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Check your pipes

Did you know that one of the most common home insurance claims is due to an “escape of water”? If this is news to you, read our handy guide to avoiding such a problem.

What is an escape of water?

Simply put, this means that water that has entered your property by the mains water supply, has at some point on its journey, escaped from the pipe it was in, causing damage to your property.

How is this commonly caused?

Typical issues are a flood from burst or cracked pipes or leaks due to problems with a home’s plumbing system. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) estimates that around £2.5 million a day is paid out to customers in “escape of water” claims. “A significant proportion of this damage is due to pipes bursting during freezing temperatures in the winter months, but much of this damage can be prevented by taking a few easy preventative measures,” says the ABI.

So what can I do to prepare for winter?

The ABI suggests that before winter, make sure you know how to locate your main stopcock and that you can turn it on and off (this means in the event of a flood, you can shut off the water supply quickly). , Repair any dripping taps, as this will help prevent water from freezing. And finally, it’s vital to check your pipe lagging or insulation. ABI recommends that “All pipes and tanks in loft spaces, and anywhere else that could be liable to freezing, should be fully lagged,” If it is very cold (and you live in a house with pipes in the loft), you could consider opening your attic trap door to allow warm air from other parts of the house to circulate in the loft and help prevent the pipes in the area from freezing.

Are there any other water issues I should be aware of?

Water escaping from fixed appliances – such as washing machines, dishwashers and boilers – is also a common cause of flooding in the home. Additionally, blocked drains can cause floods. While it may be tempting to pour cooking fat, grease or oil down the sink, this is a major cause of blockages, leading to flooding behind the blockage. It’s better to let the oil solidify and then dispose of it via food-waste collections or household rubbish. You can also regularly clean your sink drain with a mixture of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to keep your pipes flowing. 

For more information, visit abi.org.uk

As a valued Benenden member, you can receive up to £60 worth of M&S vouchers when you purchase Benenden Home Insurance. Find out more visit www.benenden.co.uk/benendenhome5  

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