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Does my insurance cover water damage?

Water can cause serious damage to properties in any season but it’s especially common during winter months.

    Water can cause serious damage to properties in any season but it’s especially common during winter months.

    Uninsulated water pipes can freeze and potentially burst, sometimes meaning that ice dams form on roofs. Whilst worst case scenarios would include thawed snow entering the basement, causing flooding and a costly price tag to match.

    A common question asked is whether your insurance will cover water damage.

    Usually, water damage to your home will be covered as a standard feature to your property’s insurance policy. Pipes bursting, leaking dishwashers or an overflowing bath are referred to as an escape of water, and this is different to flooding.

    Flooding is the term insurers use when describing water that comes into your home from an external source. For example, an overflowing river or burst mains on your road.

    Escape of water is one of the most common types of property damage claims. It is averaged that insurers pay out £1.8 million every day.
    If a claim needs to be made, your insurer may cover the cost of locating, accessing and repairing the leak as well as any additional cost of water damage restoration.

    Do be sure to check if your policy covers ‘trace and access’ cover, or ‘home emergency’ as these aren’t always standard. If you have contents insurances, you should be covered for any damaged belongings that have been ruined because of escape of water.

    If you have ‘accidental insurance’, then you will most likely be covered for things like overflowing baths or drilling into pipes.

    If you have water damage from property neglect or preventable damage, then it is likely you will not be covered. The best way to avoid this is by taking care of your pipes all year round, fixing any immediate leaks and protecting them in harsh weathers.

    Ways to maintain your pipes all year round –

    • Get to know your stopcocks. Knowing where they are means you can regularly test them, so they don’t seize up. If there is an escape of water or a leak, turning off your stopcock asap can help reduce the level of damage caused.
    • Consider fitting a leak detection device. This will monitor your water use and turn off your water if it suspects a leak. A plumber should fit this professionally.
    • Check your pipes. Regularly check for looseness, leaks or drips as finding it early can prevent mass damage later down the line.
    • Clean your drains regularly. Substances such as oils and fat from cooking can cause drain clogs. Do not flush baby wipes, sanitary products or cotton wool pads as this will also cause a blockage.
    • Don’t drill until you are sure! Make sure you know where your water pipes are when doing DIY around the house. You can get a stud finder to locate them.

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