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Moderate-High Risk of Natural Ground Subsidence
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# 1
tuna_salmon
Old 12-09-2011, 8:58 PM
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Default Moderate-High Risk of Natural Ground Subsidence

Hi,

I tried searching for similar issues on subsidence but can't find any (probably used the wrong keywords). Anyway, I am in the process of buying a house and I asked for an environmental search. The search report (from GroundSure) came back stating that there is a moderate-high risk of natural ground subsidence.

I have checked the house and found no obvious cracks. I also had a Homebuyer Report done and the survey found no signs of subsidence. I have asked people who live around the area and no one knew of any subsidence issue within their neighbourhood.

This has given quite a bit of stress as my wife and I do like the house and it took us a while to find this house. I am not sure whether to walk away from the deal (after having spent the money on survey and searches) or to spend more money on a full structural survey. Also I am not sure how this will affect my home insurance policy. Anyone faced similar issue? How did you solve it (apart from walking away from the deal)?

Thanks.
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# 2
Procrastinator333
Old 12-09-2011, 9:07 PM
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Bearing in mind that there is no issue of subsidence currently at the property. Why not see if you can get insurance for it? If you can get insurance to cover subsidence, then what does it matter?
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# 3
Thrugelmir
Old 12-09-2011, 9:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuna_salmon View Post
came back stating that there is a moderate-high risk of natural ground subsidence.
Unless you build on solid rock there's always a risk. All houses move over time.
"The man who wishes to move a mountain begins by carrying away the small stones first."
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# 4
tuna_salmon
Old 12-09-2011, 9:38 PM
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Thanks for the response. I tried to get a quote online from Direct-Line and found that they made the following assumption:

"Has not been affected by subsidence or structural movement and is not in an area subject to subsidence"

I thought the part "not in an area subject to subsidence" refers to the "moderate-high risk natural ground subsidence" in the search report. However, shouldn't the insurance company know about the soil type of a particular post code?
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# 5
ruggedtoast
Old 12-09-2011, 10:09 PM
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Insurance companies will always use weasel words. I would take that to mean actual ground movement nearby rather than a risk on the report.
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# 6
hcb42
Old 12-09-2011, 10:45 PM
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see, now I would have taken the cautious view there (and I worked for afforementioned insurance co back in the day..)
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# 7
tuna_salmon
Old 13-09-2011, 8:52 AM
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hcb42, thanks for the response. I can understand that they may not know the historical details of the property. However, should not they know about the general statistic of an area like crime rate, risk of flooding and soil type of an area? This information is easily obtainable. Why would they assume that there is low risk of ground subsidence when calculating a premium since they knew exactly where the house is located?

Last edited by tuna_salmon; 13-09-2011 at 9:00 AM.
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# 8
tuna_salmon
Old 13-09-2011, 11:25 AM
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I thought I would update this thread in case someone else have the same problem and tries to search for some answers.

I called two insurance companies and both said that as long as there was no history of subsidence, then it is OK. Apparently, their system will inform them if the soil in that area has high risk of ground subsidence. I guess the price they charge would already reflect this risk.
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# 9
Confused_buyer
Old 13-09-2011, 5:49 PM
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Default Moderate-High Risk of Natural Ground Subsidence

Hi Tuna_Salmon,
Thanks for sharing the information. I'm in a similar situation. The Groundsure survey report for the property that I am interested in, indicates a moderate-high risk of ground subsidence. The valuation report has reported long standing stress cracks resulting from seasonal flexing and has also mentioned that further significant structural movement seems remote.
I was considering a homebuyer survey but after reading your post, I guess it is inconclusive and a structural survey is the only way.

If the insurance covers subsidence, it shouldn't be an issue however it may impact the property's resale value if ever you plan to relocate and sell this house.
Which insurance companies have approached so far?
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# 10
tuna_salmon
Old 13-09-2011, 7:55 PM
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Hi Confused_buyer,

For my case, the house is relatively new (about 15 years old) and it has no history of subsidence (as far as I know or at least from what the seller told me). I believe the developers had put sufficient foundation for the house.

Anyway, to answer your question, I called NFU Mutual and Hiscox. I specifically told them about the search report but all they were interested in was whether there was a history of subsidence.
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# 11
tuna_salmon
Old 16-09-2011, 3:24 PM
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Hi,

Sorry for dragging this thread. Just another update for the benefit of anyone who is also (or will be) looking into this matter. I called Direct-Line regarding the following assumption made in their online application:

"Has not been affected by subsidence or structural movement and is not in an area subject to subsidence"

On the part "..is not in an area subject to subsidence," they said the same thing as the other insurance companies. That is they are only concerned if the house or the garden has had any subsidence.
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# 12
dancingirl
Old 07-10-2012, 3:28 PM
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Really useful thread. thank you. i have just had the results back from our survey and are in exactly the same situation as original post...although an older house. thanks for the reassurance. we will be progressing with the purchase.
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