Startling new figures have revealed the true cost of this summer’s heatwave, with the number of subsidence issues four times higher thanks to record-breaking temperatures.
The number of subsidence claims made in July, August and September passed the 10,000 mark, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), with payouts totalling £64m.
A typical three-month period would expect to have around 2,500 claims made, worth £14m in all, the trade body said.
These figures are higher than the previous record-breaking summers of 2003 and 2006, which also saw homeowners battle against major subsidence issues.
As this newspaper reported during the August heatwave, insurers were bracing themselves for huge payouts when homeowners made claims for cracked walls and other structural issues.
The quadrupling of incidents between the second and third quarter of the year is the biggest increase since ABI records began 25 years ago.
Subsidence will usually be covered by a homeowner’s buildings insurance policy, although in the most severe cases the owner may be forced to move out of the property while repairs are carried out.
Properties in the South East of England are most prone to issues with subsidence, given the clay soil in much of the region.
Laura Hughes, of the ABI, said: “Thousands of people across the UK are now suffering because we experienced such an unprecedented period of dryness this summer. Insurers understand that this is a stressful time for affected homeowners and are providing widespread support to help with repairs.”
The ABI said that homeowners should keep an eye out for diagonal cracks developing suddenly on a property, rather than gradually over time. Any cracks that are wider than a 10p piece should be investigated further.