Every home can fall victim to frozen or burst pipes and without insurance, even a small leak can be costly for homeowners to repair.
Escape of water refers to liquid that’s leaked from somewhere inside your home and caused damage.
That might be caused by:
Your buildings and home contents insurance will include some cover for water damage caused by burst or frozen pipes.
If the water damage occurs due to an overflowing bath or a drilled through pipe, you’ll only be covered if you have accidental damage insurance.
When a pipe bursts, there are three typical costs that could arise from it:
Each of these costs will be covered by separate elements of your home insurance and you might not have cover for all three as standard features of your policy.
Cover for damage caused by pipes bursting in freezing conditions will almost certainly be included - 99% of 378 policies on Defaqto have this cover.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the cost of repairing pipes the burst themselves will be covered, as only 83% of policies include it.
That could mean that you’d have to pay out yourself for an emergency plumber to stop the leak and repair the pipe, before claiming on your insurance for the damage caused by the escape of water.
Read your policy to see what protection you have:
Accidental damage that causes water escapes might not be covered as standard on your home insurance.
You can have accidental damage cover added to your policy, as an optional extra to cover you for things like accidentally drilling through a pipe, or an overflowing bath.
Claims relating to accidental damage from DIY projects can be a common area of insurance disputes, so make sure you read your documents and check any exclusions.
Contact your insurer first. If you’re covered, it'll put you in touch or arrange a tradesperson to come to you.
If you need to call a professional to have repairs done immediately and don’t have time to contact the insurer, as long as it’s a reasonable course of action the insurer should reimburse you afterwards.
Your insurer will send a loss adjuster to assess the damage and decide what repairs are necessary.
If you need alternative accommodation because your home is uninhabitable, this too will be verified by the loss adjuster.
Some insurers charge a different excess to your standard policy excess for escape of water claims.
Of the policies on Defaqto, 79% charged a specific compulsory excess for escape of water claims. This replaced the standard excess in most cases but was charged in additio
It’s usually a tap with no faucet under the kitchen or bathroom sink, by the boiler or in the utility room. Failing that, you can turn it off outside under a small square grate labelled ‘water’ or ‘W’.
Stop water from pumping round the system while you find the cause of the leak.
Soak up the excess water before it has time to damage the surrounding floors or furniture.
If you have home emergency cover as part of your home insurance, look for and dial the 24-hour emergency number. An appointed tradesperson will be sent to assist.
 Price savings are based on independent research by Consumer Intelligence, conducted between 1 February to 29 February 2020: It compared 33 insurers from our panel and found 51% could save up to £102.63 with us on their buildings and contents insurance
 Last checked 22 January 2020