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What does trace and access insurance do?

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Do you know whether your property insurance includes trace and access cover? You might be forgiven for any uncertainty in the matter, since some policies may include it as standard whilst others do not.

The importance of trace and access insurance

A previously published case study by the Financial Ombudsman helps to explain why trace and access insurance is so important.

It outlines a complaint received from a homeowner who had been away on an extended holiday over Christmas. In the freezing weather, a water pipe had burst, and the homeowner returned to find the kitchen flooded from the leak in the bathroom above.

Extensive damage was caused to the kitchen ceiling, walls and carpets.

When he submitted a claim, the homeowner’s insurer agreed to pay for the damage caused by the escape of water but not the expense of calling out the emergency plumber to trace the leak and repair the burst pipe. He complained to the Financial Ombudsman about the insurer’s failure to pay for those costs.

But the Financial Ombudsman dismissed the complaint because the policy wording of the homeowner’s insurance referred only to cover for the loss and damage caused by the escape of water and not to any trace and access cover for the plumber’s charges for tracing the leak and repairing it.

Trace and access insurance

That is why your home insurance policy needs to include a specific reference to and definition of trace and access cover – if it does not, then like the homeowner in this case study, you are likely to have to foot the bill yourself for the costs involved in tracing any similar problem, the repairs to the pipework, and any new materials and fittings required.

Gaining access might have required the digging up tiled, concrete floors to find the source of the leak or even knocking holes in the walls of your home to find the root of the problem.

Although trace and access cover may save you considerable out of pocket expenses in such an emergency, they remain uninsured losses unless the policy specifically incorporates such cover.

The problem for many homeowners is that not all home insurance policies include such protection.

Home insurance arranged by UKinsuranceNET

That is one area where property insurance policies arranged by UKinsuranceNET come into their own – all of our policies (domestic and commercial) incorporate trace and access cover as standard.

This provides indemnity against the potentially considerable costs involved in tracing any leak of water or gas in your home – work which might sometimes involve digging up floors, lifting floorboards, or removing the plasterwork in several different areas in order to identify the source of any problem - and then the repairs after.

Underground services

You may also be interested to learn that some of our home insurance policies also include trace and access cover as standard for underground services. Underground services typically include electricity, gas, water and drainage etc., and while you pay a supplier for these services, you are responsible for the pipes that run under your property.

So, if there is a problem with your utilities that can be traced back to pipework on your property, your home insurance policy will cover the costs in accessing the problem and any repairs.

Next steps

You might want to check your home insurance policy carefully and establish whether it offers the trace and access cover you may need. If it does not, or if you are in any doubt whether such protection is included, please feel free to contact us here at UKinsuranceNET - we’d be delighted to help.