Today let’s talk about how to make a successful water leak insurance claim.

Most home insurance policies cover the cost of finding and repairing a leak, but only if a specific procedure is followed.

It can be perplexing, and if you do not act quickly enough, your claim may be denied. You’ll understand how to make a successful water leak insurance claim if you follow the advice below.

How to Make a Successful Water Leak Insurance Claim

You’ll also make fewer mistakes if a leak occurs, resulting in a stronger case that your insurance company will find difficult to refute.

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What Water Leak Insurance Means

Popularly called ‘escape of water’, water leak insurance is a term insurers use for leaks that come from inside the property requiring insurance; think water from a leaking pipe, appliance, tank, or heating system.

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), one in every four household insurance claims is for water escape, with burst or leaking pipes accounting for more than 80% of those.

The kitchen and bathroom are the most commonly affected areas, but because concealed pipes run throughout the home, a leak could damage any part of your property.

What to Do When You Notice a Leak in Your Home

If you notice water dripping from your ceiling or wall, you’ll know there’s a leak. However, the evidence isn’t always so obvious, and you may only suspect a leak when you notice a growing dark patch of moisture on the ceiling or wall.

In either case, a water leak can be far more damaging and costly than you might think. As a result, you should never ignore visible signs of moisture.

The older the damage appears, the less likely your insurer will pay for it. Also, if you fix a leak without informing them (to protect your no-claims bonus), they may refuse to pay if the leak returns in the future.

Here’s what we think you should do:

1. Minimise the Leak Damage

Insurers expect you to do everything possible to limit the damage, a process known as mitigation.

If water is pouring in, such as from a burst pipe, turn off your internal stopcock (or stop valve) first, then run your taps to drain the system.

In case you don’t know where your internal stopcock is or can’t get to it, you can turn off the water supply by closing the main stopcock outside your home. If the leak is severe enough, you should also turn off the power.

Most leaks do not result in a large amount of water escaping quickly. Some pipe faults are so small that they open and close in response to temperature changes.

Even if you believe you have a slow water leak, have it investigated and repaired as soon as possible. This rule applies to all mystery leaks, no matter how large or small they appear to be.

2. Record Evidence for Your Insurance Firm

Collecting proof is an important part of the claims process, and the more convincing it is, the more likely the claim will be successful.

Take photos of any damaged walls or ceilings, as well as anything else. This includes household items, allowing you to make a claim on your contents insurance.

Take photos of any smaller leaks as soon as possible. As the problem worsens, you can take more pictures and use them as ‘before and after’ comparisons.

A leak detection expert will provide you with a detailed report that will back up your water damage claim. In the event of a burst pipe, a plumber should provide you with a report.

3. Contact Your Insurance Company

Now is the time to notify your insurance company of the situation. Whether you file a claim online or by phone, you should have your policy number and a list of any damaged possessions on hand.

When you contact your insurer, they will most likely send you a link or email with instructions on how to submit the evidence you’ve collected.

4. Book in a Trace and Access Service

If you don’t know the exact location of the leak or if it’s hidden in any way, you’ll need a leak detection expert to conduct a trace and access investigation.

A moisture survey, pressure testing, thermal imaging, moisture analysis, tracer gas testing, borescope camera, acoustic tests, and tracer dyes will be used to pinpoint the source of the damage.

These are for the ‘trace’ portion of the service. The ‘access’ part entails gaining visual access to the source of the leak, which may entail removing a section of ceiling, floor, or wall.

Depending on their advice, it’s a good idea to present the evidence to your insurer before proceeding with this part of the job.

5. Deal with the Loss Adjuster

Your insurer may send a loss adjuster to investigate if your home insurance claim is likely to be costly. It is their responsibility to determine the cause of the problem, determine whether you are fully covered, and calculate the cost of the necessary repairs.

They are supposed to be objective in their assessment as a third party. Your insurance provider will use their report to make a final decision on your water leak insurance claim.

6. Get Quotes for the Reinstatement Work

After that, you’ll need to get quotes for home repairs. Insurers call this work reinstatement,’ and it includes things like brickwork, plastering, flooring, and redecorating.

Once the reinstatement is completed, your insurance company will pay you or the tradesperson directly, as long as you are covered for the reinstatement work.

Your insurer may try to persuade you to use one of their preferred contractors but remember that you have the final say. The same is true if you require a chartered surveyor to prepare a scope of restoration work.

What You’re Covered For

Water damage caused by leaking pipes, tanks, appliances, and fixed heating systems is covered by insurance.

A successful payout may cover any damage to your home’s structure or contents, subject to the excess you agreed to when you purchased your policy.

We’ve discovered that the biggest differences occur when you require trace and access, which not all policies provide as standard.

Trace and Access

Aviva pays £5,000 for trace and access, which is applied to the cost of reinstatement, such as repairing a floor, wall, or ceiling that your engineer had to break through.

Direct Line provides the same amount as their most basic home insurance package, but this figure increases to £10,000 with Home Insurance Plus and £15,000 with Select Premier.

Admiral does not pay anything unless you select one of their Gold or Platinum packages, which offer up to £5,000 and £10,000, respectively.

Lloyds Bank bears the full cost of leak detection with no arbitrary cap. However, you will need their permission before your leak expert attempts to obtain visual confirmation by accessing the potential source.

What You Won’t be Covered For

If the cause is ‘wear and tear,’ Aviva, Lloyds Bank, Admiral, and Direct Line may deny your water leak insurance claim.

This refers to a lack of maintenance, such as worn roof tiles or old grouting around the bath, and it also includes pipes that have deteriorated over time and have not been repaired.

They will also most likely refuse if your home has been vacant for more than 60 days.

Roofing is only covered in extreme circumstances such as storm damage. Insurance companies will not pay if there is a leak caused by clogged gutters, missing rendering or flashings, or if your roof materials have reached the end of their useful life.

Another reason for your water damage claim being denied is poor installation work. That’s why it’s always a good idea to hire a skilled tradesperson for your roofing, heating, and plumbing needs.

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In a Nutshell

We have covered everything you need to know about how to make a successful water leak insurance claim.

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