How to Avoid Escape of Water Claims – Understanding Potential Risks
Water damage that occurs within a building can be costly and time consuming to repair. While a rise in dramatic weather events have naturally impacted on flood claims, the number of insurance claims, due to ‘escape of water’ within the home, has also increased.
In water-damaged properties, there is no area of the home that is safe, ceilings, walls, flooring, electrics and anything in the path of the leak will be affected, with fine art, antiques, carpets, wooden floors particularly vulnerable.
An Escape of Water Claim
There are misconceptions about escape of water. The only circumstances in which you can make a claim under this category is if water escapes from where it supposed to be: a burst pipe, radiator, sink, underfloor heating or an appliance for example. Damage caused by a water spill is classified as accidental and not as escape of water, similarly water ingress, as a result of storm or flood, will still be covered by insurance but is viewed differently.
Why has the Number of Escape of Water Claims and the Cost of Individual Claims Increased?
The reasons behind the increase and cost of claims is largely due to life-style and building fabric changes, both contributing to a rise in incidents, range and extent of damage.
- Buildings have more bathrooms and appliances plumbed in than they did forty years ago and families typically use them much more frequently.
- Easy fit plastic piping has meant that some homeowners will tackle DIY projects themselves without using a skilled professional and this often leads to costly mistakes.
- Modern impervious damp proofing systems are designed to keep water out but any water that escapes inside the home is held in, creeping through concrete, plaster and wood and trapped between modern flooring and insulation.
- As our homes become increasingly technological the costs of reinstatement and repair, of appliances and electronic systems that are vulnerable to moisture and water damage, also increases.
- There has been a rise in the installation of underfloor heating systems instead of more traditional centrally heated radiators and whilst both can fail, underfloor heating problems can remain hidden for longtime.
Keeping Your Home Leak Free
According to one insurer, 82% of ‘escape of water claims’ are as a direct result of burst pipes. To help prevent your pipes from bursting it is essential too:
– ‘lag’ pipes in draughty or exposed places.
– know where the mains water valve is, and know how to shut it off!
– always keep the heating on low, even when you are out, during cold periods.
They also identified that faulty appliances account for 15% of the escape of water claims, such as poorly installed fridges or washing machines, as well as broken taps, installation by a qualified plumber can minimise problems with these and regular checks of bath panel and shower tray seals can also help prevent problems. The remaining 3% are due to blocked drains and overflow damage so it is really worthwhile checking drainpipes and drains at regular intervals throughout the year.
Wireless water leak detectors are relatively inexpensive and can alert you early on to even very small leaks; some will even message you on your phone if you are away. Larger properties will usually require a professional system installation.