Loss of water in your property
Any amount of water entering your property can quickly turn into a big issue if it is not spotted fast. Water damage can spread rapidly and take many months and great expense to rectify. This is why insurance to cover against loss of water is such an important part of a home insurance policy.
The difference between flood and escape of water
Escape of water is one of the most common claims made on a home insurance policy. Escape of water claims are often confused by homeowners with claims for flood damage. Despite the fact that they both involve water, the two of these are actually very different types of claims. Flood water is classed as any water that enters the property from an outside source. Examples include surface water flooding, a river that has burst its banks or a blocked drain at the top of your road. Escape of water is water that enters your property from an internal source. Examples include a leaking pipe, faulty boiler or broken washing machine.
One of the big things that people want to know when considering their home insurance options is, is a water leak covered by homeowners insurance? The short answer to this is yes. As long as the water can be pinpointed to an insured incident and you are complying with all the terms of your insurance there is no reason that your insurer should not pay out on a claim.
There are three main areas that a loss of water claim can end up costing money:
- Locating and then accessing the leak
- Repairing the pipe
- Repairing any water damage caused by the leak
ABI estimate that the cost to the insurance industry from an escape of water was £730 million in 2010. This shows the extent of damage that this peril can cause to homeowners in the UK.
It is worth checking before you make a claim that your escape of water excess is not more than the cost of the damage itself. In this situation, it will be cheaper to simply repair the damage yourself. Even if you take this route, you will still need to inform your insurer that this incident has taken place.
The water damage insurance claim process – what you should do
It is best to comply as much as possible with the claim procedure in order to make a valid claim on your home insurance that will allow you to recoup the cost of the damage. As soon as possible you should contact your insurance company to advise them of the situation. You should then follow the procedure below:
- Minimise any further loss of water by turning off the stopcock in your property. Drain the system by running any taps that are not in the area of damage.
- Turn off your electricity supply if there is extensive water in the property.
- Do not throw away damaged items. They may be needed by your insurance company to confirm the value of your claim.
- It is also a good idea to take photos to document any damage that has occurred in case you need these at a later date.
Liability for escape of water
The other issue that can occur with escape of water incidents is that they can inadvertently damage your neighbours’ property. This is particularly true if you live in close proximity such as a flat or terraced house. At this point, the liability aspect of your cover will kick in to cover your costs. First though, your insurer may turn to escape of water case law to establish whether you are liable for this damage or not.
This basically means that it will need to be ascertained whether you were negligent in allowing the water to escape. If this is the case then you will need to foot the bill for any repairs, using your liability cover. However, if it was simply a freak accident then it is unlikely that you will be made to meet the cost of rectifying your neighbours property. They will need to claim on their own home insurance policy.