Escape of water: a strategic approach

At a glance

  • Escape of water represents a large proportion of all property claims
  • There are a range of common causes, making it difficult to manage and eliminate the risk entirely
  • Our infographic explains how to approach escape of water risk management strategically, to achieve the best results

Escape of water represents a large proportion of property claims, with insurers delivering £2.5m of assistance each day.

Water can travel long distances and go undetected for some time, meaning even minor escapes have the potential to cause major damage.

Due to the wide range of potential sources, it can prove difficult to design a cost-effective and successful risk management strategy.

Our infographic details how to approach your escape of water risk management strategically, to achieve the best results.

Escape of water strategy guide

£2.5m paid out by insurers each day.

Common Causes

  • Freezing pipes and water tanks
  • Household appliance leaks
  • Failed fittings and joints
  • Deterioration of silicone sealant and grout

1/5 of all property claims were due to burst pipes costing £7,000 on average per incident*

During 2010’s record low temperatures there were 3,500 burst pipe claims per day.

Risk management strategy for best results

All properties

Essential precautions

  • Undertake all repairs promptly, no matter how minor (including dripping taps/overflows)
  • Establish a thorough periodic inspection and maintenance regime
  • Insulate/lag pipes and water tanks
  • Plan how you will respond to incidents, including knowing locations of stopcocks and who to contact

At-risk Properties

Prioritise further action

  • If long-term vacant, consider draining water systems
  • Educate occupants on risks and precautions
  • Invest in water management technology (tax incentives often available)
    • Leak detection
    • Flow sensors
    • Automatic shut-off valves
    • Pipe heating

Identifying most at-risk

  • History of incidents
  • Vacant or unoccupied
  • High-rise(especially domestic)
  • Older properties
  • Contain valuable contents (out of the path of potential water escapes)

Construction & maintenance

  • Design properties with escape of water risk management in mind
  • Carefully select competent, accredited contractors
  • Closely monitor all construction and maintenance work
  • Check specifications are followed precisely and that work is to a high standard

Small errors, Large claims

  • Human error is a common source of claims
  • We recently handled a £750,000 claim caused by a single joint not being adequately tightened

Importance of design

  • Building design can enable water to travel further and/or cause more damage
  • Modern methods of construction, (MMC) can be cheaper initially but may cost more to repair
  • Push-fit plumbing is more prone to failure