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Escape of water – mitigating against this risky business

Tue 19th Jan 21

While we still all wish for white Christmases, cold snaps – and especially those with snow – in most of the UK are more likely to happen between January and March. In fact, MET office statistics show that snow or sleet falls an average of 3.9 days in December, compared to 5.3 days in January, 5.6 days in February and 4.2 days in March. Minimum temperatures for the UK show January and February to be the coldest months, with 0.9ºC and 0.7ºC respectively.

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), back in February 2018 – the year the Beast from the East hit – the average cost of weather related insurance claims for burst pipes averaged over £10,000. Business premises are as much at risk as housing and escape of water is a concern, especially in 2021, with a pandemic lockdown in progress and many business premises closed or less used as a result.

What is escape of water?

While flood caused by weather events is a major issue in many areas, water damage can also be caused by a much less high profile problem. In the colder months, escape of water caused by frozen pipes is a big contributor of claims and it’s a growing concern for commercial properties. According to the ABI, the average cost of a commercial escape of water claim increased by 22% between 2016 and 2018, from £4,167 to £5,349. Losses for some large businesses can exceed £1m, though.

Escape of water occurs when water ‘escapes’ from somewhere it was supposed to be, such as a pipe, a radiator, a sink or an appliance, within your property.

Storm or flood is classified a different risk, as this is caused by water entering your property that wasn’t ever supposed to be present there.

Protecting your business premises from escape of water

Of course, there are some circumstances that are simply unavoidable, but mitigating the chances of escape of water claims can make a great deal of difference. We asked our team to offer up ten top tips to help:

In the winter months:

1. Lag any pipes that are outside or in drafty or exposed locations.

2. In particularly cold patches, keep the heating on low, even when your premises are closed.

3. Make sure you know the location of your mains water valve – and how to close it off.

Your appliances:

5. Use a plumber to install any appliances you may need (dishwasher, etc.).

6. Ensure high quality pipes and fittings are used to connect your appliances to the mains.

7. Check and maintain your appliances, pipes, drains and overflows regularly.

Around your business:

8. Install leak detection equipment to alert you to any leaks early.

9. Make sure the seals around your sinks are watertight.

10. If you’re shutting up shop for a longer period, consider turning the mains off.

Making sure your claims are well covered

Of course, escape of water may still happen even if you’ve taken all of our tips into consideration. Ensuring your insurance is adequate to cover your property and contents, as well as any interruption to your business, in the event of an escape of water claim can be the difference between sink or swim for your business.

If you’d like to know more, please contact our Enterprise team today on 01473 343491.