Home insurance claims are rarely straightforward, but water leaks can be an especially tricky area to navigate.
A water leak could be caused by any number of issues, but you might be surprised to learn that not every scenario will be accepted by your Insurer. Even if your home insurance policy includes water damage, it is unlikely that it covers all types of damages and may include a number of exceptions. With this in mind, it’s important to be prepared for a water leak to increase your chances of making a successful insurance claim.
Should you claim for a water leak on your insurance?
A water leak might not seem like a big problem – especially if the visible damage is confined to a small area in your home – but don’t underestimate the potential costs, both now and in the future. If the source of the water leak isn’t fully fixed, the leak could lead to much greater issues down the line and those issues most likely won’t be covered by your home insurance policy.
To avoid having a claim refused in the future, it’s best to address the problem as early as possible and inform your Insurer. Not informing your Insurer of small issues could complicate future insurance claims or lead to a delayed claim if a larger issue occurs later on.
Watch our video for tips about water leak claims (90 secs)
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. You should do this immediately.
3. Notify your insurance company
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to inform them of the situation. 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 to help.
5. Meet with the Loss Adjuster
Soon after reporting the leak, your insurance company 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 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 payout. 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.