Is my water leak covered by home insurance?
As an experienced damp proofing company, we see first-hand the damage a water leak or a penetrating damp problem can cause to a property. What we also see, is the mine field a homeowner sometimes must go through to get the investigation and necessary repairs covered by home insurance.
According the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the insurance industry pays out approximately £2.5m every day to customers who have made ‘escape of water’ claims on their home insurance. What is worrying for the homeowner, is that they also estimate almost one in five of home insurance claims is unsuccessful. ABI put this down to a lack of unawareness as to what is and isn’t included in the home insurance policy and a rejected claim because customers were deemed to not be maintaining their home properly.
In this blog, we look at the importance of knowing what your home insurance covers and offer our own advice that may just protect you and your property as well as save you money.
So just how well do you know the terms used in home insurance policies, and how well covered are you in the event of a water leak claim?
Maintain your property
It really goes without saying that prevention is better than a cure with water leak claims. By keeping up with property maintenance you can avoid the problem all together. Don’t put of the little jobs, such as clearing your guttering, fixing slipped roof tiles, checking rendering and pointing, make sure appliances are plumbed in correctly and baths and showers are sealed. Check also for damp patches and a damp smell, these can indicate there is moisture starting to get in from somewhere.
Remember home insurance does not cover leaks due to poor property maintenance such as a leaking roof.
Understand your responsibilities as a homeowner
Home insurance will usually cover as standard, leaks, such as a leaking shower, leaking radiators and appliance leaks. However, if water is leaking through because of age or condition then this can sometimes result in a refused claim. Maintain records of repairs and keep records of the works and the professionals you have used to complete work, this may become very important in the event of a loss, and is good practice to keep as a homeowner.
Know what is covered, trace and access is key
While most home insurance policies will cover damage caused to your property by ‘escape of water’, some will not cover the cost of finding the source of the damage. This might mean you are liable for the cost of this investigative work, which can involve digging up floors, a thermal imaging camera survey, or a pipework pressure test from a plumber, all this works can be expensive. Therefore, it is important to check if your policy includes trace and access as this covers the cost of investigation and repair.
Check also if your insurance covers replacing the parts of the building that were removed to help get to the escaping water, for example, replacing flooring which was taken up to investigate a pipe leaking under the floor.
Check for standard exclusions
Some home insurance policies carry exclusions, for example; works required to sort out damage caused by damp, dry rot and wet rot, can sometimes be given as an exclusion in a policy. This is concerning when those problems are often the result of a water leak.
Water damage from burst pipes is usually covered, although it’s worth checking if there are any limitations. Some insurers will only cover water up to a certain height or distance, for example one policy might cover you for water that enters the property and others might only cover the water damage up to your front door. Always check for exclusions as it may be possible to add these to your policy.
Know how the claim process works and your choice options
Your insurance company will usually allocate a Loss Adjuster to assess the extent of the damage. Check your policy to see if you have the choice to choose your own company to repair the works, or ask the insurance company if they have a preferred suppliers list.
Call ProTen for further advice
ProTen have decades of experience working with damp problems. We can assist and investigate an escape of water problems and assess the cause, damage, and put together a treatment and repair programme.
We can also assist customers who have logged a water leak claim with their home insurance provider and need an assessment of damage and quotation for repair, including sub floor investigation, thermal imaging investigations.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you keep your property dry.