How to make a successful water leak insurance claim

Expert tips and advice for claiming on your house insurance for a water leak

Published April 12, 2018

Read time 5 mins

Home insurance claims are rarely straightforward, but water leaks can be an especially tricky area to navigate. Even if your policy includes water damage, it may not cover all types of damage or may include some exceptions.

This is because water leaks can be caused by a variety of factors, including old or worn pipes, clogged gutters and faulty appliances. Some of these causes, such as old or worn pipes, are considered to be wear and tear, which is typically not covered by home insurance. 

Other causes, such as storm damage, may be covered, but only if you have the right type of policy. Insurance policies also refer to leaks as ‘escape of water’ and it’s one of the most common causes of claims.

The path to claims settlement is rarely a smooth one, and making a water leak insurance claim can be a complex process, which is why we’ve put together this guide to walk you through the process and give you our expert tips and advice.

Steps for making a successful water leak insurance claim

1. Get the leak under control

When claiming on your home insurance, you should not carry out any restoration work until the Insurer or their Loss Adjuster has assessed the situation. You should, however, take steps to prevent further damage, such as shutting off your water supply. You’ll need approval from your Insurer for anything more than damage mitigation (preventing further damage).

2. Prepare your evidence

Take lots of photos and videos of the source of the water leak, the damage caused by it, and anything else that is relevant to your claim, this will help support your insurance claim. You should do this immediately.

3. Notify your insurance company

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to inform them of the situation. Insurers will need to know your policy number and will ask for a description of the damage and how it occurred. Most insurers have an emergency number that you can call 24/7, should the water leak occur outside of normal working hours.

4. Appoint your own help

At any point during your claim, you are within your rights to appoint a Loss Assessor, who will handle the entire claim process on your behalf. The sooner you engage a Loss Assessor, the more they can do for you. It is helpful to have a copy of your insurance policy handy for the Loss Assessor to review and make sure you understand what you can and cannot claim for.

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    5. Meet with the Loss Adjuster

    Soon after reporting the leak, if your insurance company deems it necessary, they will appoint a Loss Adjuster to initiate the claim investigation. A fact-finding meeting between yourself and the Loss Adjuster will take place at your home. If you appoint a Loss Assessor, they will attend this meeting and any follow-up meetings with you or on your behalf.

    6. Loss adjusters report

    After the meeting, the Loss Adjuster will prepare a Loss Adjusters Report, which will include a detailed assessment of the investigation and crucially, a recommendation on whether the insurer should pay the claim. If you are unsatisfied with the Loss Adjuster’s report, you have the right to challenge it. Working with a Loss Assessor throughout this process will ensure you receive everything you are entitled to under the terms of your policy.

    7. Carry out repairs

    Many insurers will prefer to appoint their own surveyors and builders to repair your property, however, you are entitled to appoint independent contractors to repair your home. If the extent of the damage is severe enough to require a surveyor, it is especially important to ensure you use a Chartered Surveyor to assess the water leak damage and write up a specification of works for repairs. Surveyors who are not Chartered may not have the requisite experience or expertise for the job. Similarly, you’re entitled to employ your own surveyor if you’re not satisfied with the assessment made by the insurer’s surveyor and would like a second opinion.

    8. Contents claim

    You or your Loss Assessor will prepare a claim for any contents damaged as a result of the water leak. Regardless of whether the content damages are minimal or substantial, your claim must be as detailed as possible, including accurate replacement values for all affected items.

    When to make a water leak insurance claim: Is it always worth it?

    The decision to make a water leak insurance claim will usually depend on the extent of the damage. If there is a small leak and only minor damage it might be more cost-effective to get the leak repaired and damage fixed yourself, especially if the amount falls below the excess on your insurance policy. This might also prevent premium increases in future years. However, if the water damage is extensive and it looks like you might need to make significant repairs then making a claim on your home insurance for water damage will give you the financial and practical help you need.

    You should report the incident to your insurers as soon as possible, after making sure the leak is under control, they will then advise you on what to do and how the claims process will unfold. Delaying the reporting of a claim can make things more complicated in the long run, as recollections fade and it is more difficult for insurers to ascertain the cause of the leak. Insurers may also reject the claim if it is not reported promptly. 

    A water leak can happen at any time to anyone and is never a pleasant experience, but having the right insurance can make the whole ordeal a lot less stressful. 

    In this guide, we have walked you through the steps to take to make a successful water leak insurance claim. By understanding your policy, considering when to make a claim, and following the steps outlined in this guide, you can increase your chances of making a successful water damage leak insurance claim. Remember, your insurance is there to help you when something goes wrong, so make sure you take full advantage of the support it offers.

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