General Insurance

Water Damage Claims are on the Rise

Tim Singleton
28 October 2019
4 min read

For those that own new homes that come with a 7-year builders warranty, deterioration or lack of maintenance is typically not a huge issue. On the other hand, if you own an established home, there are greater risks involved if your home is not maintained.

Recent reports show that Water Damage claims are on the rise. Over the last five years there has been a 72% rise in the size of water related claims, more than double claims relating to fire damage.

As a result, we are now seeing insurers appointing an engineer to each of these claims to determine if the water damage has occurred due to lack of maintenance or deterioration. If the engineer can, in fact, confirm this to be the case and the damage has occurred over a period of time, the policy will exclude this damage and the claim will not be granted, as the insured has not maintained reasonable care to ensure damage does not occur to the property.

There is the opportunity to respond and claim that the policy does in fact cover water damage and that deterioration only applies to the initial failure of the product such as waterproofing, tiling or grout. etc. However the insurers are not always willing to change their minds on such claims.

In order to avoid a situation where your insurance is in limbo, here are some maintenance tips for you as a home or investment property owner. In the event of a claim, being able to produce evidence of regular maintenance will make the situation a lot easier.

Protect the outside of your home

There are plenty of things to check on the outside of your house that may save your property from external water damage. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your roofing is in order. If you have a tiled roof, make sure there are no damaged or missing tiles. Strong winds can potentially cause movement of tiles or corregated iron sheets separating from the joints.

  • Clear blocked gutters and drains from grass and leaves.

  • Ensure all windows and doors are sealed properly so that water cannot enter through any gaps.

  • Check the external walls of your home to ensure there are no cracks or peeling paint.

Protect the inside of your property

Water damage does not only occur from storm or flood damage. Majority of claims occur from a broken pipe inside the bathroom and could end up costing thousands in repair costs. Here are some tips for maintaining the inside of your home:

  • Check your bathroom for any cracked grouting around sinks, baths and shower bases. If water can enter through these gaps it can cause catastrophic damage to your floor and walls.

  • Know where your shut-off valves are so that you can turn the water off if you need to.

  • If you own an older home, have a plumber come out and check the old pipes. If they need updating or repairing, this will help reduce the risk of any burst pipes causing damage.

Get the right Home Insurance

As Insurance Brokers, we have knowledge and experience in the wording of policies, and how best to respond in an event of a claim. We have the expertise to negotiate with insurers, helping clients to achieve a positive result where possible.

Here are some benefits to a great insurance policy:

  • Make sure the policy wording has a write back clause. Most insurance policies have a wear and tear exclusion, so it is preferred to ensure this exclusion does not apply to the entire claim and includes the resultant damage.

  • Make sure the policy allows for the escape of liquid from a fixed pipe or something attached to a pipe, fixed gutter, fixed tank or drain, a bath, basin, shower, sink, toilet or tiled floor that has drainage holes, a washing machine and dishwasher.

If you are unsure of what your policy does in fact cover, we recommend you contact one of our qualified insurance brokers, who can do a review of your home/landlords insurance and ensure you a correctly covered.

Author: Tim Singleton | Senior Adviser