What Lies Beneath: the Age of the Super-Basement

Published: 21/03/2017

With spring in the air, lots of us have big plans for work on our homes or buying a ‘project’ property.

But with the creative juices flowing, the last thing you need is an insurance-shaped spanner in the works – our Property Project Insurance Checklist can help you make sure things run smoothly.

Renovation & Property Project Insurance

  1. Big ideas for refurbishing your home?
  2. Buying a ‘project’ property?
  3. Extending or enhancing?
  4. Superbasement? (see below)

All exciting stuff – but arranging the insurance can be a real headache.

Getting cover for unoccupied properties pending and during renovation can delay or even jeopardise completion on a property sale; most standard household insurers won’t accommodate them.

Listed properties and barn conversions can be a particular problem. Often insurers won’t offer cover, which won’t satisfy your lender. And some of the limited range of policies available can cost ten times the standard rate or more.

La Playa’s Renovation Insurance provides all the protection you need for your project and to satisfy your lender and contractors. Click to read our Renovation & Property Project Insurance Checklist.


With pressure on space in city locations, the rise of the super-basement has brought some pretty hefty insurance risks.

The “Super-Basement” trend has been high profile – with wealthy property buyers in Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Fulham and Notting Hill digging for “buried pleasure”: playrooms, cinemas, bowling alleys, swimming pools and spas, wine cellars, gun rooms, supercar showrooms, even a two-storey climbing wall being constructed underground. The mansion you see at street level is just the tip of the iceberg – hiding cavernous real estate underneath. And the construction work involved means some major risk exposures, both first and third party.

What can go wrong? Case Study*

In 2012, Goldman Sachs boss Christoph Stanger started digging beneath his £7m property in Kensington’s Palace Gardens Terrace to create a playroom for his children. After initial excavations, the house began to subside, pulling its neighbours down with it. Cracks appeared within the adjacent basements, and the facades sunk to such an extent that door frames shifted and people were trapped inside.

Insuring a major building project can become complicated – but with a pro-active approach it doesn’t have to be. Don’t let “computer says no” insurers put you off your dream plans – contact us for more information and a competitive quotation.

*The Guardian, 9 November 2012


Did you know?… 
Our Renovation Insurance can dovetail seamlessly with your home insurance for the duration of your works.

For more information visit La Playa Private Client or email/call Mike Taylor-West directly:

T: 020 3290 1774


Ready to work with us?

You can call us to talk more about your insurance on +44 (0)1223 200650 or +44 (0)20 3865 0149

Photo of Mike Taylor-West ACII

Mike Taylor-West ACII


Direct Dial: +44 (0) 203 290 1774

Mobile: +44 (0) 7500 109737


Twitter: @MTWLaPlaya