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Rich

Anyone work in home insurance?

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My surveyors report for the mortgage company mentions a couple of cracks around a window at the rear of the house. The surveyor put down it shows there has been movement but he's not concerned. We've been here 4 years and they've not become any bigger.

 

When applying for buildings insurance it asks about subsidence. Now the report doesn't mention it by this word, just movement. So I'm not sure whether to say yes or no. Obviously the former increases the premium by quite a bit.

 

I've asked my mortgage advisor but just wondering if anyone here knows.

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Don't mention the word subsidence at all whatsoever. .. it'll open up a world of hurt

 

Just send a copy of the report to the insurance company and let them see if they'll cover you.

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Yes none of them really quote for it!

 

But the box says subsidence and not movement. The surveyors report says it's longstanding and non-progressive. No structural works are considered necessary.

 

The cracks are only on the inside and not the outside. They are also only around the window so I'm even wondering if replacing the windows in the past has caused it.

 

The wall they're on isn't painted or papered as the plaster is blown. I've been waiting until we bought it before decorating. When we moved in the previous tenant stripped the paper off, it did have some when we viewed. In hindsight I should've covered it up!

 

I just hope this doesn't delay in us completing but the mortgage advisor, lender and solicitor hasn't mentioned it.

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What a nightmare!

 

Phoned up the surveyor and they said that wording is related to settlement and it's nothing like subsidence etc but they wouldn't 100% confirm it!

 

Phoned the AA who I got a buildings quote from (I have my contents with them) and they said movement is movement and my quote jumped from £122 to £420 and that's if the underwriter would insure me. They also said I need to update my contents policy with this info which will probably make the premium rocket! What has movement/a few cracks got to do with the contents of the house!

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Yeah I suppose it's all relative then.

 

The broker who works with my mortgage one is looking in to some quotes for me, I can imagine it's going to sting but I don't really have a choice and will have to stump up. He said he wasn't concerned with that wording though and it should be fine, yet some insurers are really fussy.

 

I'm wondering if I should get a structural survey done, although I really don't think it's needed. I honestly think the cracks are from when they fitted the double glazing, they are only inside not outside. It would cost £500 but if it confirms there is no evidence of movement and it was caused by building work it could reduce my insurance premiums considerably. Still a lot of cash though.

 

After we completed I had always planned on getting a builder to assess the cracks anyway and repair them. It might only be the plaster that has cracked, we wouldn't know until it's removed.

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We need pics of window and cracks here Rich.

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I took some insurance out via a broker and the underwriter is Zurich. They asked them about the movement mentioned on the report and they said it wouldn't be a concern, it's not subsidence etc.

 

I'm wondering if I should get a structural survey done just to hopefully get it confirmed that subsidence hasn't caused the movement (if it is even that) and the cracks have been caused by building work. At the top of the stairs part of the plaster is a different shade and a hole has been filled in but I'm not sure what used to be there. Around this area the plaster is also cracked. This is the same wall as the cracks around the window.

 

I can't be sure if it's just the plaster or the bricks as well until I remove some of it. I'll be getting it all taken off and re-plastered anyway.

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Normally you would get a structural survey done before you buy a house but if you are concerned might be worth enquiring about cost.

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Yes I know that and there is nothing wrong with the structure, it would just be for the insurance. If I had it in writing that the cracks are from past settlement it might make it easier to get insurance next time. The question is would that be worth the £500 it'll cost.

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Maybe, but from your figures above would it take maybe 3 years to get it back?

 

Could it be that they have removed the lintel when they put the window in, or the old metal frames they used as originals on that estate ( and others at that time ) were supportive?

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Yes it'll probably take a few years to get the money back but I'm also thinking about when we sell. If movement has been mentioned in a previous survey does that have to be disclosed to potential buyers? Is it possible to check previous surveys carried out on a property?

 

I'll get some photos but the plaster looks very old so I also think some of it is just where it's shrunk and cracked over the years. We've been here for over 4 years and they haven't got any worse so I'm not concerned about them.

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Thinking about what I said about the windows it's rubbish, as it would weaken above the windows !! Think I'd be strippint the plaster off around the cracks to expose the brickwork behind. Then if that's clear you could send photo to insurers.

 

Can't believe you can search on previous surveys as it would be many different companies that do them.

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If that was the case then I'd expect the outside wall to have cracks, which it doesn't, it's only inside above and below the window.

 

That has always been the plan to take it back to brick and see what it's like and get the whole wall plastered but I'll leave that to a builder next year I think when the weather is nicer.

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