The UK’s long hot summer has caused major subsidence problems in properties across the country.
According to insurers, claims reached their highest level for 12 years between July and September, when average daily temperatures regularly reached 30C.
South-eastern England was the worst-affected area because much of the soil there is clay, which is prone to subsidence.
Ground starts to shrink
The Association of British Insurers said more than 10,000 households had made claims on their household insurance that were worth £64 million. That’s a four-fold rise on the amount of claims in the previous three months.
Subsidence occurs when the ground underneath property loses moisture and starts to shrink. The summer heatwave was a significant factor in this because as the dry spell continued, what water remained in the soil was being absorbed by trees and shrubs, causing the soil to contract.
Subsidence appears as sudden cracks in a building, often around doors and windows, and usually appear as a diagonal. Unless dealt with promptly, it can lead to the property becoming instable.
Covered by buildings insurance
Most subsidence is covered by buildings insurance. Laura Hughes of the Association of British Insurers said: “Insurers understand that this is a stressful time for affected homeowners and are providing widespread support to help with repairs.”
For anyone looking to purchase a property, spotting the signs of subsidence early can help them make an informed decision on whether to proceed.
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