Escape of water claims explained by Jersey Mutual
What is an ‘escape of water’?
Water damage in your home can range from a mild inconvenience to a cause of severe emotional distress. From leaking washing machines to burst pipes, the damage caused by water can be devastating. In order to protect your property should the worst happen, it is important to have a robust home insurance policy and to take necessary precautions to avoid an ‘escape of water’.
Escape of water is a term used by insurers to describe unexpected damage within the home caused by burst pipes or leaking appliances. The term flood is used to refer to damage caused by the elements.
According to data from the Association of British Insurers, escape of water is the most common type of household insurance claim, accounting for 30% of claims in 2018. It is also one of the most expensive things to repair. So it pays to have a good understanding of what is covered by your home insurance policy. Here is a brief guide as to what may and may not be covered, and how to limit the risk of an escape of water in your home.
Escape of water – what can you claim for?
Jersey Mutual’s House and Home policy will cover water damage caused inside the home that is sudden and unexpected. This includes leakage from boilers, radiators, appliances and pipes.
The most common burst pipe claims occur during the winter in freezing conditions. When exposed, pipes can freeze causing them to expand and burst, and then leak once defrosted. The damage from frozen pipes can be severe, especially if it occurs when homes are unoccupied for a length of time. Other common claims are due to leaking appliances, such as washing machines, and faulty central heating. These instances are covered by Jersey Mutual’s House and Home insurance policy as standard.
Jersey Mutual’s House and Home insurance policy will also include ‘trace and access’ cover, that is, the hire of a professional to trace the source of a leak if it is not visible.
What is escape of water excess?
In the event of an escape of water, your insurance will usually cover the cost of repair to your property, plus the replacement of affected possessions on a new for old basis. This is of course after excess, that is, the pre-agreed amount which you are expected to contribute to your claim.
Excess for escape of water is usually higher than for other sorts of claims, due to the high cost of repair. Always be clear on what your excess is, to avoid any unexpected financial burden.
How to prevent an escape of water – our top ten list
- Always hire a professional to install and maintain your pipes. As tempting as it may be to undertake the work yourself, it could well be a false economy if you are faced with expensive repair fees later on.
- When holidaying in the winter months take precautions. If you are going away for a long period, consider shutting off your water supply to limit any potential damage and set your central heating on a timer so that the pipes do not have a chance to freeze. You could also ask a friend or family member to make regular visits.
- Burst pipes often occur in lofts, where the lack of heating increases the chance of freezing. When the weather is particularly cold, consider leaving your loft hatch open, allowing warm air to flow upwards.
- Make sure that you have your pipes insulated to reduce the risk of freezing. Escape of water claims can be disputed if your pipes are not lagged and go on to freeze and burst.
- Consider investing in a leak detection system. This intelligent technology uses sensors to alert you to leaks and will automatically turn off the water supply if a risk is detected. Some insurers may even consider reducing your insurance premium if you have a leak detector installed.
- Be conscientious about maintaining your bathroom and kitchen. Replace sealants on taps, showers and baths when they look worn. Replace old appliances as soon as possible, before they have a chance to leak.
- Clean your drains regularly and be mindful of what you put down them. Substances such as food, hair and oil cause blockages that may rupture pipes.
- Make sure that you and other members of your household know the location of your stopcock(s) in the case of an emergency. Bear in mind that you may have more than one and it may be located outside of your property, sometimes on the street.
- Where you can, avoid using appliances when there is nobody at home. A leaking washing machine will cause far less damage when somebody is on hand to deal with it immediately.
- Be aware – where pipes are visible or accessible, check them regularly for leaks. If you suspect a leak you cannot see, look at your water meter to see if there are any unusual increases over a period of time. You could also study your water bill for signs that your usage has increased.
What to do if you have an escape of water in your home
It’s important to act quickly if there is a major leak within your home. Immediately shut off your water supply at the stopcock and limit the damage as best as you can by cleaning the affected area. If the leak occurs near an electrical supply, turn it off and act with caution.
If you can, contact your insurer before work is carried out to confirm exactly what is covered and to what value. Don’t forget to check what the excess is. A Loss Adjuster may visit your home, but it is a good idea to take pictures of the damage and source of the leak as evidence.
Recommended reading: Does my home insurance cover water damage?
What repair work is covered by my insurance?
Once your claim is approved by your insurer, work can proceed to repair your property. It may include cleaning, drying out, stripping damaged fittings and repairing cosmetic damage. Your contents insurance will cover the cost of replacing any spoiled possessions on a like for like basis.
In the unfortunate event that your home becomes uninhabitable, Jersey Mutual’s House and Home policy will also cover the cost of alternative accommodation for you and your family.
Protect your home from escape of water with Jersey Mutual
As a member of Jersey Mutual Insurance Society, you can rest assured that your home is protected for escape of water. We understand how stressful and worrying a leak in your home can be, and we will aim to settle your claim as quickly as possible with no lengthy phone queues or delay tactics.
You can expect a caring and personal service, at the time you need it most. We have your best interest at heart and a senior member of our team will visit you in the case of a claim.
Contact us today, and let us offer you a lifeline when an escape of water threatens your home.