As UK summers get hotter, cases of subsidence are on the increase. Subsidence is when the ground beneath a building sinks due to unstable soil. According to insurance company LV=, claims for subsidence soared following 2020’s hot weather. Yet a survey by the insurer found that less than half of homeowners know the signs to look out for.
The study also revealed that, of those who had spotted evidence of subsidence, the most common response was to call their insurer (51 per cent). A further 22 per cent would contact a building surveyor, but more than a quarter (26 per cent) said they would do nothing.
Martin Milliner, claims director at LV= said: “During the summer months, intense heat can affect our foundations and lead to subsidence, especially if your home is built on clay soil. Our research has found that many homeowners don’t fully understand the significant signs of subsidence, and we want to help consumers be confident enough to spot them at an early stage.”
To help make homeowners more subsidence savvy, LV= lists the main signs, including diagonal cracks at the edges of windows and doors, which are thicker than the width of a 10p coin. Doors or windows that stick for no reason, particularly in summer, and tears in wallpaper, which are not caused by damp, should also be looked out for.
You can help prevent subsidence by pruning trees and large shrubs, checking water pipes and gutters for persistent leaks, which can soften soil, and laying gravel, stones or turf around your home to allow water to drain.
Martin Milliner, added: “From our research, we can also see that a high proportion of homeowners don’t know if their buildings insurance covers subsidence, and I’d encourage them to check so it’s not a potential costly problem in the future.”
Read more about this story on the Property Wire website.