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Escape of water advice for the winter

Water and the damage it can cause can be devastating.

Home Insurance
Flooding

The UK weather is very unpredictable and so far it’s been a mild winter, but now the temperature has dropped, it’s important to keep pipes protected from the cold.

That’s because burst pipes, caused by water freezing and expanding, account for the majority of escape of water claims we receive every winter.

To help you avoid this and keep their pipes protected, we’ve produced some simple advice and information that will help them get prepared.

Escape of Water

According to the ABI, escape of water was the most likely cause for household insurance claims in 2014.
It accounted for 24% of all losses reported in the same year.

This was closely followed by weather claims which accounted for 17%.

Advice to avoid frozen pipes

Ensure water pipes and water tanks are insulated correctly as these exposed pipes are more likely to freeze. If unsure visit your local DIY store for more advice. Also, consider opening your loft hatch as allowing warm air to reach the loft can reduce the risk of the water tank freezing.

Keep your heating on for a regular interval each day at a temperature between 12-15 degrees Celsius, especially whilst the home is unoccupied.

Kitchen and bathroom cabinets can keep warm air from reaching sinks and adjacent outside walls, keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate.

Make sure you know where your stop cock is, and check that it works. This can usually be found under the kitchen sink. If you cannot locate then contact a local plumber for advice. Also, think about an electronic stop cock replacement as these can be less prone to sticking.

ABI Advice on what to do if you find your pipes are frozen

Turn the water off at the main stopcock and attempt to thaw frozen pipes with a hot water bottle or hairdryer where possible.

Switch off your central heating or any other water heating installations and open all taps to drain the system. Ensure that professional repair has been carried out before switching back on.

Keep your insurer claims contact details near to your phone. Please refer to your policy wording / booklet for further information on how to report a claim to your insurer

A list of insurer claims helpline numbers can be found here
The top 10 areas of the home likely to be impacted by burst pipes claims which were reported to AXA Personal Intermediary during the period 2013-2015 were the following:

1. Bathroom

2. Kitchen

3. Ceiling

4. Toilet

5. Boiler

6. Under Floor Pipes / Under Floor Heating

7. Radiator

8. Damp Internal Walls and Ceilings

9. Washing Machine

10. Leak from Neighbouring Property (e.g upstairs flat)

For Bathroom Burst Pipe Claims, over the period 2013-2015 this type of loss was most likely to have occurred in the month of January.

Boiler and heating advice

Make sure that your boiler has recently been serviced by a Gas Safe engineer http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk.

Look for small gaps around the areas where your television, cable or telephone lines come through the wall, and seal them up to avoid cold air getting through.

If you are on holiday for a long period it may be worthwhile draining the water system entirely and asking a friend or neighbour to check your house once a week whilst your away to make sure everything is ok.
Sources: ABI – Make sure your home is ‘Winter Fit’ 2015, ABI – Insurance Key Facts 2014, ABI – Burst and Frozen Pipes (Escape of Water) 2014, AXA Personal Intermediary Household Claims Jan 2013 – September 2015.

Keep in touch

A list of insurer claims helpline numbers can be found here

 

 

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