Subsidence cracks records following summer heatwave
The hot weather over the summer is being blamed for subsidence issues, with four times as many claims than normal coming in over July, August and September.
The figures, from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), passed the 10,000 mark in the three month period, with pay outs coming to a whopping £64m.
Even the record-breaking hot summers of 2003 and 2006 didn’t come close to this year’s figures, the highest recorded since ABI records began 25 years ago.
The ABI’s Laura Hughes said: “Thousands of people across the UK are now suffering because we experienced such an unprecedented period of dryness this Summer. Insurers understand that this is a stressful time for affected homeowners and are providing widespread support to help with repairs.”
Richard Truman, Head of Operations at Simple Landlords Insurance, added: “It’s not just about the impact of the hot weather on the ground – it’s also about the plants growing in the ground around your properties. After a very dry summer, they will have absorbed what rainfall there was, and even pushed roots into new areas seeking moisture.
“When people talk about insurance and vegetation they usually go straight to Japanese knotweed, but actually very ordinary garden trees like willows, sycamores and oaks demand a lot of water, and have root systems that can cause considerable damage.”
Subsidence - what to look out for:
- Houses in the South East are most prone to issues with subsidence, given the clay soil in much of the region
- Check your properties for diagonal cracks developing suddenly – those appearing over time probably aren’t a sign of subsidence issues – especially above windows and doors
- If cracks are wider than a 10p piece, and if they taper so they’re wider at the top than the bottom, they should be investigated further by a surveyor, and you need to put in a call to your insurer
- Remember vegetation can be a subsidence risk, so it’s important to maintain the size –and distance - of trees and plants around your properties.