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  • FIRST POST
    • anonmum
    • By anonmum 2nd Oct 17, 4:26 AM
    • 46Posts
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    anonmum
    Flooding in cellar?
    • #1
    • 2nd Oct 17, 4:26 AM
    Flooding in cellar? 2nd Oct 17 at 4:26 AM
    hi,
    My sellers have revealed on property info form that the cellar in the house I am buying has flooded once, 5 years ago, due to ground water. They say this has only happened once in the 15 years they have lived there.
    I have a surveyor going in next week anyway (whom I have asked to take a particularly close look at the cellar) and I have raised an enquiry through my solicitor to ask sellers as to the depth of the flood water/damage caused etc etc.
    Anyone got any thoughts/opinions or bought/lived in a house that the cellar has flooded in?

    Many thanks,

    anonmum x
Page 1
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 2nd Oct 17, 6:26 AM
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    sevenhills
    • #2
    • 2nd Oct 17, 6:26 AM
    • #2
    • 2nd Oct 17, 6:26 AM
    Flooding in cellars can have very little effect on the house above.

    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 2nd Oct 17, 7:22 AM
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    Davesnave
    • #3
    • 2nd Oct 17, 7:22 AM
    • #3
    • 2nd Oct 17, 7:22 AM
    It would probably be quite an unusual house if the cellar hadn't ever flooded to a modest depth at some point.

    I dare say there are houses built on steep well-drained hills that have dry cellars, but anyone who understands the nature of ground water and the heights it can rise to in a wet winter, will know that expensive tanking is usually needed to keep it out in all circumstances.

    If there has been 'damage' it will probably have been because the previous owners had unrealistic expectations when using the cellar for storage. There will be the odd rogue year, like 2012/13 was for my area, when springs opened-up that I'd not seen before.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 2nd Oct 17, 7:52 AM
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    Doozergirl
    • #4
    • 2nd Oct 17, 7:52 AM
    • #4
    • 2nd Oct 17, 7:52 AM
    As above, it really isn't unusual. People can have unrealistic expectations.

    Having bought and worked on many houses with cellars, the same cellar can go from appearing dry to puddles appearing or indeed, flooding through a year.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • paddyandstumpy
    • By paddyandstumpy 2nd Oct 17, 8:03 AM
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    paddyandstumpy
    • #5
    • 2nd Oct 17, 8:03 AM
    • #5
    • 2nd Oct 17, 8:03 AM
    You'll have to disclose to any insurer the property has flooded, you'll struggle to get mainstream cover.

    Try getting some quotes beforehand.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 2nd Oct 17, 8:26 AM
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    Doozergirl
    • #6
    • 2nd Oct 17, 8:26 AM
    • #6
    • 2nd Oct 17, 8:26 AM
    You'll have to disclose to any insurer the property has flooded, you'll struggle to get mainstream cover.

    Try getting some quotes beforehand.
    Originally posted by paddyandstumpy
    The property hasn't flooded. The cellar does. It's normal, being underground and provides no more risk than the house next door without a cellar who would
    know no difference when the water table rises. Telling an insurer that the property floods is asking for problems.

    You shouldn't keep anything in a cellar that you don't want to get damp anyway. It's an inappropriate environment for most things and it doesn't take long for things to get mouldy.

    I've worked in countless houses with cellars and virtually every one is affected in some way. Some even have wells in them! My in laws have had a house in the centre of Birmingham for 40 years where the cellar floods on occasion nowhere near ground level. The houses never had.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 02-10-2017 at 8:33 AM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • paddyandstumpy
    • By paddyandstumpy 2nd Oct 17, 9:01 AM
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    paddyandstumpy
    • #7
    • 2nd Oct 17, 9:01 AM
    • #7
    • 2nd Oct 17, 9:01 AM
    The property hasn't flooded. The cellar does. It's normal, being underground and provides no more risk than the house next door without a cellar who would
    know no difference when the water table rises. Telling an insurer that the property floods is asking for problems.
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    So you're telling me the cellar isn't part of the property?

    If the insurer asks "has the property ever flooded?" the answer is yes, which will throw up red flags in the mainstream market.

    If you're suggesting not disclosing to an insurer of a property's flood history, that's poor advice. Just wait for the OP's thread "insurer voided my policy and won't cover my claim due to non-disclosure"

    Any cellar should be adequately flood proofed to prevent ingress of water. Sounds like in this case the cellar wasn't, however the flood has occurred and is disclosable.
    • Rambosmum
    • By Rambosmum 2nd Oct 17, 9:13 AM
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    Rambosmum
    • #8
    • 2nd Oct 17, 9:13 AM
    • #8
    • 2nd Oct 17, 9:13 AM
    You'll have to disclose to any insurer the property has flooded, you'll struggle to get mainstream cover.

    Try getting some quotes beforehand.
    Originally posted by paddyandstumpy


    Our cellar floods (according to previous owners) only once in the 23yrs they lived there (2013). We declared to insurance on a comparison site and had no trouble getting quotes, no special terms but around £80 more expensive.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 2nd Oct 17, 9:24 AM
    • 23,697 Posts
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    Davesnave
    • #9
    • 2nd Oct 17, 9:24 AM
    • #9
    • 2nd Oct 17, 9:24 AM

    Any cellar should be adequately flood proofed to prevent ingress of water. Sounds like in this case the cellar wasn't, however the flood has occurred and is disclosable.
    Originally posted by paddyandstumpy
    Just this sentence alone shows how poor your understanding is here.

    Have you any idea how much it costs to tank a cellar? It simply isn't worth it unless it's being used as habitable space. If it is, fair enough, it should come within the bounds of insurance, but if it's low quality storage then there's nothing to insure against, because nothing of value will be placed there and the fabric of the building won't be harmed by the temporary ingress of some water.

    Nothing wrong with getting some insurance quotes, however, to see how the insurers regard the building currently.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • paddyandstumpy
    • By paddyandstumpy 2nd Oct 17, 9:52 AM
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    paddyandstumpy
    Just this sentence alone shows how poor your understanding is here.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    I have nearly a decade as a Property Underwriter, I'm comfortable I know what I am talking about.

    Yes it's an expense, I'm not questioning or challenging that; I'm suggesting that not disclosing a flooding at the property could give the insurer a reason to avoid cover, leaving the OP uninsured.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 2nd Oct 17, 10:07 AM
    • 24,085 Posts
    • 66,698 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    So you're telling me the cellar isn't part of the property?

    If the insurer asks "has the property ever flooded?" the answer is yes, which will throw up red flags in the mainstream market.

    If you're suggesting not disclosing to an insurer of a property's flood history, that's poor advice. Just wait for the OP's thread "insurer voided my policy and won't cover my claim due to non-disclosure"

    Any cellar should be adequately flood proofed to prevent ingress of water. Sounds like in this case the cellar wasn't, however the flood has occurred and is disclosable.
    Originally posted by paddyandstumpy
    This being the problem, you clearly don't understand houses. At all.

    There is absolutely no need for a cellar to be damp proofed. In fact, that causes a potentially much larger headache for insurers when people take cellars for granted. Old houses are designed to breath and cellars allowed to be wet.

    A cellar flooding does not make the house above ground a flood risk. I won't hold my breath for the 'help, my house flooded because I didn't tank my cellar' thread.

    Post above also shows that insurance isn't a problem even through comparison sites. Just answering 'yes' to the property flooding though is ridiculous when no claim ever need be made for a flooded cellar, clearly different above ground. Even then, people do get cover by mainstream insurers after floods affecting their living space. Our previous house flooded a few years before we purchased it and there was no problem - again, through a comparison site, several times.

    Your advice is scaremongering. Incorrect on both counts - mainstream insurers and how to treat cellars.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 2nd Oct 17, 10:08 AM
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    Doozergirl
    Frightening that you have years of underwriting experience and don't understand what cellars are for.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 2nd Oct 17, 10:10 AM
    • 23,697 Posts
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    Davesnave
    I have nearly a decade as a Property Underwriter, I'm comfortable I know what I am talking about.

    Yes it's an expense, I'm not questioning or challenging that; I'm suggesting that not disclosing a flooding at the property could give the insurer a reason to avoid cover, leaving the OP uninsured.
    Originally posted by paddyandstumpy
    I'm not questioning your experience as an underwriter, but I'm comfortable with my experience of ground water and possible ingress into cellars, which is normal.

    It's also normal for cellars to be un-tanked and probably normal for most insured persons not to mention puddling on their cellar floors.

    I do understand that non-disclosure "could" result in the rejection of a claim, but I'm not certain how that would come about if no claim were ever made IRO goods in the cellar.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • aneary
    • By aneary 2nd Oct 17, 10:11 AM
    • 817 Posts
    • 704 Thanks
    aneary
    My parents cellar floods regularly which now isn't an issue it was only an issue when the boiler was in there. The old boiler was fine the new one with more electric bits not so good.

    New boiler and in a different location and the cellar has a pump for when it floods they don't seem to have any issues, nothing is stored in there.
    • paddyandstumpy
    • By paddyandstumpy 2nd Oct 17, 10:23 AM
    • 916 Posts
    • 409 Thanks
    paddyandstumpy
    Frightening that you have years of underwriting experience and don't understand what cellars are for.
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    This being the problem, you clearly don't understand houses. At all.

    There is absolutely no need for a cellar to be damp proofed. In fact, that causes a potentially much larger headache for insurers when people take cellars for granted. Old houses are designed to breath and cellars allowed to be wet.

    A cellar flooding does not make the house above ground a flood risk. I won't hold my breath for the 'help, my house flooded because I didn't tank my cellar' thread.

    Post above also shows that insurance isn't a problem even through comparison sites. Just answering 'yes' to the property flooding though is ridiculous when no claim ever need be made for a flooded cellar, clearly different above ground. Even then, people do get cover by mainstream insurers after floods affecting their living space. Our previous house flooded a few years before we purchased it and there was no problem - again, through a comparison site, several times.

    Your advice is scaremongering. Incorrect on both counts - mainstream insurers and how to treat cellars.
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    I'm not scaremongering; if you've managed to get cover for a previously flooded property, good for you. I've literally just input my own home details into confused, amended flood history to yes and most of the market dropped out: (56 refused a quote when the flood question was yes, 13 refused a quote when the flood answer was no).
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 2nd Oct 17, 11:37 AM
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    Davesnave
    My parents cellar floods regularly which now isn't an issue it was only an issue when the boiler was in there. The old boiler was fine the new one with more electric bits not so good.

    New boiler and in a different location and the cellar has a pump for when it floods they don't seem to have any issues, nothing is stored in there.
    Originally posted by aneary
    Which reminds me...

    Where I worked, the local authority-owned boiler house began to receive water through cracks in the floor, which wasn't surprising given its age and depth below ground.

    Rather than repair the floor or do other costly work, a sump was created and a Hippo type automatic pump installed. Solved the problem at a stroke....apart from the occasional frog that got in there!

    Any householder could do similarly, rather than tank.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • catshark88
    • By catshark88 2nd Oct 17, 2:52 PM
    • 969 Posts
    • 6,670 Thanks
    catshark88
    I've just spent 2 weeks getting a buildings insurance quote for a house in an area where other house's cellars had flooded (the one in the house I'm interested in is filled in).

    The insurers absolutely ARE interested in basements flooding. Lie by omission at your peril. There is no point getting insurance cover that can be wheedled out of, if you need it.
    "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." William Morris
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 2nd Oct 17, 3:30 PM
    • 23,697 Posts
    • 89,668 Thanks
    Davesnave
    I've just spent 2 weeks getting a buildings insurance quote for a house in an area where other house's cellars had flooded (the one in the house I'm interested in is filled in).

    The insurers absolutely ARE interested in basements flooding. Lie by omission at your peril. There is no point getting insurance cover that can be wheedled out of, if you need it.
    Originally posted by catshark88
    Of course insurers are interested in anything which might increase the perceived risk inherent in a property, but how did the insurers know that the other houses' basements had flooded?

    I would suggest it was probably because people made claims as a result of a damage situation. In that case, it's quite right for the insurers to allow for the risk of a repeat performance.

    There's a large difference between a flood causing damage and loss of possessions and puddle in a damp basement.

    But in a case where there's been no claim, and the 'problem' is likely to be a few centimetres of water, it would be a foolish person who made this into a drama and started wailing to their insurers about it.

    That's why I said getting a quote or two was a good idea, because one doesn't know what the track record of the property or the neighbours' is until quotes are obtained.

    That's also why the OP is being sensible and asking for more information from the vendors.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • anonmum
    • By anonmum 2nd Oct 17, 10:44 PM
    • 46 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    anonmum
    Thanks to all for your input on my question.

    I wasn't that concerned until I did a new insurance price comparison (I had done a insurance quote prior to finding out about the cellar problem) and the price for insurance had doubled! As has been stated the question asked on the insurance quote site was not specific - just a 'Has the house ever flooded?' but since it isn't specific - the answer has to be yes.

    Surveyor in tomorrow and will await on answers from enquiries, and if all okay then will do some more shopping around for insurance!

    Best wishes all and thanks again! :-)

    anonmum x
    • anonmum
    • By anonmum 2nd Oct 17, 11:15 PM
    • 46 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    anonmum
    I've just spent 2 weeks getting a buildings insurance quote for a house in an area where other house's cellars had flooded (the one in the house I'm interested in is filled in).

    The insurers absolutely ARE interested in basements flooding. Lie by omission at your peril. There is no point getting insurance cover that can be wheedled out of, if you need it.
    Originally posted by catshark88

    hi, can I be cheeky and ask who you eventually went to? Have done three main comparison sites and they all just have a general 'house flood' question - thinking may need someone who is less generalised on question!
    Thanks in advance,

    anonmum
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