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water damage holiday homes
Worried holiday homeowner calling Plumber While Collecting Water Droplets Leaking From Ceiling At Home

Our advice comes as the Met Office recorded freezing temperatures across much of the UK this week. On Tuesday 19th November Braemar in Scotland saw the lowest temperature recorded so far this autumn, a chilly -9.9°C and parts of the UK have already seen significant snowfall. These weather conditions can cause pipes to freeze and burst causing serious damage and vacant holiday homes are particularly vulnerable if basic precautions are not taken.

As holiday home insurance specialists we are encouraging holiday homeowners to take precautions to prevent water damage by burst pipes.

Whilst most holiday homes are let to guests during much of the year, the weeks either side of the festive period can be less popular. Properties are often empty and therefore more exposed to extreme weather and prone to problems going undetected.

When a severe cold spell swept the UK in 2010, insurers dealt with 3,500 claims for burst pipe damage every day (£1 billion paid out in Nov/Dec alone *ABI).

Mark Lavington, Director at Boshers Ltd explains; “We see more burst pipe and escape of water insurance claims than any other type of claim. The average cost of claims for frozen pipes is £12000. (Claims data 2011-2017 *Ecclesiastical Insurance) Whilst the damage caused can be significant there are several simple steps holiday homeowners can take in order to reduce their risk.”

We have issued guidance including a number of steps you can take in order to reduce the chances of potential damage:

  • Turn off the stopcock and drain the water and heating system; or  
  • Leave the heating on to maintain a temperature throughout your holiday home sufficient to prevent pipes from freezing (above 7°C). Setting your heating thermostat at a low level (15°C) will help maintain a reasonable temperature to prevent frozen pipes.
  • If your holiday home is unoccupied during the winter ensure you turn the water off at the stopcock even if you leave your heating on (where your heating system allows).
  • Arrange for regular checks to be made on the property during any period in which it isn’t occupied by guests.
  • Lag and insulate pipes, boilers and water storage tanks, particularly if exposed to the cold (think about attics and outbuildings).
  • Make sure your heating and water systems are serviced regularly and checked by a professional.
  • Consider installing a leak detection system or automatic stopcock, particularly if you live away from the property.
  • Refer to your holiday home insurance policy for conditions specific to your cover

Damage caused by burst pipes can be significant

Mark added “The damage caused to holiday homes by burst pipes can be significant, potentially leaving the holiday property uninhabitable for a considerable amount of time. Whilst the material damage and loss of rental income may be insured the inconvenience to both holiday homeowners and future guests is best avoided. Being proactive in reacting to potentially severe weather could save owners hassle, expense and disruption.”

For further guidance on holiday home checks ahead of extreme weather please visit: boshers.co.uk/blog/holiday-let-maintenance/essential-low-season-winter-maintenance-tips

Boshers Holiday Home Insurance Policy Conditions

We are always upfront and clear about our holiday home insurance policy conditions but just in case you need reminding, click below to reveal them:

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

 

water damage holiday homes

water damage holiday homesIf you’ve ever had a water leak issue in your own home, you’ll know that small problems can quickly escalate when it comes to water damage. It’s therefore little surprise that `escape of water’ causes approximately £2 million of water damage to UK properties every day*. That’s a staggering £23 every second! They also account for 21% of all property insurance claims. (*Association of British Insurers – ABI).

So what are the most common causes of water damage in holiday homes? How can you reduce the risk in yours?

Those dreaded frozen pipes…

It’s that time of year when frost appears and temperatures can plummet dipping the mercury well beneath freezing overnight. This can be a real issue for holiday homes if left unoccupied. Frozen pipes being one of the most common and expensive causes of water damage in the UK each year.

To ensure you don’t fall foul of our cooler climate always make sure that your:

  • pipes are sufficiently lagged
  • heating is left on to maintain a minimum temperature throughout your holiday home to prevent pipes from freezing
  • holiday home is regularly inspected both externally and internally

Remember saving a few pennies on heating costs can lead to far greater loss through water damage. If you don’t leave the heating on make sure the water is turned off and the system is drained.

  • Check your holiday home insurance policy document for full conditions to which you must comply to maintain full cover.

Here’s some more useful information on protecting your holiday home from frozen and burst pipes:

Poor workmanship…

Just like any other area of your holiday home – whether it be your website, your furnishings or your electrics – quality is the key when it comes to avoiding water damage. All maintenance and any changes to your cottage plumbing should be carried out by a professional using appropriate quality materials. Incorrectly installed plastic plumbing and poor quality underfloor heating have contributed to an increase in water damage.

Pipework fatigue and failure

Another common cause of water loss in holiday homes is pipework failure. This will often happen at the point at which one pipe meets another and where the joint is weaker than the pipe itself. Flexible hose tails, often used in confined spaces such as wash basins and to connect washing machines and dishwashers are two common culprits when it comes to failure over time and should therefore be regularly checked and replaced if needed.

Valves and ball cocks are also prone to failure, with all resulting in leaks that can have the potential to escalate quickly if not identified, which is an issue in unoccupied holiday homes and therefore places an increased importance on regularly checking the property yourself or appointing this responsibility to somebody else.

Lack of regular maintenance

We’ve already highlighted the importance of conducting regular checks on your holiday home. These checks not only prevent issues with escaping water, but also identify them early before potential damage can escalate, so it’s unsurprising that a lack of regular maintenance can also cause issues. When was the last time you checked all of the taps, pipe joints, flexible braided hoses, ball cocks and any other potential plumbing nightmares in your cottage? If the answer isn’t within the past few months, then the time is now to avoid any future damage and disruption.

Our free water leak action pack could help reduce water damage in your holiday home

We’re always keen to help our holiday homeowners before issues occur, which is why we offer our policy holders a free Water Leak Action Pack which contains:

  • Guidance on preventing water leaks
  • What to do if you, your housekeeper or guests discover a leak
  • Somewhere to record where your stopcock is to be found
  • Labels and stickers to clearly mark your stopcock
  • Somewhere to record contact numbers in case of a leak

There’s a good chance we have already supplied you with a free Water Leak Action Pack for your holiday home, are you using yours? Find out more here.

Boshers are specialist providers of holiday home insurance. For information on how we can help protect your holiday let business ,call us on 01237 429444.

Winter Risks Advice

Winter risks advice for property owners – Our holiday home insurance and household insurance underwriters, Ecclesiastical have produced these useful Winter Risks Advice guides for property owners for us to share with you.

Winter Risks Advice

The extremely cold winters of the last few years have led to many businesses, let property, home and holiday home owners sustaining losses from burst pipes, weight of snow on roofs and ingress of water. With the weather once again turning decidedly chilly, now is the time for us to take action and protect our properties.

Last year our holiday home insurance and home insurance household scheme underwriters Ecclesiastical handled just under 2,000* burst pipe claims which caused considerable inconvenience to the property owner and cost an average of £3,627* each to put right. Unoccupied properties such as holiday cottages can be particularly at risk of very expensive claims during the winter months. A high proportion of the £50,000* plus claims last year occurred in properties where the owner was away for no more than a weekend break. There are a number of simple but effective steps property owners can take to both prevent and reduce the impact of cold weather on their properties.

These useful winter risks advice guides are full of hints and tips and are available to view, download and print:

For further information check out the following useful resources:

*Statistics from Ecclesiastical Household claims data, March 2011 – March 2012