Preparing for escape of water before going on holiday

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Escape of water claims are rising costing the insurance industry £2.5 million every day and continuing to increase, according to the Association of British Insurers.

The equivalent of 48 bathtubs of water can escape from a single pipe in one day and the effects can be devastating.

We often think of escape of water as a winter issue due to freezing conditions causing burst pipes, but research shows that July & August are the biggest months for this type of claim when homeowners tend to go on holiday. As a result of the property not being occupied the severity of any water damage can increase significantly as leaks often go undetected for days and sometimes even weeks.

In a recent case, a policyholder had returned home from a three week holiday to the sound of a hiss coming from the downstairs cloakroom.  They discovered water on the tiles and on further investigation a copper pipe supplying the downstairs toilet had corroded, causing a leak.  Initial assessment was that damage rectification would be straightforward because the downstairs was not completely flooded.

Strip out and drying works began but it soon became apparent that the problem had extended far beyond the WC.

Despite initial appearances, due to the water escaping over such a prolonged period, water had run under the flooring in the hallway and the living rooms, even into the kitchen, damaging the floor throughout.  The plaster on the walls had also been affected as were the kitchen cabinets.

The policyholders now faced extensive disruption, with the replacement flooring, plastering and  redecoration required in the entire downstairs of their house as well as a replacement kitchen.

Escape of water is made worse by unoccupancy, which makes it a year-round problem.  Don’t forget to switch off the water supply by simply turning off the stopcock when you go away.

For more helpful advice and information about protecting your home, call us on 01603 626155 and ask for the Personal Insurance team.