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Why Your Property Might Be Considered a Higher Risk

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When you’re trying to buy property insurance you might sometimes hear that your property is considered high risk.

In a lot of cases the risk seems clear, but in others it can cause confusion and sometimes annoyance. It is important that we understand our policies properly and pay the correct premiums to get the right cover.

We thought it would be best to list some of the factors that may be pushing up your premiums and why. Alternatively the insurer may decide that the potential risk is too great and exclude certain types of cover, for example, subsidence and escape of water.


It goes without saying that an unoccupied property is more of a target to thieves and squatters than an occupied one.

Not only that, but without regular use, the systems in the house can begin to seize and fail causing future problems. If water was to freeze in your pipes due to the lack of heating over the past few months, you could be faced with a burst pipe and flood damage. Your insurance provider needs to be prepared for this and be receiving the correct premiums to cover the costs if the worst should happen.


A commercial property is a hotspot for thieves as they are presumed to hold a till and therefore money. Some shops aren’t fitted with CCTV and so this will further increase the risk to this property.

Not only that but this puts the building itself at a higher risk of damage from broken windows or doors, as well as covering the loss of money.

Flood Area

Being in a potential flood zone can push the cost of your insurance up more than anything else. Insurance providers base their prices on the flood risk in the area surveyed by the Environment Agency.

The map below shows where the River Tees runs through our town of Darlington. It outlines the higher risks in Dark Blue, close to the river, this makes it clear of the increased risks of living too close to the river. You can check the risk near your location at the Environment Agency Website.  


By the Sea

The sea has always been a high risk to homes, however over the past few years we have seen the worst storms in a century. Living by the sea automatically puts you at risk of flooding and damage.

This can be an expensive prospect for insurance companies. Even with the new £2.3bn flood defence scheme in place, living by any water will push up your premiums.

Even the salt in the sea air quickens up the wear on the outside of your home and this can worry insurers when it comes to the fixtures of your property such as brickwork and guttering.


Trees are a risk to insurers due to the damage they could cause if they fall. If you have a lot of trees close to your home, your insurer sees this as a higher risk of damage if the tree was too topple onto your home in a storm.

Not only that, but trees have roots, some 30 ft. long. These roots can cause havoc underground with pipes, plumbing, driveways and neighbouring properties.  They also have a tendency to push up concrete and cause problems on someone else’s land.

If you are particularly worried about this you can employ a tree surgeon to take down the trees that are too close to the property. Generally they need to be at least 20 ft. away from the property.

Alternatively if you love your trees, providing these are planted in appropriate locations, you can avoid problems occurring in the future. If you’re worried about the responsibilities between tenant and landlord when it comes to the garden, you may like to read- Who is Responsible for Garden Upkeep.

Below is a general guide to help you if you’re thinking about planting a tree in your garden. Keep in mind that the roots can potentially spread double the recommended distance.

Tree Type

Recommended Distance


4 Metres


5 Metres


5 Metres


10 Metres


12 metres


18 Metres


18 Metres


Shrubs, similarly to trees, can cause damage to a property when they grow. Some plant roots are quite strong for example, if they are too close to the foundations of the house or a wall they can cause substantial damage.

They can also grow higher than you may have imagined. If you plant a shrub under your window, it could be soon climbing up the wall, damaging the window frames and brickwork. We would recommend planting a shrub at least 5 Metres away from the property.


It’s not only living by the water or trees that could cause you problems.  Depending on where you live, the sewage lines may be old or at risk and this can also increase your premium.

If you’re planning on moving into an old village or Victorian home, it may be worth your while to double check the last time the sewage lines were surveyed and be sure that everything is still running smoothly.


It goes without saying that living somewhere with a flat roof can cause problems. A flat roof does not drain water as easily as a sloped roof and can lead to water damage, in addition flat roofs require regular inspections and depending on the covering may also need replacing frequently.

It may be in your best interests to invest in improving the flat roof to a gable roof in order to reduce your premiums and your risk of a leak.

Subsidence, Heave and Landslip

These are all issues that create great risk towards a property, your insurer will no doubt have to protect themselves against these risks.

Subsidence- Slowly but surely the foundations of the house are failing and causing the property to sink. This can happen because the soil beneath the building is unstable.

Heave- Often confused with subsidence, heave is actually the reverse effect of subsidence which means that the property is being moved upwards rather than sinking, This can happen due to excess water beneath the property causing the ground to swell and cause major damage to the property including cracks and broken drains and pipes.

Landslip- For people that live along the side of hills or cliffs, landslip can become an issue. As the ground beneath the house slips with the angle of the hill, the property is moved with it and this creates great risk. It can be costly to put this right and for some property owners this is unavoidable. If you live near the coast you are at greater risk of this..

When your premiums go up due to risk, you may feel disgruntled, but if you have insurance through UKinsuranceNET, you can give us a call anytime and we will talk you through the cost of risks in your policy.

If you have found this article useful, you may also like to read, How to Find the Perfect Property Insurance Partner.

You can keep up with our updates by following UKinsuranceNET on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re interested in joining our team, keep up our LinkedIn updates too.

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