An In-Depth Look at Subsidence: What It Is and How We Can Help

Subsidence - WS Insurance

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Subsidence is a term that’s been tossed around in property circles and is a significant concern for many homeowners. But what does it mean, and how does it impact property owners, particularly from an insurance perspective? In this article, we delve into the intricacies of subsidence and how, as general insurance brokers, can guide and protect homeowners.

What is Subsidence?

Subsidence refers to the downward movement or sinking of the ground beneath a building, not due to the weight of the structure. Essentially, it’s when the soil beneath a property compresses or shifts, leading the building to sink unevenly. This phenomenon is distinct from ‘settlement’, which is the natural sinking of a new building as the ground beneath it adjusts to its weight.

Causes of Subsidence

There are several causes for subsidence:

  1. Soil Type: Homes built on clay soils are more susceptible as clay shrinks during dry periods and swells when wet.
  2. Tree and Plant Roots: Large trees can absorb significant amounts of water from the soil, causing it to dry out and shrink.
  3. Leaking Drains: A leak can wash away or soften the soil beneath a structure.
  4. Mining Activities: Previous or current mining operations can undermine the integrity of the ground.

Spotting the Signs

Subsidence can manifest in various ways, but some common signs include:

  • Cracks in walls, especially if they are diagonal and wider at the top.
  • Cracks appearing after long dry spells.
  • Doors and windows sticking as their frames warp.
  • Cracks where an extension joins a house.

The Impact on Insurance

For homeowners, the mere mention of subsidence can be a cause for concern due to its potential to negatively impact property values and increase insurance premiums.

  • Claim History: Properties with a history of subsidence can be challenging to insure.
  • Policy Exclusions: Some policies may exclude damage due to subsidence.
  • Increased Premiums: If a property is at risk, insurance premiums might rise.

However, this is where steps in.

How Can Assist

As general insurance brokers, offers a suite of services tailored for homeowners facing subsidence issues:

  1. Expert Guidance: Our team understands the intricacies of subsidence and can guide homeowners on mitigating its impact.
  2. Tailored Policies: We connect clients with insurance providers that offer coverage specifically designed for homes with subsidence issues.
  3. Claims Assistance: If you’ve experienced damage due to subsidence, our team can guide you through the claim process, ensuring that you maximize your benefits.
  4. Risk Assessment: For those considering purchasing a property, we can assist in evaluating the risk of subsidence, ensuring peace of mind.


Subsidence, while alarming, doesn’t have to spell disaster for homeowners. With the right information, preventive measures, and a trusted insurance broker by your side, you can navigate the challenges it presents. At, we’re committed to offering that guiding hand, ensuring that your property remains both your sanctuary and a sound investment.

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