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Burst pipe claims: the facts & how to prevent them

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At the height of winter, the list of concerns that second home owners should have about their property gets a little bit longer. Long nights already create security risks for unoccupied housing, but it is the drop in temperature that can potentially lead to the most damage. A burst water pipe doesn’t just mean the destruction of your possessions: any flood can cause significant damage to the building itself. Schofields has recently commissioned an infographic detailing how much burst water pipes cost UK households – you’ll find it at the bottom of this blog post.

While the problem is in no way specific to holiday home owners, it is definitely one that is compounded by the nature of second home ownership. Unoccupied, unheated homes are the first to freeze when the temperature plummets. As we can see from our research below, when those cracked pipes thaw, up to two bathtubs of water can escape every hour. Add to this the fact that many holiday homes are in colder, rural locations that see little passing traffic, and that an Olympic-sized swimming pool could steadily flood into your home over the period of a month, and you start to see the true scale of the problem.

Schofields has discovered that the average burst pipe insurance claim is about £14,000, but six-figure insurance claims for water damage of this kind aren’t unheard of. Considering you may be renting out your property to holidaymakers, further losses may be incurred as you attempt repairs.

Providing details on the damage and potential costs of your claim, our infographic also offers advice on how to prevent burst pipes, including:

  • Turn your water supply off at the stopcock when your home stands unoccupied and drain the pipes before you leave
  • Run central heating at 13°C
  • Install a flood prevention device
  • Insulate pipes, including overflow pipes
  • Ask a neighbour to check your home in cold weather

Of course, no matter how prepared you are, our predictably unpredictable weather is always ready to subject your property to extreme temperatures. To ensure you keep your second property, the best option is to insure.


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Contact Schofields or tweet us @schofields and we will send you a copy.

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