At a glance
- Escape of water is one of the biggest risks faced by property owners
- Many escape of water risks can be mitigated by taking some relatively simple precautions
- We look at how customers can help reduce escape of water incidents and minimise damage and disruption
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By reading this article, and correctly answering the three questions underneath, you will have achieved the following learning outcome: Recognise the most common causes of escape of water and explain the impact of escape of water losses on property claims.
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Escape of water presents one of the greatest risks to property-owning customers. The cost of repairing water damage can often be substantial, with escape of water claims frequently running into many thousands of pounds.
Potential problems such as small cracks or leaks can ultimately lead to significant water damage if not remedied swiftly.
“Following a fire or a break-in it’s apparent straightaway what the damage is or what has been stolen,” explains Richard Parslow, Risk Analyst, Zurich Risk Engineering. “But with escape of water, you have to try and trace the source of the leak before you can really assess the scale of the damage, which isn’t always easy.
“A small water leak in the loft area of a property could end up causing damage to anything from carpets and flooring to ceilings, walls, electrical wiring and household appliances.”
It is vital that your customers react as soon as any problems occur.”
Richard Parslow, Risk Analyst, Zurich Risk Engineering
How different escape of water risks can emerge
Any part of a property that is connected to the water system presents a potential escape of water risk, as our interactive infographic shows.
Some common risks include:
• Uninsulated pipework in loft spaces freezing and bursting during winter months
• Leaks from baths, shower trays and radiators
• Incorrectly plumbed household appliances
Solution: Insulate water tanks and pipework
Solution: Use your communication channels to alert home owners to the risks of plumbing-in appliances themselves unless they are competent to do so. Explain where they can get help if they do not feel confident enough to install their own appliances
Solution: Radiator valves and joints should be regularly checked for signs of rust and wear
Solution: Home owners should be encouraged to look out for signs of silicone coming away from tiles, or the bath or shower edge, and sealant should be replaced when appropriate
The importance of communication
It is vital that customers react as soon as any problems occur.
Richard says: “They should look out for signs of potential water leaks or damage, which is particularly important during the autumn and winter months, when pipes are more likely to freeze.
“Water leaks can occur when washing machines or other appliances have been incorrectly plumbed-in. Customers should get help if they lack the confidence or competence to install appliances themselves.”
To discuss any aspect of this article further, speak to your usual Zurich contact.