Is subsidence insurance expensive?
The average annual cost of home insurance for homes with a history of subsidence is £4171.
The exact cost you pay to insure a property with subsidence varies depending on:
The type of building
How close trees are to the property
How close the property is to water
Location: Some areas, such as London and the south-east of England, are at greater risk of subsidence, and this could affect the cost of your insurance
The other factors that affect home insurance also apply, such as:
- The size of the property
- The property’s rebuild cost
- Your claims history
- Any optional additional cover you include
We’ll ask if your home has had subsidence in the past when you start to compare quotes. It often costs more to cover a home with subsidence, and you may also find fewer insurers will cover you.
If you claim for subsidence, your insurance costs are likely to go up when you renew your policy. For more information on the state of the home insurance industry, see our home insurance statistics report.
1Confused.com data Jan 2023 - June 2023.
What causes subsidence?
Subsidence is caused by either too much or too little moisture in the soil beneath your home’s foundations. Too little moisture causes the ground to shrink beneath your property, and too much moisture can result in the earth underneath being washed away. Both can result in your property sinking.
Different factors can change the moisture balance and increase the chance of subsidence in a home, including:
Nearby trees and shrubs: Large trees and shrubs close to your home can suck up any moisture in the soil through their roots. This could cause the soil to dry up, crack, and sink.
Leaking drains and burst pipes: Too much water in the soil around your home, from leaks or burst pipes, can cause it to wash away and sink.
Mining: If your house is built over an old mine or near an old quarry, the ground beneath it could be structurally unsound. If you need to claim for coal mining damage, do that through the Coal Authority and not through your home insurance.
- Periods of intense weather: Flash flooding or summer droughts change the moisture levels in soil. According to ABI subsidence claims data, there were more than 18,000 claims for subsidence after the summer heatwave of 2022, with an average payout of £9,600 per claim.
- The age of your property: Subsidence is more common in Victorian and Edwardian houses as their foundations are shallower than the UK minimum of 1 metre required for modern houses. As such, they’re at greater risk of damage.
- Clay: Subsidence is more common in areas with clay-rich soil, like much of south-east Britain, as clay is sensitive to moisture. This makes it expand when wet and contract when dry – not ideal with changeable British weather.
What our home insurance expert says:
What are the signs of subsidence?
Cracks in the walls are one of the most common signs of subsidence.
Cracks caused by subsidence usually appear suddenly, often after hot, dry weather. They’re usually:
- Visible on both the outside and inside of the wall
- Found around doors and windows, or around a weak spot like where an extension meets the main property
- Wider at the top
- Thicker than a 10p coin
Don't confuse subsidence cracks with other types of cracks, such as settlement cracks. Hairline cracks are generally not a cause for concern, but you should check out any crack that continues to grow.
Settlement cracks are common in new build houses under 10 years old, or after recent renovation work like a new extension. These are caused by the house settling into its foundations and naturally sinking down a little.
Other common signs of subsidence include:
- Doors and windows sticking for no obvious reason
- Rippling wallpaper that isn’t caused by damp or moisture
- Solid ground floors sloping or dipping where they didn’t before
If you spot any of these problems, let your home insurance provider know as soon as you can. They’ll likely arrange a survey to check subsidence is definitely the issue.
Types of home insurance
protects your home and its contents from those unexpected accidents.
protects your thatched roof home against theft, loss and damage.
get cover for your non-standard home. Protect your belongings against theft, loss and damage.
can offer some protection for your home and belongings if you live in a flood risk area.
Find cover for old listed buildings and new builds alike.
Home insurance guides
Our collection of UK home insurance statistics for 2023, such as average UK home insurance costs, UK home insurance market share and property insurance claim statistics.
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