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Frozen Pipes - Your Insurance Might Cover Less Than You Think

It’s a nightmare situation for anyone returning home after a Christmas getaway. Though you left everything perfectly in order, nature had other ideas and froze the water in your plumbing, forcing your pipes to burst open. Time to call your insurer and the plumber. But that’s ok, you’ve got buildings and contents insurance. You’re covered for this sort of thing, right?

You’d be surprised.

You see, when a pipe bursts, there are three costs that usually pop up:

  • The cost of locating and accessing the leak
  • The cost of repairing the pipe
  • The cost of the water damage caused by the leak

Each of these costs will be covered by separate elements of your home or landlord insurance and you may not have cover for all three as standard features of your policy.

Finding The Leak

In order to find the break a plumber may have to tear away chunks of your home, checking the likely spots one at a time in trial and error fashion. By the time he’s done, the leak may be fixed, but your house might look like swiss cheese.

Finding and getting to a leak can prove difficult and expensive – your insurance might (and, we stress, ‘might’) include trace and access cover to pay for the cost of this. If you don’t have trace and access cover, your insurer may cover the cost of the leak but you could find yourself facing a large bill to make and then repair access holes in walls or floors.

Repairing The Pipes

Before dealing with any water damage, the burst pipe must be repaired. The cost of this may be included in your home insurance, but this isn’t always the case. On 5 September 2014, Gocompare.com reviewed 328 home insurance policies and found that only 64% covered the cost of repairing pipes that had burst as a result of frost and freezing.

For extra protection in the event of a burst pipe, you could consider adding home emergency cover to your policy. This could protect you if you need to call out an emergency plumber – Weir even offer a contact to give you access to approved tradesmen.

Covering The Damage Caused

Most home insurance policies include cover for the damage caused by burst and frozen pipes as standard, but you might want to ask us to check the terms and conditions of your policy to make sure you’re protected.

“But this doesn’t happen often” you may think to yourself. “I think I’ll take my chances.”

Again, you may be unpleasantly surprised.

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the insurance industry pays out £2.5m every day to customers in home insurance claims specifically regarding escape of water. That includes problems caused by burst and frozen pipes, or leaks caused by old and corroded pipes. It may not be as common as say, a car accident - but the costs involved can be far more prohibitive.

Check Your Escape Of Water Excess

When claiming for the cost of damage caused by an escape of water, it’s important to be aware that many insurers charge a different excess to your standard policy excess, or add an additional excess on top of it.

How Can I Make Sure I Don’t Get caught Out?

The best thing to do is to simply have us examine your policy. We can tell you straight away if you are covered for this kind of event, and even tell you how much (or little) extra it will cost to protect yourself. If you’re worried about your cover, better to check soon than be caught out. A small change in your premiums could save you a hefty plumbing bill this winter. 

Give us a call to be sure.

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