Water a bigger risk than burglaries

Updated: 

Leaky showers pose a bigger threat to homes than burglaryDripping pipes and leaky showers pose a greater risk to homes than burglary, a report from Legal & General found.

The cost to the insurance industry for water-related damage was £730 million last year - nearly double the cost of burglary claims over the same period, which were £370 million, according to Association of British Insurers (ABI) figures quoted in the survey.

The cost to the insurance industry for water-related damage was £730 million last year - nearly double the cost of burglary claims over the same period, which were £370 million, according to Association of British Insurers (ABI) figures quoted in the survey.

Some 370,000 people made a claim for a water leak in 2010, with an average cost of just under £2,000, accounting for nearly a fifth of all claims made on buildings and contents insurance. Burglary claims averaged £1,400, according to those behind the report.

Legal & General's Stop the Drop report calculated that the rising cost of insurance claims for water leaks is adding just over £54 to every household insurance policy in the UK. The insurer urged householders to carry out routine maintenance checks as the weather turns colder.
Malcolm Cooper, director for Legal & General's general insurance business, said: "Many homeowners suffered real hardship last winter when just a few maintenance tips such as checking and protecting their pipes, clearing guttering and checking appliances may have meant that they were not in such an awful position."

The insurer said that based on its own experience, the most common source of water damage in UK homes is plumbing leaks in upstairs bathrooms. But kitchens are the most likely rooms to be affected, as they are often positioned below bathrooms.

The report said: "Our changing lifestyles mean that there is now a greater risk of water-related damage occurring in UK homes than ever before."

Around 95% of UK homes are fitted with central heating and 96% have a washing machine, increasing the risk of water damage, the report said.

Water pipes, which are often hidden from view inside a cupboard or wall, were the top sources of a water damage claim, accounting for 35% of claims made.

Heating pipes, such as frozen pipes which are left unlagged and then burst, came in second place, accounting for 14% of claims. Leaky showers were in third place, with 10% of water damage claims being made about them.

© 2011 Press Association

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