At a glance
- Water leaks are one of the most common causes of home insurance claims in the UK
- Water can travel long distances and go undetected for some time, meaning even minor escapes have the potential to cause major damage to a home and contents
- We explore the common causes of leaks in the home, what to do in the event of an escape of water and how to prevent them from occurring.
Escape of water is one of the most common causes of home insurance claims and can cause a huge inconvenience to tenants and home owners.
According to the Association of British Insurers, in 2018 the UK saw the worst period of burst pipes on record. The cold weather at the start of 2018 also saw claims for burst pipes increase from £4m to £197m quarter-on-quarter.
Water can travel long distances and go undetected for some time, meaning even minor escapes have the potential to cause major damage to a home and contents.
What are the top causes for leaks at home?
- Frozen pipes: Pipes can freeze and burst causing thawed water to release from the break
- Household appliance leaks – due to inadequate fittings: Incorrectly plumbed-in appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers could lead to significant escape of water
- Sinks, baths and drains: Bath and shower trays could leak if the silicone sealant around them starts to peel away or mould could start growing which could lead to decay and cause a leak. Drains can also get blocked and burst
- Radiator and boiler leaks: Boiler and radiator valves and joints should be checked. Valves and joints can leak if rusty, worn out or not closed properly
- Gutters: Backed up gutters can cause roof leaks and unnecessary damage to your roof
Share our guide on ‘How to keep your home safe and dry’ with your clients to help them understand what to do in the event of these different types of leaks and how to minimise water damage. The guide also touches on preventative measures which home owners can take to mitigate the risk of an escape of water incident.
Top tips for noticing a water leak
A water leak may not always be easily noticeable, therefore it’s worth looking out for the following signs:
- A dramatic increase in water usage: Encourage your clients to monitor their water bill closely – especially if they are on a meter. If water usage increases dramatically in any month this may need investigating as could be a sign of a leak.
- Small damp patches in your home: If your client notices small damp patches in their home get them to seek immediate professional advice – this could imply they have a leak in their home. Buildings policy may provide cover for ‘Trace and Access’ which can help identify the cause of a leak in your home.
Having call out numbers readily available in the event of a leak will help minimise water damage. It is also really important that your client knows where their stopcock is and can turn it off easily in the event of a leak; the stopcock is usually found beneath the sink in the kitchen or in a hallway cupboard.
These actions can help protect people’s homes and minimise the amount of damage that can be caused from an escape of water.
For more information, read our guide on ‘How to keep your home safe and dry’ and feel free to share with your clients. If you’d like to discuss any aspect of this guidance in greater detail, speak to your local Zurich representative.
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By reading this article, and correctly answering the three questions underneath, you will have achieved the following learning outcome: Summarise latest claims trends and identify how the insurance market is responding.
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