Insurance and Subsidence

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    Insurance and Subsidence

    Hi all,

    I wonder if anyone can offer any experience/knowledge on this.

    I have an opportunity to purchase a house on a good sized plot at below market value being sold by the executors of an estate. Reason for the valuation is that there is a current insurance claim going through for subsidence damage on one corner - I've seen the engineer's report and it's been caused by vegetation (tree roots) rather than land slip or anything worse. The recommendation in the report is to remove the tree. I understand the owner's estate are getting their insurance company to manage and resolve the claim, which is to request removal of the tree from the Council (which may not be approved, due to a TPO) and they are injecting the brickwork/ground with whatever substance they use. It will not require underpinning. The work will be complete before any sale goes through and I expect to receive a certificate of structural adequacy.

    I've spoken to the existing insurer who are happy to continue insuring the property with me and their premium is £270 (approx. double that I can get on a standard comparison website, assuming there was no subsidence). Those costs are acceptable to me.

    However, I understand that the insurer can and likely will jack up costs in years to come, so I spoke to a separate broker today about the implications of switching to another provider and this is where it gets potentially messy. I understand that some insurers will just flatly say no. Others will require their underwriter to assess it before quoting and they'll need all the details of what the issue was, what work was done etc.

    My plan is to demolish the existing structure and build 2 new semi's on the plot (all subject to planning, of course). These new builds will have brand new pile driven footings, so structurally they will be very sound and highly unlikely to be susceptible to subsidence, if done properly. Even if the offending tree isn't removed.

    What I don't want is for me or future buyers to run into problems with being able to insure the property(ies), so was wondering if anyone had experience of this scenario and whether, with the brand new structural footings in place, gaining insurance will be a (relative) formality in the future rather than a problem?

    Many thanks


    #2
    The offending tree may be pruned rather than removed. It's a bit of a gamble but that's why you are getting a price reduction. Speak to an insurance company or two, they are the only ones who can really answer this.

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