Burst and frozen water pipes – escape of water insurance claims and how to prevent them from your empty home and unoccupied property

Losses resulting from leaking or burst pipes have a significant impact on the insurance industry and insurers pay out over £2.5m every day to policyholders for ‘escape of water’ claims.

There are ways you can try to avoid being one of the statistics with some sensible precautions for your home. An incident occurring whilst the property is empty will significantly impact the amount of your insurance claim as you will not be there when the loss occurs. You should ensure any property insurance policy for unoccupied property should include escape of water cover for this reason.



How to prepare for the cold weather

Many people don’t even know where the stop cock is, so locate it, make sure it operates correctly and has not seized up.

Make sure your water pipes are lagged with adequate, well fitted, pipe insulation. You should check your pipes and tanks in the loft, outside pipes and anywhere else the water pipes could be exposed. Sometimes your gas boiler will have a water pipe feeding it from the outside wall and this needs to be correctly protected from frost and freezing temperatures.

Repair any faulty or dripping taps. This will help prevent the water from accumulating and freezing.

Make sure you continue to heat your home, even more important if you are not in, or if the home is unoccupied. Most insurers, if they are providing escape of water insurance for the empty property, will require the central heating to be left on 24hrs per day at 12 degrees C during the winter months.

If the property will be left unoccupied you should ask a trusted person to visit the property as regularly as possible to ensure all is well. They should check the heating is functioning and that there are no leaks or obvious problems with the property. For an empty property insurance to operate there is likely going to be a requirement for the trusted person to keep a record of the visit and it will also specify the regularity of the visits. The period between visits in the colder winter months is likely to be reduced to 14 days.

If it is particularly cold you should also leave your loft hatch open to allow the warm air to circulate around the water pipes and your header tank in the loft space – again, this is a requirement of some insurers.

If you suffer a burst pipe in your home..

Make sure the stop cock is turned off – this one shouldn’t be a problem if you’ve followed the earlier advice! Switch off your heating and any other heating installations. Turn on the taps to allow the water to drain from your system. Make sure professional repairs are carried out and the system thoroughly checked before turning the heating system back on.

You will of course need to notify your insurer of the damage to the property and if necessary, liaise with their appointed loss adjuster in relation to any claim you may need to make.

This entry was posted in Probate News, Property Owners News, Unoccupied Property News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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