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Escape of water is one of the most significant risks that many property owners will face – with insurers paying out £1.8 every day for these types of claims. While a typical claim for burst pipe damage may run into thousands of pounds, we have dealt with escape of water claims running into hundreds of thousands, or even millions of pounds.
Here, we discuss some common causes of escape of water claims, and how to reduce the risks of such incidents occurring.
Escape of water claims cost insurers £1.8m a day, with a typical claim costing several thousands of pounds.
In extremely cold weather it is common for pipes to freeze and burst if they are not properly insulated. Ways to prepare for winter weather, and to avoid frozen pipes, include repairing any dripping taps, checking lagging, and keeping note of your insurance company contact details.
Sizable losses can occur as a result of poor maintenance of the water system, or errors during construction or remedial work. The average cost of an escape of water claim rose by 31% in the period between 2014 and 2016.
There are sensible precautions that will reduce some of the most common escape of water risks – such as ensuring that pipes and tanks are properly lagged, small leaks and cracks are repaired promptly, and valuable items are not left directly underneath ageing or vulnerable pipework. Property owners should also ensure that escape of water risk is factored into business continuity and disaster recovery plans, to ensure that anybody who may be required to help deal with an escape of water incident can be reached in the event of an emergency.
Organisations should consider risks that are particular to their property or their assets, and how these may best be mitigated. For example, apartment blocks are particularly vulnerable, because a burst pipe can lead to water damage on a number of floors and substantial losses. Sophisticated water leak detection systems are now available that can automatically cut off the water supply if a leak is detected. Such systems are also increasingly being used in a variety of commercial and public buildings, for example to protect valuable archives in museums and libraries.
Vacant properties are particularly vulnerable to water damage, as it is easy for small leaks and cracks to go undetected and become more serious. There is also increased risk of intruders gaining entry and causing malicious or accidental damage to the water system. As soon as a property is left unoccupied, customers should check with their broker what they should do to comply with their policy conditions.
To discuss any aspect of this article further, speak to your usual Zurich contact.
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