Building Insurance Claim for subsidence not getting sorted

My elderly parents have an insurance claim for a property that is subsiding (again). They put in a claim November last year, and nothing has been done apart from surveyors going in and sub contractors engineers looking at the work required. My father, (until 6 weeks ago when my mother had a mild stroke) wouldn't let any other family member deal with it, and has not been chasing anyone except the building Company. I have now taken it over but I am getting nowhere despite speaking to a Technical Claims Manager at the Insce Co, on a regular basis, (even threatened the Insce complaints procedure but that takes so long),and also chasing the main Building contractor, (just getting the run around). The Insce TCM, is talking the right talk but not getting the building contractor or any of there contractors motivated. The property is moving so badly that the interior doors do not meet the jams by about a foot. I am now concerned that as the property is on mains gas and with the movement of the property that gas could build up in the cellar, (I am going to phone British Gas tomorrow and take advise). Anyone any other thoughts on how I can get this claim moving forward?


  • TSx
    TSx Forumite Posts: 845
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Have the Insurers established the cause of the subsidence yet?

    Once the cause has been identified and dealt with (e.g drains repaired or tree roots dealt with), it is usual for a lengthy period of monitoring to be undertaken to ensure that the movement has stopped before repair works commence. I would certainly make your concerns regarding the gas known to the Insurer so that they can consider it.
  • Annemos
    Annemos Forumite Posts: 601
    500 Posts Third Anniversary
    edited 4 September at 1:16AM
    Yes agree with TSx here. Have you seen the Insurance Reports of both this time's subsiding and also last time's? 

    Just what do they say is actually causing the Movement?  Has it yet been confirmed to be definitely subsidence?

    The important thing is for the correct cause to be found and then that cause taken away before any repairs start. 

    (Because Repairs have to be Lasting and Effective which means they have to last for a long time. That is per the Financial Ombudsman Service.)

    Is this Tree Roots? Or is it drains/water leak?

    (The first one tends to imply the property has clay under the foundations and the tree roots have sucked the water out of the clay causing it to shrink.

    The second one, tends to imply the foundations are on more of a sandy soil perhaps, that can get washed away by a leak.)

    So what the Insurance Company are setting in motion, totally depends on what the exact cause is. And whether they have actually removed all the cause(s)  of the movement. 

    Please come back with more details for us. (Also, are you saying the property is STILL moving and you can see it moving?)

    Mine was due to 2 trees. 2018 Subsided. The first tree was removed in March 2019. Over the winter 2019 going into 2020 and with rain ground-rehydration, the doors all moved back into the correct position. But it wasn't enough and later that year 2020 the doors started moving and got stuck again. In March 2021, the second Tree was then removed. Thank goodness the movement then stopped and the doors all went back to the correct position. And touch wood (!!), it has stayed like that for over 2 years now.

    Luckily, I did NOT allow the Claims Handler to get the repairs done, as he wanted, in March 2019! 
    (The Claims Handler had actually said that "his repairs would act as Crack Monitors"...... I was totally horrified at that statement, considering huge Tree 2 at close distance was still there.)   I complained and said I wanted more monitoring, to ensure movement had definitely stopped and so that the  Repairs, when done, would thus be Lasting and Effective.) My repairs were finally done in May 2021. 

    (Also note, a Heave Assessment must be done before any trees are removed. In certain circumstances, taking a tree down can be even worse for a property. A tendency is... if a tree is older than a property, then it might cause heave if removed.)
  • Dingledell
    Dingledell Forumite Posts: 5
    Part of the Furniture First Post Combo Breaker
    Thank you Tsx and Annemos, I've spoken to the Insce company today, and they are going to chase the Building Contractors. The contractors are going to assess the work required and also fit a Moisture metre. The property is situated in an Avenue of Poplar trees, so that could possible be the problem, but previous Contractors have found clay and peat in the cellar. I will keep you updated. Thanks again for your advice, help.
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