Plugging a leak: protecting the home from escape of water

September 2021

Installing leak detection technology can be an invaluable way for homeowners and landlords to protect their property from water damage

The sound of a dripping tap is intensely irritating, but it can also be devastating. Water leaks – or as the insurance industry likes to call them ‘escape of water’ – within homes is one of the most common types of home insurance claims, according to the ABI (Association of British Insurers (external link)). Hiscox data* shows in the last five years the average cost of a claim for water damage has increased by 67% to over £20,000.

Burst or leaking pipes, blocked drains, faulty appliances and heating systems can all lead to huge problems from water damage to a home’s contents through to – if left unchecked – damage to the home itself from warped floorboards to ruined plaster work. Experience a major water leak and a homeowner or tenant could be out of their house for many months while the damage is repaired.

Prevent a drip becoming a deluge
It seems sensible then for a homeowner to do all they can to prevent the misery of a water leak and that, as a profession, we should do everything possible to help them keep dry. The good news is, above and beyond the usual best practice advice around keeping home maintenance up to date, and turning off the water supply – or keeping the heating on to a minimum – when leaving a home unoccupied for a period, technology is providing other ways of alerting homeowners to a potential problem well before a drip becomes a deluge.

Waterlock
A great option for homeowners is Waterlock. This device, fitted near a homeowner’s water stopcock uses sensors placed around the home to detect standing water, excess humidity and freezing conditions, and can automatically shut off the mains water supply if there is a problem to prevent further damage. Effective in houses or flats, it’s controlled by an app and can be paired with smart speakers such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Home to shut off the water supply remotely. Suitable for use in homes with pipes of 15 or 22mm diameter – some very large properties may have larger pipework – it is more suited to mid-net worth or lower high net worth properties.

Available at a specially discounted price starting from £401.31 inc. VAT for Hiscox policy holders, Waterlock is a reliable and robust way of preventing hugely damaging water leaks in the home, says Waterlock’s James Rankin. “Quick to install, its ability to both detect leaks and shut off the mains water supply makes it an invaluable and a low-cost solution to the growing problem of water damage to people’s homes. Built using proven technology it can be controlled via iPhone or Android apps and needs minimal maintenance.”

Another option is a LeakBot smart water leak device. Easy to install, and available free to qualifying 606 Hiscox customers, it constantly monitors the home by accurately measuring both the air and water temperatures to  detect  if a leak is continually drawing in colder water from outside, and will alert the homeowner immediately.

Protect your home from water damage
For a small upfront cost, homeowners can protect their homes and investments from water damage, and have peace of mind that a water leak is not ruining their property when it’s unoccupied. To find out more about how Waterlock or LeakBot can help your clients, speak to your usual Hiscox contact for more details.

Qualifying Hiscox 606 Hiscox customers can receive a free LeakBot smart water leak device – which normally costs £149 – and includes a free professional engineer visit if a leak is detected to help find and fix the issue (all labour and basic parts included). Please visit hiscox.co.uk/leakbot for full terms and conditions.


*Source: Average claims costs of Hiscox high value customers relating to escape of water claims in 2020