With 85 per cent of UK households using gas central heating to heat their homes and changing weather patterns causing more flooding, there's a possibility that more of us may be affected by water damage to our homes in the future.
Although flooding grabs the headlines, it's actually burst and leaking pipes that cause the biggest headaches.
The cost and inconvenience caused by a burst pipe can be considerable. Just a small rupture can release gallons of water, damaging plaster, carpets and other contents. And if that isn’t bad enough, ABI data shows that during a spell of freezing weather, a claim to repair a burst pipe can rise to around £7,500.
Following the Beast from the East in 2018, £194 million was paid by insurers to help homeowners cope with the misery of burst pipes.
For insurance purposes there are two general types of water damage.
Insurance companies will cover you against both types of water damage, but not if the cause of the damage is due to poor maintenance or lack of precautions.
Whether your home is damaged as a result of coastal flooding or a frozen water pipe, you can take out home insurance to cover you against most problems. You should check your insurance covers both the damage to the building and the contents of your home. You can also take out emergency cover in case your plumbing springs a leak.
Buildings insurance will cover you for any water damage to the structure of your property, the walls and permanent fixtures such as kitchen cabinets.
Contents insurance covers you for any soft furnishings that get ruined, for replacing your water damaged living room, your television, computer and any valuables lost in the flood. It also pays to replace carpets.
If there's a leak, most insurers pay for the cost of removing and replacing the structure of your home to find the source of the leak. This is called trace and access cover.
And if you have additional emergency cover, you can call someone out to fix the problem any time of the day or night.
No one wants to be faced with cleaning up after water damage, so the best thing to do is prevent it from happening in the first place.
Burst water pipes are one of the major causes of water damage to homes. The number of claims for burst pipes skyrockets after a cold spell. That's because the water in the pipe freezes and splits the pipe causing a leak. A few simple safeguards can help prevent this happening:
If you know your home is at risk of flooding, many insurers will expect you to take some precautions. These can include:
If you are in a flood risk area, it's very important that you tell your insurer. If you don't tell them and you make a claim for water damage, they may reject your claim.
Insurers won't automatically choose not to insure you if you live in a flood risk area. They'll assess the risk of flooding and adjust your premiums accordingly.
We know it's a stressful time when floods or storms damage your property. Take a look at our guide about what to do if you need to make a claim.
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