What damage can heat waves cause to a house? Should we be worried as soon as a crack appears and how to recognize those that are really dangerous for the building? Let’s see how your Home Insurance will be able to cover you in case appearance of disturbing cracks.
How can heat crack a house?
When temperatures oscillate in the extremes, this is the case during a heat wave, the ground will move and consequently the walls too. The ground water will evaporate and the ground that supports your house will tend to crack. Of course, you are not going to feel this variation in the ground directly, but your house will let you know quickly: small cracks may begin to appear on the facades, going up to the roof or even worse, going down to the foundations.
It is from there that you have to start worrying because the whole structure of the building can be weakened.
For you, owner of a cracked houseit is a stressful and difficult situation to live with on a daily basis: fortunately your home insurance can take over.
The different types of crack: when to worry?
In case of heat wave, new dwellings are no more sheltered than old houses: as the building environment is changing, cracks can also appear on recent houses. Not all cracks on a house are worrisome, nor are they all caused by heat.
There are 2 types of cracks, are you concerned?
- The microcracks: these are the “natural” cracks which measure from 0.2 to 2 millimetres. Like a line on the wall, they do not represent damage to the entire building but they must be treated anyway to prevent the coating from deteriorating. It is not necessary to make a declaration of loss for these microcracks, which mainly affect the coating or the plaster.
- Deep cracks: if you notice that the crack is more than 2 millimeters wide, that it cracks on the wall on both sides and especially that the crack follows the bricks, stones or concrete blocks, you must start to worry. This type of crack is caused by a moving ground, certainly following a period of drought or subsidence.
If your floor is moving, you might not notice the cracks first, but other signs can ring alarm bells and urge you to stay alert:
- windows no longer close properly
- the tile is cracking
- wooden frames open
- a door will rub when it was not the case before!
- a loose pipe for no reason
In the event of the appearance of cracks and following a period of heat wave, will you be compensated by your home insurance?
Yes, regardless of your contract, your home insurance can cover cracks emerging on your home, but provided that the state of natural disaster be officially recognized.
There are therefore steps to follow to transfer your crack repair file to the account of your home insurance.
If your home is recent and the state of natural disaster has not been declared, it is not the home insurance that will work but the manufacturer’s guarantees.
- If the cracks appear within a year that follow the acceptance of the works, you can make use of the guarantee of perfect completion.
- If the cracks appear within 10 years that follow the delivery of the house, you will still be within the ten-year guarantee period so you can turn against the builder.
What to do in case of cracks in your house? From declaration to compensation
If we know that the heat wave is dangerous for the health of animals and humans, what should be done to protect your building ?
It is not easy to make a link between the cracks and a period of high heat for the simple and good reason that the phenomenon is not immediately visible: the first cracks can appear several weeks after the high heat so the first advice would be to go around your house regularly, to check that the cracks do not appear.
Have you noticed cracks on a wall of the house? Don’t hang around! You have 10 days after the declaration of the disaster to send the claim to your insurance company.
- Ask the neighborhood. The more you will be involved in the same sector, the easier it will be to claim your rights from your insurance. Do not hesitate to form an association to raise your voice.
- Take pictures To begin building your expertise file and show the evolution of the situation, write down all the important dates and keep the press articles.
- Contact the town hall to make a crack statement. It is your town hall that will be able to support your request with the prefecture of your department and ensure that the state of natural disaster is declared.
- Declare the cracks to your insurer through a declaration of disaster once the recognition of natural disaster is established. Prefer the letter with acknowledgment of receipt.
- Wait for the expert to come who can see the damage. You can also appoint an independent expert to perfectly tie up your compensation file or contact an association for the defense of victims.
In France, which regions are most affected by house cracks?
The cracks on the houses will appear according to the variations of the grounds! It is not necessarily the southern regions that are the most affected even if Provence and the Var are of course affected by this phenomenon!
In the Paris Basin, many houses are cracked: the drought is hitting the inhabitants of northern France hard, as is Alsace or Pays de la Loire!
If you are in a drought-stricken region and your construction is on clay soil, you must therefore be even more vigilant: the more your soil is loaded with clay, the more it will tend to settle and therefore move!