Escape of water is one of the most common causes of domestic property claims. Leakages take no prisoners; flood water damages anything in its path and severe leaks can cause hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage.
It’s a real concern for many of our private and high net worth clients, who often have unoccupied second homes or outbuildings on their land, where leakages can go undiscovered for large periods of time. Couple that with the higher than usual value of items within these properties, and you see the scale of the issue.
In fact, according to the latest report from insurer, Zurich, the cost of claims arising from Escape of Water jumped by more than £100m (£529m to £654m) in the last three years.
Because it’s such a costly risk, and proper risk management could save our clients a large amount of time and money, we asked our head of Private Clients, Jeff Gibson, for his thoughts on preventing Escape of Water.
Jeff gave us five points to think about when managing and covering the risk.
Speak to the experts when organising cover
Underinsurance is a real concern for many, especially when the value of items belonging to High Net Worth clients can fluctuate so often. It’s vital that when you speak to a broker to arrange cover, they’re experienced enough to understand value issues, only associated with High Net Worth clients, like the value of antiques, the cost of replacing extensive smart home technology etc.
Understand the layout of your property
A very common cause of leakage is faulty pipework, or incorrect plumbing/building/repair work. Understanding the layout of your property gives you insight into where leakages are more likely to occur i.e. where the work you carry out is likely to affect any existing pipework.
Keep your empty properties heated
Aside from accidental damage from maintenance or building work, another common cause of Escape of Water is from burst pipers during the winter months. Many Summer or Holiday Homes’ will stay unoccupied for up to 8 months, and with temperatures dropping more and more over winter, this can cause a problem. To help manage this risk, organise someone who lives near the property to regularly turn the heating on for a short period of time and turn different taps on to let water run through the pipes. We’d also advise that you keep the central heating on at least 10oc when the property is unoccupied.
Use smart technology
In this day and age, there are countless versions of smart technology designed to detect water leaks and to ensure that water is flowing as it should through all pipes in the property. Many of these link in to existing smart home technology that you may already have in your home. If you’d like more advice on which technology is most suitable, you can contact the Private Clients team here at Romero.
Record property values regularly and speak to your insurance broker
It may not be a risk prevention method, but it will certainly help you if you do need to make a claim. If you don’t record property value regularly, you could be left underinsured and counting the cost of your inactivity. Again, it’s vital that if you do work on your property that will increase its value, or any of the items in your house regularly fluctuate, that you speak to your broker to understand how this will affect your cover and premium.
So there’s a snapshot view of preventing the ‘Escape of Water’ risk, but our Private Client team are ready and waiting to give you a far more extensive explanation of the risk and its preventative measures. Contact us today to speak to one of our expert colleagues.