It is a common enough nightmare for any landlord.
Your tenant calls in the dead of night – or some equally inconvenient hour – to complain that water is flooding the kitchen floor. You need to spring into action to prevent any further damage to your let property and, of course, ensure that the reason for the emergency is fixed.
That means calling out a 24-hour plumber, who needs to trace the source of any leak, gain access to the necessary pipework and fittings, and repair them. You need to act quickly so that loss and damage is minimised but also to return a water supply to your tenants – that is one of their basic rights.
Your insurance claim
Once the emergency has been resolved, the flooded floors mopped up, the leak fixed, and the water supply restored, you are almost certain to make a claim on your landlord insurance policy for all the damage caused and the repairs that needed to be made.
That is when you may discover just how important is the definition of trace and access cover.
Your landlord insurance is likely to make provision for loss or damage caused by the escape of water – so water damage to floor coverings, curtains, appliances and the like may be safely covered.
But what about the expense of calling out that emergency plumber? What about the costs associated with tracing and gaining access to the leaking pipework – it might have involved lifting floorboards, perhaps even digging up the tiled floor, removing plasterwork from the walls, and, of course, repairing and renewing any failed pipework and fittings.
None of this work is covered by the provision for loss and damage caused by the escape of water itself. They remain uninsured losses and the expense has to be borne by yourself – unless you have trace and access insurance.
Trace and access insurance
Trace and access insurance is not a standalone policy but may be incorporated as part of your landlord insurance cover.
The problem is that by no means all landlord insurance policies include such provision – and, without it, you are left having to foot the bill for all the work likely to have been involved in tracing the source of the problem, getting access to the burst or leaking pipework, and fixing it with new or repaired pipes and fittings. Not only that, but you’ll have to pay for the repairs need in tracing the leak – something which we at UKinsuranceNET have seen getting costlier with the trend for wet rooms etc.
The good news is that any landlord insurance arranged by us here at UKinsuranceNET comes with trace and access cover as standard. You are not going to be left wondering whether a major cost involved in resolving emergencies such as an escape of water or, indeed, those involving a failure of the electricity or gas supplies where tracing and accessing the faults are likely to involve considerable expense.
Trace and access cover for underground services
Some of our landlord insurance policies also include trace and access cover for problems associated under your property such as gas, electricity and sewage pipework.
Again, the costs involved in tracing and accessing a problem - and the repairs thereafter - with utility pipes can be very expensive to carry out. In the best case scenario you could see your front garden or driveway dug up. In the worst case, tradesmen may need to dig down really deep though concrete floors in your property order to find the source of the problem.
The next time you receive an emergency call from one of your tenants about an escape of water, that all the lights have suddenly gone out, or that there is a worrying smell of gas, rest assured that any landlord insurance arranged by UKinsuranceNET safely covers you for the expense of tracing, accessing and fixing the problem.