Subsidence Damage Claims | Unlike other insurance claims, subsidence damage can be hard to prove.
Not all cracks in walls and plaster work mean you have a subsidence problem; many are caused by natural movement in the house structure due to seasonal temperature and moisture level changes.
These tiny cracks are often in a corner where a stud wall joins a block wall or where a wall joins the ceiling and are generally nothing to worry about, diagonal cracks in walls wider than the thickness of a €1 coin are much more of a worry.
Most household insurance policies – and some commercial property insurance policies – cover loss or damage caused by subsidence, heave and landslip. Therefore it is best to have them assessed and repaired before the problem gets any bigger.
Factors which may cause subsidence damage
As several factors can cause subsidence damage, the most disputed area in subsidence claims is “curing the cause” rather than the repairing the damage already done.
If a broken drain or badly culverted stream is washing the soil away from under your home, just filling the cracks, replacing twisted door frames is just kicking the can down the road. Around 20% of claims have a curable cause, but without a proper investigation it might not be discovered.
Many new houses develop cracks, especially those ones built on the ground with high clay content. When soil dries out, it shrinks slightly causing cracks in the plaster and sometimes in the brickwork. The cracks do not always close after it rains, and over a period, sometimes years, they widen considerably.
This is kind of subsidence can be compounded by the close proximity of moisture hungry trees and shrubs. As a rule of thumb do not plant trees any closer to the property than the maximum height the tree could reach.
Another related problem occurs when large trees close to a property are cut down or pruned severely. The moisture this vegetation used to draw away from the building causes the soil to swell up and “foundation heave” can be the result.
Insurance Claim Solutions Subsidence Damage Claim Assistance
Unfortunately checking the cause of subsidence damage can be disruptive and time consuming, with site investigations such as trial holes, soil and drainage tests, and monitoring sometimes over a period of months.
When you report the claim to your insurers they will appoint their expert an experienced loss adjuster to deal with the claim on the insurance companies behalf.
This loss adjuster will visit the site, access the damage, take photos, investigate the loss and then recommend a settlement to the insurers. Loss adjusters work for, or are directly employed by the insurance company. It is in the interest of the loss adjuster to limit the losses to insurance company as much as possible.
This is especially so with subsidence claims as underground repair work is much more expensive than patching the above ground cracks.
If you have a worry about cracks that have recently occurred to your property or your insurance company only wants to “fix the cracks” but not their cause, call us.
We have expert knowledge to assess the damage, ascertain the cause and what remedial action will be needed to fix the problem permanently.
We can then handle your claim from start to finish, keeping you informed each step of the way. The sooner we visit your home and make a full assessment of the damage and the work needed to effect the repairs, the better we can present your claim to your insurance company.