View Full Version : House insurance?

20th Feb 2004, 21:59
JB might not be such an appropriate forum for this (!) but here goes......

I am paying a lot for my current home insurance and want to switch. The reason is that the building I live in was built in 1882 and like most of the fair city of Edinburgh, it has settled a wee bit into the soft ground. There's nothing to see, just a floor not quite level. It is scarcely noticeable and is just the initial movement after construction over 100 years ago, but when it comes to applying for home insurance there always ask if the building has suffered from any subsidence.

Being honest I always say yes and find it hard to get a reasonable policy. Of course, I could just keep my mouth shut like most people do! Anyone have a good insurer or know any good brokers I could try?

Current crowd are actually very good and have excellent cover, but at a price!!


20th Feb 2004, 22:04
What you're referring to may not be subsidence (ie long term issues with shifiting ground) but settling (one-off shift leaving minor cracks which remain the same width). You can check by using a crack monitor, and may be able to give a cheaper answer to your insurer with a clean conscience!

The Invisible Man
20th Feb 2004, 22:17
I'm sorry I said I wouldn't post today...but...

Todays modern houses are built on what is refered to as a slab or raft foundation. Which means the whole house is on concrete. The slab moves, the house moves, no cracks ( apart from settlement cracks which all houses will have).

A house that old would only have concrete of any depth where it had to support the walls. Hence, where the ground or concrete moved on one side of the house, largish cracks would appear, and underpinning then had to follow if really bad.

It would pay you to have a mini structural survey done. Tell the company of your concerns and if all is well, ie settlement cracks, you would probably save the cost of survey in a year or so if your premiums are that high.

Hope this helps.

Shuts up and posts no more:uhoh:

Evening Star
20th Feb 2004, 22:19
"'Settlement' is applied to the failure of the components of the building; and

'Subsidence' is used where the building is damaged by a failure in the ground."

'Surveying Buildings'
Prof Malcolm Hollis

Therefore, to reclassify subsidence as settlement is risky. Should something go wrong it will be an easy get out clause for the insurance company. Best approach is to have the building surveyed for active movement, and should there be no active movement have the report available for submission to the insurance company.

If you need to know some suitable specialist surveyors to carry out that work PM me as I have contacts.

20th Feb 2004, 22:36
Stockpicker says You can check by using a crack monitor I think I have seen the police using one of those in Brixton! :D

Sorry Hufty, back to thread

21st Feb 2004, 00:09
I am available to investigate all cracks, small medium or large :E

Hint: TIM should check his PMs.

21st Feb 2004, 03:01
Thanks everybody - I just re-read the structural survey that I had carried out when I bought the place and it said something like "evidence of historical settlement not inconsistent with the age of the building".

I'll explore the "settlement" vs "subsidence" thing a bit more as there might be a get-out!!

Thanks again,

21st Feb 2004, 05:17
On topic (just)..we bought this house 5 years ago.. a 1978 built 'modern' largish detached property. The previous occupier built an extension to the rear a year or so before we moved in - I'm sat in it now, single story 'sun lounge', WC and kitchen extension.

It still seems to be moving slightly - 'zig - zag' cracks to the mortar on the outside side wall - floor dropped in relation to the skirting board. When we had the 'survey' done, the surveyor noticed this, but said it was probably due to 'initial settlement, which is probably not progressive' - I patched the outside wall a couple of times over the past few years but cracks still open up. Now, the builder 'blended' (I'm sure there is a builders term for this) the wall into the main house ie - inserted half bricks into it. I think thats what's causing the evidence, but I'm unsure what is acceptable settling of a new extension against an existing structure, and how long it takes to cease movement under normal circumstances. There is absolutly no evidence of movement of the main building.

Any Civil Engineers like to advise?