More claims arise from escape of water (or oil) than any other under home insurance, making the cover given and the terms applied an important issue when choosing a policy.
A home insurance will cover the damage caused by the escape of water from fixed domestic heating or water installations and domestic appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers. A buildings policy will cover the damage caused to the buildings and a contents insurance will cover the damage to the contents. One area which is not insured is the plumbing works to rectify the leak, as this is considered a maintenance, a general upkeep issue so the responsibility of the homeowner. Some more comprehensive home buildings insurances will cover the cost of tracing and accessing the leak by a tradesman, but not the leak repairs.
As always there are terms and conditions applying, escape of water damage is generally excluded when the home has been unoccupied for a set period detailed in the policy wording, which could be 30 or 60 days. Escape of water resulting in subsidence, ground heave and landslip is excluded. Finally it is common practice with insurers to have an increased compulsory excess for this peril of usually £250, with any voluntary excess on the policy added on top. Please check your insurance schedule and policy wording for details of your cover, terms and conditions.
The majority of home insurance policies now include trace and access cover under the buildings section, in the event of leakage of water from fixed internal water or heating installations or domestic appliances. Water leakage accounts for more claims than any other peril, as by its very nature escape of water isn’t a problem until a leak occurs and by then it’s too late to prevent damage to the walls, ceilings and flooring. Often the leak can be fixed easily and after the water has dried out the effects are greatly reduced. Sometimes the damage caused can be substantial if the leak goes undetected or if the source of the escape of water cannot be found easily. Insurers won’t pay for fixing the leak as the plumbing is a maintenance issue, but the damage caused and tracing and accessing the leak could be insured. A plumber or a builder might have to remove wall tiles in a bathroom or ceilings to reach pipework, which results in further damage and expense. The cover is two fold, firstly the cost of tracing the source of the leak, then repairing the damage caused, all subject to a limit of usually £5,000. Home insurance covering buildings and contents generally include the damage caused by the escape of water, but now the trace and access extension gives the householder extra financial assistance when a leak occurs.
Q. Are plumbing repairs covered under a home buildings insurance?
A. No this is a maintenance issue not insured damage.
Q. How about the damage caused?
A. Yes subject to having cover in force.
Q. How about the cost of finding the source of the leak and the damage caused?
A. Yes if the trace and access extension is included under your buildings insurance.
As always to find out the extend of your cover full details can be found in your schedule and policy wording.