How to Make a Successful Water Leak Insurance Claim in the UK

We understand that not every homeowner has experienced an unexpected water leak, or has had to make a claim on their insurance policy. Some may even be worried about doing this and getting it right, which is what we want to help you with at Coastal Drains. We’ve put together this guide to teach you how to make a successful water leak insurance claim in the UK, covering each point you’ll need to know and providing some helpful tips to ensure that your claim goes through.

We’ll also be happy to file your claim for you, should you require it, and we can even carry out repairs on your drains when the time comes, sending out our dedicated engineers to quickly resolve the problem by patching up or relining your drains as needed. This should keep your system in good working order for many years to come, minimising or even eliminating the risk of further leaks in that area of your pipes.

Contact us when you need our assistance most, and we’ll be there in no time at all to carry out emergency repairs to your drains and get your insurance claim filed. We’ll do everything we can to help return your routine to normal, as soon as possible.

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Should You Even Claim for a Water Leak?

In the grand scheme of things, a water leak in your home or around your property might not seem like that much of a problem. It may be frustrating to have to get it repaired and it may be worrying at first that it might have caused damage to your home and possessions, but once that’s been sorted, there should be no need to think about it again, right? 

Unfortunately, this is not actually the case. It’s always important to claim for a water leak in your home, for a couple of reasons. The first is that if the source of the leak isn’t fully fixed, it may lead to further, worse issues in the future and these may not be covered by your insurance policy at all. The second is that if you don’t inform your insurance provider of smaller problems, it could complicate larger water damage claims or other insurance matters and even lead to delayed claims later on.

The Steps in Claiming on House Insurance for a Water Leak in the UK

If you are going to move forward with a claim on your home insurance and you want to tackle the task yourself, there are several steps that you should go through during the procedure:

Always Understand the Process First

The first step in ensuring your insurance claim is successful is knowing that you understand and are comfortable with every part of the process. Often, insurance companies will have a large array of policies. Not all of these will always apply in your case, and some may be quoted back to you by their staff member when they don’t need to be, or the information may not always be fully correct. This is usually because their operative doesn’t have a full list of what is covered in your individual policy, so they’re choosing to err on the side of caution instead.

A few terms that you may not be familiar with but are often used during the process of claiming on your insurance include:

  • Risk, meaning what is insured (i.e. your property)
  • Peril, meaning what caused the damage (i.e. water)
  • Hazard, meaning what caused the damage or loss (i.e. a burst pipe)
  • Escape of water, which is how the insurance document will refer to a water leak, while cover is for anything that has been damaged
  • Loss adjuster, meaning the person who will assess the damage, covering the scale, cause and validity of your claim
  • Trace and Access, which covers finding the leak (trace), exposing it (access) and the costs of repairing the damage caused during access. This is included in most policies now, and is usually about £5,000

By knowing the process and by knowing what’s covered in your policy, you have a greater chance of making a successful claim on your home insurance.

Knowing What is Insured and Understanding Your Responsibility

Some people expect their insurance provider to handle everything for them the moment they make their claim, but this is rarely the case. They may send a loss adjuster to liaise and communicate with you, but you will have to do your own research and understand every point of your claim. 

In order to limit the damage done to a house or flat, an insurance company may expect you to take care of the leak and then reimburse the costs spent at a later date. This gives you time to go through your documents and find out exactly what your insurance covers.

Reading Your Documents

It’s vitally important that you read and get familiar with your documents before you get in touch with your insurance company, so that you know what’s covered and what isn’t covered in your particular policy. If you can’t find them, take a look on your insurer’s website, or contact them to ask for a copy. Having a copy to look at while you speak with your insurance company will make the procedure easier and more straightforward. 

Contacting Your Insurance Provider

When you call your insurance provider to start making your claim, make sure that you have your documents to hand and take notes while the conversation is taking place. By having a record of the date, the time you called and the name of the person you’re speaking to, you’ll be able to make sure that any mistakes are quickly resolved. You will also be able to refer to any subsection of your home insurance policy that gets misquoted.

Contacting a Leak Detection Service

Once you’ve spoken to your insurance provider, they’ll normally ask you to arrange for a professional leak detection company or service to find the fault. The extent of the damage can’t be measured until you know where the leak is, and your provider won’t know what’s needed to access and fix it until you discover the location.

At Coastal Drains, we are more than prepared to carry out swift and efficient leak detection services when our customers need it, using state-of-the-art CCTV cameras to locate the source of your drain problem. This ensures that you’ll be able to move onto the next part of the procedure, while we get the pipe repaired.

Arranging a Loss Adjuster Meeting

Your insurance company will often send a loss adjuster, sometimes called a claims adjuster, to investigate your home insurance claim. They will be an independent party, so they have no stake in the claim and can provide an impartial view in the matter. They should be able to settle the claim, once they’ve inspected any water damage done to your house or its contents.

Checking Your Settlement Scope

You must check that your settlement scope will include all the work required to get your drains flowing as they should and your house back to the way it was before the leak ever happened.

Arranging Quotes That Cover Repairs

Your company will normally require at least two quotes from contractors you’ve spoken to about estimates before covering any work needed, and will most often choose the cheapest of the two when paying out. You should make sure that you’re completely happy with this contractor before letting them go ahead with the repair work, and you should always ensure that your settlement is enough to cover the costs. 

In some cases, it may be discovered that the amount offered is lower than the less expensive quote, so it’s always best to be prepared.

Other Tips for Filing a Successful Water Leak Insurance Claim

When claiming on your insurance because your pipes have sprung a leak, there are also a number of other helpful tips and some advice to bear in mind, in order to help the claim go through successfully:

  • Don’t start by carrying out restoration work, but do get the leak under control to avoid more damage being done
  • Take photos and video footage of the leak, any damage that it did to your property and anything else that might also be relevant when you make your damage claims
  • Appoint your own, independent contractors to repair your home
  • Use a chartered surveyor to assess the damage caused by the water leak and to write up a specification of works for the repairs you’ll need

Making a Complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service

If your insurance provider denies your claim because they believe the leak wasn’t caused by an insured event, or think it was caused by gradual damage rather than sudden (for example, general wear and tear over time instead of storm damage), you may be able to get the decision overturned. 

When you complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service, they will take a look at your policy and take note of what’s covered, what’s excluded from the policy and what parts of the policy the exclusions relate to. From there, they will look at your individual case and decide if the claim should be upheld. 

If the event that caused your leak is insured, didn’t happen gradually or did happen gradually but you couldn’t have been aware of it (usually because there was no noticeable damage), then it’s likely the Ombudsman will tell your company to cover the claim. They will also most likely tell your provider to cover the claim if you took reasonable action as soon as you knew about the problem.

For Expert Help, With Finding Leaks and On Your Insurance Claim

If you are based on the South Coast, have a drain that’s been damaged by a water leak and you’re covered by accidental damage on your insurance policy, we’ll be more than happy to help you make your insurance claim here at Coastal Drains. We’ll carry out the fast, accurate CCTV survey you need to find the source of the damage and get it repaired, before preparing the report ourselves. This will then be sent to you and to your insurance company, so you won’t have to deal with any of the hassle.

Our emergency drainage services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so no matter when disaster strikes and you find that a leak has sprung in your home, get in touch with us. We can be there to see you through every stage of the work, from detecting the source of the problem, to filing an insurance claim, to getting your drains running and your everyday life back to the way it should be.

Author: Greg Child

Greg is an expert in drainage and has been in the business for over 30 years. He's the owner of Coastal Drains Ltd and a very, very friendly chap.