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Insuring a property with historical movement

[intro]Is it possible to get a realistic insurance premium on a property with a history of subsidence? Although these two words: ‘insurance’ and ‘subsidence’ often strike fear into the hearts of homeowners, with specialist insurers insuring a property with historical movement really isn’t that hard.[/intro]

“Has there been any signs of historical movement?”

This is a standard question asked by many mainstream insurance companies. Answering ‘yes’ to this question to a conventional insurer, can automatically trigger rejection or a higher premium in an often automated and frustrating ‘computer says no’ scenario.
Evidence of movement often comes to light in many older homes during the mortgage survey. Ironically given the very current impact this can have on insurance premiums, the movement probably happened years ago and not long after building work was complete. The likelihood is that the property has never moved again since, but nonetheless, the evidence is there and the question will be asked.

A specialist solution

Mention subsidence and insurance in the same sentence and most home owners fear the worst, however it need not be the headache many people assume. Few people realise that specialist insurers have a professional knowledge of subsidence and so take an informed and realistic approach to quotations, as opposed to the black and white attitude held by mainstream insurers.
Highworth Insurance’s access to specialist insurers in matters of historical movement, can often result in cover provided on standard terms.

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The mortgage-insurance-subsidence triangle

It is customary for standard insurers to apply higher excesses to properties with historical movement, especially if they didn’t issue the original policy. This can further complicate matters for buyers looking to mortgage the property, especially if evidence of movement is discovered as part of the mortgage survey. Many mortgage companies will rarely accept excesses greater than £2,500 and here again Highworth Insurance is usually able to salvage the situation by meeting these requirements whilst still offering realistic premiums.

New instances of subsidence

Historical movement is just one aspect of subsidence. Slippage can occur at any point in a buildings life and for a variety of reasons. Reasons for more recent movement can include:

  • Large trees sucking water from soil, causing footings to collapse.
  • Collapsed drains eroding footings.
  • Old mining activity causing trouble if old tunnels collapse beneath your home.
  • Clay soil; notorious for causing subsidence, particularly in parts of London. The soil expands and contracts due to drought or large amounts of rain.

Additional useful tips

  • Approximately 40,000 homes a year are effected by subsidence in the UK.
  • If you are thinking of buying a property with a history of movement, be sure to the Certificate of Structural Adequacy. Crucially this proves that the problem has been investigated and that further movement is unlikely.
  • Remember, if you are buying a property, you need to have buildings insurance in place from the date you exchange contracts with the sellers and not from the date you move in.
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Specialist insurers for sensible solutions

If you own a property or are looking to buy a property with a history of subsidence, be sure to seek out specialist insurers rather than standard high street companies. This way you can be sure you are dealing with a knowledgeable team who understand the risks involved with such properties.

You can speak to our experienced advisors at Highworth Insurance regarding any of the above information and to receive a realistic and informed quotation today.