Not every crack is a problem, but look out for distinctive diagonal cracks that appear at the edges of windows and doors.
If you think your property is subsiding, the first thing to do is contact your buildings insurance provider. The quicker you deal with the problem, the better. The first thing the insurer needs to do is check that the damage is due to subsidence. This is not always immediately obvious and can sometimes take several months to resolve.
An expert may need to be sent to your property to assess the damage and decide the best course of action. This can involve a period of time where the property is monitored to see how much it moves and what's causing the movement.
Your insurer will normally pay for the cost of the expert they appoint to investigate the subsidence problem even if it turns out the damage is not due to subsidence.When the assessment is complete, the expert will recommend what needs to happen next. Only in extreme cases does the house need to be underpinned. This is where 'pins' of concrete are made underneath the existing foundations to support them.
Before any work begins, you'll need to pay any excess stated on your home insurance policy. There's usually a compulsory excess for subsidence work, which can often be more than the voluntary excess you agree when you take out your policy. If you have any difficulty in paying the excess speak to your insurer as they may be able to offset some of the repairs against the policy excess.
Once the work is agreed and the excess paid, the insurance company will cover the cost of the work and often the cost of moving to an alternative property if you need to move out whilst the work is happening.
After all, that's what buildings insurance is for.
If you’re planning on selling your home and you need to claim for subsidence damage, your insurer can often transfer the claim to the new owners, so that the repairs can be carried out after the sale completes. You’ll need to agree who will pay the excess as part of the sale. If the new owner wants Buildings insurance, they can often obtain this from your existing insurer, so they should contact them to ask for a quotation.
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