The ABI's subsidence expert has questioned claims made by Biba that the recent dramatic floods could lead to a £400m repair bill for heave claims.

Biba has warned homeowners to watch for signs of heave or rising ground levels if they live near a flooded area. Biba said it believes eventual heave claims could reach £400m.

Peter Staddon, Biba's technical director, said: "The potential risks associated with heave are not as well documented as subsidence, and we want to encourage homeowners to check their building insurance policies."

However, Richard Radevsky the technical director of Resolve International who has written reports for the ABI on subsidence, disputed Biba's claim.

He said that heave is not normally caused by waterlogged ground but by dry weather which leads the ground to shrink.

Radevsky said: "Excess surface water is not usually absorbed by saturated clay soil, but instead runs off."