless your main buildings or outbuildings are damaged.
Landslip by coastal erosion
Movement of solid floor slabs unless foundations beneath outside walls also damaged by the same cause
Bedding down of new structures or newly made-up ground settling.
Then there are the extra's that apply to standard cover. This is where you actually get some accidental damage cover with your standard perils.

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Underground service pipes and cables. Apart from wear and tear, you are pretty well covered for any damage you are responsible for as owner of the building.
Glass and sanitary fittings. Again accidental damage to your bathroom fixtures, built in ceramic hobs in your kitchen and all the fixed glass and glazing in your building. Beware, that this is a clause further on into the policy that will restrict what you can claim for. Each item is treated as a separate item, not as part of a suite. Thus, if your wash basin is accidentally damaged, don't expect your insurer to fork out for a new bathroom suite! This part of the policy might also carry the unoccupancy clause mentioned above.

Alternative Accommodation. Very important if your home is made uninhabitable owing to serious damage. Your insurer will pay for you to be put up elsewhere. This might be a local hotel or the extra cost to family and friends if they can give you a roof over your head. At least one insurer will also pay for your pets to go into boarding kennels if necessary. Cover might also provide for either loss of rent, if you are a landlord, or payment of rent due. There is a limit, a sum insured which is usually 20% of the overall sum insured for your buildings cover.
If you sell your property, the person who buys it can enjoy the benefit of the cover up to the date of completion provided they have no cover of their own.

BASIS OF SETTLEMENT - All good policies will provide for 'reinstatement'. That is, in effect, 'new for old'. It will be repaired with new parts and if the whole structure is beyond economical repair, it will re rebuilt with new parts and no contribution from you (except any excess). With some buildings, meeting new regulations might mean increased costs. Not a problem - but it only applies to the damaged part of the building. Demolishing, removing debris, shoring up and so on are all covered as are reasonable architects and surveyors fees, legal fees and fees for estimates, plans and so on.


Q: Please describe what happened.
A: Pregnant cat knocked over lamp on dressing table and then gave
birth on white carpet.
Q: What steps have you taken to prevent a recurrence?
A: Cat has been neutered.
Extracts taken from actual claim forms submitted to
a number of UK car insurance companies