Hot weather could trigger raft of subsidence claims to home insurers, warns AA

PA

Home insurers are bracing themselves for a potential spike in subsidence claims as temperatures soar, according to the AA.

It made the comments as it released its latest "shoparound" index, which analyses insurance quotes from price comparison sites and other sources to produce a typical figure for the amount people who shop around might expect to pay for a policy.

The index found the home premiums however have increased after a brief respite at the start of the year, with the average shoparound quote for a buildings policy increasing by 5.7% annually to reach £119.79 - the highest level in six years.

The extreme weather seen earlier this year has already sparked an increase in claims, according to the AA.

It said that while the freezing temperatures as the Beast from the East struck may now "seem a world away", insurers have seen a jump in claims for property repairs following damage to buildings, thanks to the sub-zero temperatures earlier in the year.

It continued: "Some insurers are now fearing a raft of subsidence claims with the long hot spell following a wet and cold winter."

The AA said that while premiums for buildings cover have seen a sharp increase, premiums for contents cover have remained "relatively static", falling by 1.7% annually to reach £59.69 on average for someone who shops around.

A typical combined buildings and contents policy quote is now £163.03 - an increase of 3.8% over the previous 12 months.

Janet Connor, the AA's director of insurance, said: "The harsh winter seems a lifetime away as we enjoy a long hot summer but insurers are counting the cost of claims related to the freezing conditions."

She said there were now concerns about soil drying out in the hot weather - "particularly clay that shrinks as it dries out and can lead to increased subsidence risk and consequent damage to buildings, in some parts of the UK".

Ms Connor continued: "However, the industry is well prepared for such an eventuality. The last time there was a significant rise in subsidence claims was in 2006. Now might be a good time to check that your home is fully insured against such risk."

The AA's index also shows that over the past 12 months, car insurance premiums have fallen by 10.8% to £648.10 on average for someone who shops around for comprehensive cover.

Ms Connor said: "Although not everyone will see premium falls of this size it is certainly welcome news for many drivers."