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Insurance companies paid out over £900m in home insurance claims that arose due to pipes bursting last winter, and the current cold spell is likely to lead to more claims this year.
According to Mark Cliff, from Ageas Insurance, a leaking pipe can cause significant damage to a home, as around 2,200 gallons of water can spill over the course of one day, causing widespread damage. It is estimated that a leak can cause up to £100,000 worth of damage, with ceilings, walls and furniture all damaged, making it essential to ensure that you have adequate home insurance.
Which? insurance expert Dan Moore says: ‘Burst pipes are not always covered by home insurance policies, so homeowners should always check their policies. Insurance is a modular product, so if you’re policy doesn’t cover burst pipes it’s worth seeing whether you can get cover for a small additional premium.’
Burst pipes occur when water in them freezes and expands. When the temperature in lofts and attics rises above freezing, ice in the pipes melts and seeps out of any cracks. For this reason it is advisable to ensure that exposed pipes are wrapped with lagging to minimise the potential for damage, and set the central heating to come on even if you are away for a few days so that the property is kept relatively warm.
You can find out how to carry out essential annual plumbing and heating safety checks in our plumbing and heating guide.
For more on home insurance visit the Which? buildings insurance advice guide.