Don’t get caught out!
When temperatures start to fall, there are a few simple precautions that can be taken to ensure the continued well-being of your home, tenanted property or any other property that you own.
One of the largest dangers to your home in periods of plummeting temperatures is that of burst water pipes. This happens when the water freezes within the pipe, expands thus damaging it, causing an escape when the water thaws.
You should take the following steps to ensure that your property and its contents are not seriously damaged due to an escape of water:
- Ensure that your pipes and water tanks are well-lagged. Unlagged pipes are far more likely freeze in sub-zero temperatures. Insulation materials and lagging are relatively inexpensive and will frequently cost less than the policy excess charged by your insurer in the event of a claim.
- If the property is unoccupied, even a relatively small leak if undiscovered, can cause catastrophic damage. If this is the situation, the water system can either be drained or if thermostatically controlled, the heating system should be left to operate at a minimum temperature of 15 degrees Celsius.
- If you have a gravity fed water or heating system, one vulnerable area may be the tank in the loft space. This is because the insulation on the loft floor may prevent the warmth of the house penetrating through increasing the likelihood of an escape of water.
In these circumstances, if the premises are unoccupied, it is best to drain the water system. Alternatively, if the heating is left in operation, to ensure that some warmth circulates in the loft space, the loft hatch should be left open.
Depending upon the cover that you selected or were granted at inception of your policy, a claim for escape of water may not be insured. If your property is vacant, there will also be additional conditions expressly stated within your policy or schedule that need to be complied with. Read your policy carefully and if in any doubt as to the cover provided or action required, contact your insurance advisor.
The majority of escape of water claims are preventable and taking the above steps before Winter will help protect your investment and the inconvenience of an insurance claim.