What you need to know about Escape of Water
Water damage is a continuing problem for many who own or manage properties. In fact, escape of water is one of the most common domestic property claims. Insurers pay out about £1.8m a day according to the Association of British Insurers. It is thought to affect around 43% of domestic properties.
Managing the risk could limit the problem for building owners, occupants and managers.
Water damage to property is usually covered as a standard feature in a buildings insurance policy. Often referred to as Escape of Water, it can be caused by several issues, from burst pipes due to freezing temperatures, to a leaking dishwasher or an overflowing blocked toilet – Association of British Insurers.
What causes Escape of Water
- Changing lifestyles. If the property has been upgraded with additional toilets and showers this increases the risk of water damage. Older properties with corroding pipes are also a risk and should be replaced to limit the risk. If a building has experienced DIY improvements and repairs, it is important to ensure that pipes and fixtures have been installed correctly. This helps to prevent serious damage happening in the future.
- Escape of water often happens in winter when frozen pipes, left un-lagged, burst during a thaw. The damage can be extensive, affecting walls, floors and furniture, along with the building itself if the damage is undetected. This type of escape of water risk is particularly common in unoccupied properties when the pipes are not warmed through heating. It is important to take extra precautions in colder months to ensure pipes are well insulated and regular inspections carried out.
- Poor building construction can increase the risk. This includes incorrect installation of modern plumbing methods and failure of joints in pipework. Furthermore human error, such as valves being mistakenly left open prior to changing the water supply system, can also cause a water leak.
How can you limit Escape of Water risks?
- Ensure regular inspections are carried out on cold water tanks and pipework.
- Check for dripping or leaking overflows.
- Inspect and maintain sealant around showers.
- Repair dripping taps as soon as possible.
- Be aware if heating fails, this may be due to freezing pipes.
- Quickly isolate appliances if leaking.
- Be aware and do not ignore signs of water leaks.
- Finally, the use of technology can provide real help in identifying water leaks in a supply system. Remote meter reading and leak warning devices, are examples. There are also devices that enable water consumption analysis and recognise abnormal usage trends – providing an early warning of water leaks. Additionally, devices can be designed for individual buildings and linked to a smartphone. This enables a notification to be sent if a leak occurs when the property is unoccupied – some devices can also cut off the water supply automatically.
What to do if you have a leak
If you suspect escape of water, and it is safe to do so, you should:
- Turn off the main water supply for your home so that further damage is prevented.
- Turn off the power and avoid electrical appliances. Contact an electrician first if you have to stand in water to turn off the mains electricity.
- Take some photos of the damage.
- If you’re one of our clients, contact us to pursue a claim.
We are Experienced Insurance Brokers, with offices in Essex and Suffolk, and can help ensure you have the right level of cover.
If you would like us to talk you through Property Insurance please get in touch with us. We can offer a no-obligation quote too. You can contact us:
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