As an Insurance Broker we are more than aware of the damage caused by burst pipes and water escaping. It can happen to any of us, due to frozen water in the pipes or a faulty drain, so we all need to be prepared. But what are you to do if this incident should occur in your home?
Burst and Frozen Pipes-
It depends on where the broken pipe is that can determine how much the repair is going to cost. There will be more than one cost when it comes to repair, these include, the cost of locating the damaged pipe, the cost of repair and the cost of damage by the leak.
Depending on your policy you may be covered for each of these, however you will have to read your documents as they overlap into different cover options available. The cost that you may need to consider are as follows:
The damage will need to be assessed. It depends what the plumber will need to do in order to fix the problem, such as removing units or walls to reach the pipe. You may have to consider the costs to put the house back to the way it was before the plumber had to move anything.
It is best to get the pipe repaired as soon as possible to avoid any more damage and begin with the clean-up. You may expect this cost to be covered by your home insurance but you will have to check your policy documents. You may need to consider adding Home Emergency Cover to your policy to be covered for accidents like this. This extra can also cover you for the costs of tradesmen up to a certain amount.
It is the damage to the property itself from the water that has escaped which most home insurance policies cover. After checking your policy documents, be sure that you are fully aware of what your cover includes and that you can claim on the insurance.
Once you have assessed the price of all of the damage with the help of a plumber, you can start to figure out which parts are covered by the insurance and exactly how much you will be spending on the repairs.
Most of us agree to pay an excess in the event of needing to claim on the insurance to lower our premiums. However it is common for insurers to have a different excess amount in the event an escape of water. This is because it is a different excess to your standard policy and can be added additionally. The amount of your excess will depend on your policy, you can check your documents or contact your insurer to find out what your excess would be in this instance.
If you have arrived home and noticed a pipe is frozen, you can try a few techniques to stop it getting any worse. This situation is mostly out of our control but we can do a few things to avoid it.
Insulate the pipes.
Buy an Elastomer to fit inside the pipes and stop them rupturing due to the expansion.
Direct a heat lamp at the area of concern.
Run hot water through the pipes to keep them warm.
Use a hairdryer to warm up the frozen water.
Learn how to turn the water on and off.
Repair dripping taps.
If you go on holiday, it’s a good idea to set the heating to go on for an hour a day, this will keep the pipes warm enough to stop them from freezing. You could also ask a neighbour to keep an eye on the property just to be sure all is well.
If you’re away from your home for some time, you may want to ensure that you have the correct cover for these circumstances. Remember that if you leave your home unoccupied for more than 30 days, you will need unoccupied home insurance.
We can all make mistakes and the easiest time to do so is with D.I.Y. People forget about wires and pipes behind the walls, so what do you do if it your fault?
There are ways of adding extras to your policy which give you accidental damage cover. You must be careful with these claims, they can cause dispute due to the nature of the claim. Perhaps you should leave D.I.Y to the professionals.
If it is already too late and you can’t prevent the pipe from bursting, there are a few things you should remember.
First of all, switch of water at the mains and the central heating or boiler system.
Contact a plumber or heating engineer to come and assess the damage. Depending on your insurance policy you may be covered for these costs. Our insurers provide a 24 hour emergency help line.
If you have the repairs done before you contact the insurer you may be able to be reimbursed after the repairs are finished. We recommend contacting your insurer first to get an idea of what you should do.