Summer holidaymakers risk a return home to £3,300 water damage
With millions starting to think about escaping the British weather as summer beckons, NFU Mutual, the UK's leading rural insurer, is warning homeowners to take precautions to ensure their sunshine break doesn't turn out to be a damp squib.
The warning comes as figures released by NFU Mutual reveal that water damage is a more common occurrence than theft, with the average of cost of claims in excess of £3,300.
"Homeowners need to pay as much attention to their plumbing as their security - especially if they're going away for a few days," said Matthew Scott, Chief Claims Manager at NFU Mutual.
"The damage done by leaking water can be massive when both buildings and contents insurance claims are combined. It's not just cold weather that can burst pipes and lead to a ruined home interior, ageing or poor quality plumbing and fittings could be the catalysts for a water leak incident at any time of year.
NFU Mutual's comprehensive insurance package has received a 5-Star rating for excellent levels of cover from Defaqto, one of the UK's leading independent financial services research companies. Its message is backed up by research released by Homesitters, the nationwide live-in home and pet sitting service.
A survey of their professional house sitters revealed that leaking plumbing and faulty lavatories are the most common causes of escape of water disasters when owners leave their homes.
Under-floor plumbing was reported to be particularly problematic and bursts to both hot and cold water storage tanks along with faulty shower fittings ranked behind broken lavatories as the major faults spotted and prevented by the home-sitting service.
Leaving your home occupied could prevent the expense and heartache that leaking water can cause. And using a service such as Homesitters can even lead to possible discounts in your insurance premium.
"Prevention is always better than the cure," Scott continued. "Carrying out a full check of your plumbing before going away could save you a great amount of distress, inconvenience and cost when you return from your break.
"You're statistically more likely to make a claim for an escape of water than be the victim of a burglary. So if you're planning on leaving your property unoccupied over the summer, it's best to leave it in safe hands such as a house sitter.
"If you discover an escape of water in your property, it's important you act quickly but calmly. Turn off your water at the stop cock and drain the system by opening all the taps. Call your insurer and they should be able to help you arrange a professional to help with the repairs."
For further information on home insurance and advice for protecting properties, visit nfumutual.co.uk.