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Water Damage - flood, storms and burst pipes

Routine maintenance or the lack of it is a major cause of claims resulting from water damage. An insurance policy is not intended to operate as a maintenance contract. It is to provide you with cover should an unlikely event occur and cause damage to your property. The premiums do not reflect the cost of a maintenance contract and there is a duty upon the policyholder to maintain the property in good order unless they have agreed otherwise.

If your buildings are adequately insure and properly maintained you will be unlikely to suffer any setbacks. If a building is in a poor state then loss by storm or water may be increased and if this is allowed to happen your claim may be effected or in severe cases it may even be refused entirely.

Here are some general hints to assist you.

  • If you use basements for storage ensure that they are waterproof and dry. Any goods that are subsequently stored there need to be placed on pallets so that they are directly placed on the floor where they will be susceptible to damage.
  • Check out your gutters and make sure that they are working. If they are not then they may only be blocked with leaves or a bird's nest or similar.
  • Flat roofs do not have the same life span as traditional ones constructed of slate or tiles. Rarely do they last longer than 10 years and they will need regular attention and renewal.
  • Ensure that your neighbours water goods are also in good order and liase with them if they are not. For example, cascading water onto a flat roof can reduce its life and be the cause of some major problems.
  • Check your drains regularly. Exterior ones as well as internal ones which may be covered by a manhole. Ground movements can cause them to crack which may block them or even lead to much more substantial subsidence damage
  • Ensure that exposed water pipes are lagged to protect them against extreme cold and freezing. On occasions when extreme temperatures are forecast take some precautions. For example leave your heating on overnight and maintain background heat.
  • If you are leaving your property unoccupied for a prolonged period such as a holiday break turn off the mains water supply. Over longer periods of drain down the entire water system and turn off the mains supply. Beware many policies make this a condition of their policies.
  • Remove any trees or shrubs adjacent or close enough to your property that may cause damage if blown over in a storm or which cause damage to your foundations.
  • Renew damaged taps or water apparatus before the equipment breaks down completely when the job will become an emergency!
  • In respect of plant and equipment ensure that any pipes to do with processing are stowed away. Do not leave them dangling over the side of tanks, which may lead to a siphoning action. These will result in loss of the tank contents and will also cause damage to surrounding property.


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