£657million – that’s the amount that the Association of British Insurers (ABI) calculates the UK insurance industry pays out on average every year for escape of water claims.
Although we usually associate this with burst pipes, it can also include leaking appliances, blocked toilets and sinks, damaged boilers and water tanks, all of which can cause significant damage - especially if the leak goes undetected.
In most cases the damaged pipe/appliance is relatively easy to trace and repair or replace. Insurers will pay for tracing the leak, but not the repair or replacement, which is usually down to old age, wear and tear or faulty workmanship. Unfortunately, it’s the damage caused by the leaking water that can be problematic, expensive and time-consuming to rectify.
For example, a damaged flexi-hose on an upstairs sink, spotted and stopped within a couple of hours of happening, still caused water damage to 5 rooms and over £50,000 in costs. Or the faulty dishwasher valve which, un-noticed for a few days, cost more than £82,000 to repair the damage.
It’s not just the cost, there’s the personal inconvenience too: even moderate damage can, depending on where it is, render the home uninhabitable and require the family to temporarily move out while the restoration happens. And, often that’s not quick. Once water gets into the brickwork and concrete it can take weeks with dehumidifiers and air movers running 24/7, to extract it completely.
As the frequency and cost of leaks and water damage continue to increase, most insurers are applying both a substantial premium increase and a large policy excess to anyone that has made an escape of water claim. In the event of multiple claims, there’s also the chance that insurers will stop providing cover completely.
Fortunately, here at Sutton Winson we’re embracing modern technology.
If you do have to make a claim, we’ll seriously encourage you to install and use leak-detection technology. If when you confirm that you have done so, we’ll consider waiving any premium or excess increase specifically linked to escape of water.
There are a wide range of solutions available to suit every pocket.
At the basic level, a self-installed sensor is clipped-on to the internal mains water supply, which monitors the air and pipe temperatures and alerts you (via your phone) if colder water is continually coming into the system.
With more advanced solutions, a valve is added to the mains pipe and leak detection tape applied to risk points. The valve will automatically shut-down the water supply if a leak is suspected. The valve also allows you to switch off the water remotely (e.g. if you are on holiday).
To find out more about these technologies and other suppliers, please see the links provided below.
Finally, in addition to installing detection equipment, there are a few simple things we can all do to help prevent leaks and get our pipes ready for winter, which can be found on the ABI website HERE.
Details of some of the leading leak-detection suppliers:
Please note, that by providing this list we are not specifically endorsing any one or all of them. We recommend that you complete your own research to find the solution that best suits your needs.
If you have any questions on the advice provided in this article, get in touch with the team on 0800 980 2701.
Category: Employee Benefits & Healthcare