L&G warns on water damage to homes

Association of British Insurer figures show over 370,000 people made an insurance claim for damage from an escape of water last year and the average claim cost was just under £2,000.

Last winter when temperatures dropped to -20C, the ABI estimated that the industry paid out £7m per day due to the damage caused by burst pipes, with more than 1.5m homes across the UK affected.

Legal & General saw a dramatic increase in claims for damage from frozen pipes, up from 1.3% of overall claims in 2009 to 6.5% in 2010, with some of these claims being for more than £10,000 worth of damage.

Malcolm Cooper, director for Legal & General's general insurance business, said: "Unfortunately, too many people are not aware of the distress and damage that an escape of water can cause.

“We are aware of other risks to our home, such as burglary, flood and fire, but a water leak is something homeowners don't think they need to worry about. However, statistically, it is likely that a homeowner will suffer an Escape of Water at least once in their life.

“Leaving a water leak to continue to drip and not repaired can eventually result in major damage, as well as extra cost added to a water bill if there is a water meter installed. A ceiling can come down; a carpet can be ruined, as water pours out of a burst pipe under pressure. So a small leak can often become a big financial problem.

“We would advise homeowners and anyone in rented accommodation to make sure they act quickly to stop the drop and to check and take any preventative measures now to help reduce the risk of damage, particularly before winter really starts."