Escape of water claims are reaching an all-time high. The risks only increase as we head into the cold British winter months. We have put together our top tips for you to stay warm and dry this winter.
Water leaks are one of the most common home claims accounting for just over a quarter of all UK Household claims. Figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) show that escape of water claims have increased 31% over the last three years to £1bn worth of damage. The cost of these claims increases dramatically when you are talking about the high-net-worth market. When you have higher value items within your home even the smallest leak can cause significant damage. The expertise required to reinstate your property means these claims can potentially end up costing thousands of pounds.
High-Value homes are more likely to have larger claims
It is not just the value of the home and contents that increase claims costs. Many of our private and high net worth clients are more likely to have larger more costly claims. They have second homes that are unoccupied for long periods of time. Or outbuildings on their land where leaks can remain undiscovered allowing damage to continue for a prolonged period. In addition to this they can have multiple bathrooms and expensive internal fixtures and fittings naturally increasing the probability of a water claim and the cost of such claims.
We at JMP understand the distress any claim causes but water damage in the home can be especially difficult. Due to the extent of damage that can be caused and the time it takes to dry out your home and restore it back to normality. Many water claims will result in you having to move into alternative accommodation until the works are completed. We ensure that all of our specialist high value household policies include a minimum of three years cover. If you do have to move out of your home all the costs are covered by your insurance policy.
Of course, your insurance policy is there to put your home back in order if the worst does happen. However, there are a number of things you can do yourself to make sure you have done all that you can to protect your home this winter.
Winter Health Check
- Check the roof of your home from the ground to see any potential signs of wear, loose or missing tiles and get any replaced as necessary. Walls should also be checked for cracked, loose or missing pointing or rendering, again have it repaired before any water can get it and cause damage to your home.
- Keep your gutters and drains debris free so if there is heavy rain or snowfall the water can easily drain away and not cause damage to your walls or foundations.
- Check pipes outside the home and in more exposed areas within your home such as the loft and basement. You should check they are not damaged or cracked. If there are any small faults it’s much better to get them fixed before they get worse and becomes a much bigger issue
- If you do have pipes that are more exposed in unheated areas you should consider insulating them with waterproof foam lagging.
- Keeping your loft door open can help circulate warm air throughout your home and keep those exposed pipes from freezing
- If you are going away over the winter it is a good idea to switch of your water from the stopcock. Do you know where your stopcock is in your home? If you don’t, find out now! If you do have a water leak the quicker you can get the water switched off the less damage there will be.
- If you don’t want to turn your water off when you are going away then you should keep your home heated throughout the winter; systems now usually have a frost setting. If it doesn’t then maintain your central heating to 13 degrees which will keep any pipes from freezing whilst you’re not home.
- Keep your eye on problem areas. Low water pressure, temperamental heating systems, condensation and damp are all warning signs to there being a leak somewhere in your system. If you do have any of these signs get a plumber to assess your water system as soon as possible.
- Consider getting a leak protection system installed. There are lots of these on the market and are designed to detect the excessive flow of water and, when they do, either shut off your water supply or notify you remotely so you can investigate the problem.
Following these top tips can reduce your chances of having to deal with a water damage claim this year. If you want to know more about how to protect your home and how our insurance policies can help you then please contact our specialist private client team today on 01242 898387.