We specialise in claims for damage to your property due to subsidence.
Subsidence as understood by an insurance Policy means contraction and expansion of clay base soil on which the property is located. On balance we do not have these type of conditions in Ireland so in essence we do not have subsidence as understood by the Policy.
However, “subsidence” is the generic name given to escape of water from sewer and drain pipes resulting in undermining of foundations. This causes localised movement or cracking and these claims are dealt with under the escape of water peril or contingency.
Insurers have “circled the wagons” in relation to these claims. In essence unless there is what Insurers consider to be “significant” structural movement then they insist on the Policyholder replacing the drains at the Policyholder’s expense and that a period of monitoring applies. This is wholly unsuitable in the event that the property is for sale and our argument is that there is loss of market value where an Engineer for a Purchaser insists that underpinning be carried out prior to his Client purchasing the property. If this work is not carried out then there is a diminution in value which is measured by the cost of repair or underpinning.
This office has dealt with a significant number of these type of losses which can be quite complicated particularly where there is a number of insurance companies involved. In this respect Insurers normally look at a period of circa five years prior to discovery of the damage as a “time on risk” period.