Top tips to deal with a burst water pipe

According to Legal & General, one of the top reasons for home insurance claims is for leaks or damage to homes from an escape of water.

Of these the most common by far are related to leaks from water pipes, which make up 38% of all the water damage claims, followed by damage from faulty showers, toilets/cisterns and basins.

The FTSE 100 company has received nearly 14,600 claims for water damage caused by leaking pipes since the beginning of 2014, at a cost of nearly £36m. It also received over 3,000 claims related to leaking showers.

In total, Legal & General has received 38,000 household insurance claims for water damage over the last two and a half years, with a total value of £81m. The latest ABI statistics also confirm that this is one of the top reasons for customer claims across the industry, with £1.72m paid every day for escape of water claims in residential properties in 2014.

The average cost of a claim for damage caused by leaking, frozen or damaged water pipes is £2390, Legal & General’s data shows. For burst central heating pipes alone, the costs are higher at £2,800 on average per claim.

Legal & General’s claims statistics include both claims paid directly to customers and any costs paid directly to suppliers or workman in respect of a customer’s claim, where no cash benefit has been paid to the customer.

The insurer is looking to raise awareness of the risk of water damage in the home and how property owners can help prevent these, particularly in October, when many people turn their central heating back on.

Claire Hird, Head of Household Claims at Legal & General, commented: “Having your home damaged by an escape of water is extremely stressful and inconvenient given the areas of your home which could likely be affected, such as kitchens and bathrooms. We have received around 38,000 water damage-based claims over the last two and a half years, with leaks from water pipes being far and away the biggest in terms of both value and frequency. We are keen to make our customers and the wider public aware of the risks of water damage in the home, how common these incidents are and what steps can be taken to minimise their potential exposure to such a situation.”

Legal & General’s five-point health check for homeowners to prevent or reduce the effects of water damage is as follows:

1. Regularly monitor your water meter readings (if you have one) so you can spot any big increase in usage;

2. Make sure you know where your main water stopcock or valve is and ensure it is operational;

3. Check if you have a drain valve on your central heating system and make sure that you know how to use this in the event of a leak to help minimize the damage;

4. Ensure that water pipes are lagged correctly in order to minimize the risk of them cracking during the colder months;

5. Check if you have Home Emergency Cover on your Home Insurance which could provide 24-hour support and cover for call-out charges and parts for certain emergency repairs.

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