What's escape of water?

Image of a white man calling for help after spotting a house leak

Escape of water is a common issue, and you’ll usually need to contact your insurer to fix it.

Below, we explain what escape of water means, how to spot it, what we can cover and how to claim for it.

What’s escape of water?

Escape of water is usually a part of your buildings and contents insurance.

Insurance companies like us describe escape of water cover as water leaking from the mains supply. It doesn’t protect against all types of water damage; it only covers water escaping from a:

  • domestic appliance
  • fixed water tank
  • fixed central-heating system
  • water pipe

The most common cause of escape of water is burst pipes, which usually occur in freezing weather. For example, in December 2022, burst pipes accounted for 84% of escape of water claims.

However, escape of water can also be caused by:

  • faulty boilers
  • leaking dishwashers and washing machines
  • leaking central heating system

In these scenarios, EOW claims are not typically covered. However, other parts of your home insurance may cover it.  

What to do after a water leak

Immediately after noticing it

You should only take the below steps if it’s safe to do so. For example, if turning off the mains electricity involves standing in water, please contact an electrician.

You should:

  • turn off the main water supply via the stopcock
  • drain the system by running the cold tap
  • turn off the power, and avoid electrical appliances
  • open doors and windows
  • contact a professional to fix the issue

We recommend taking photos, too, if you’re claiming.

Home Emergency cover customers simply need to call the helpline on 0345 609 4375 – we’ll get you in contact with someone who can sort the rest.

In the days following

  • dry out – give walls, floors and furniture enough space for air to circulate
  • clean – you’ll need to wash and disinfect every surface in your home to prevent mould, including floors, walls and shelves when dry
  • strip out – remove affected furniture, fixtures and plastering repair – walls need to be fully dry before they can be replastered and redecorated

Your property might only require cleaning and drying out for smaller escape of water damage.

How to keep your home leak-free

You can take proactive measures to lower the chance of getting a leak:

  • use a stud finder if you’re doing DIY to help you locate any hidden pipes
  • keep your gutters and downspouts clean
  • wrap or ‘lag’ your pipes to prevent them from freezing
  • know where your stopcock is and how to switch it on and off
  • keep the sealant (white silicone) around the shower and bath well maintained

Plan ahead if you’re leaving your home unoccupied

If you’re leaving your home unoccupied for more than five days between November and March, here are some tips to protect your home:

  • keep your central heating on low so your pipes do not freeze
  • leave your loft hatch open
  • turn off your water supply and drain the system
  • check your policy information for unoccupied property conditions

What we cover

All three of our Home Insurance tiers cover escape of water, but only for water escaping from a:

  • domestic appliance
  • fixed water tank
  • fixed central-heating system
  • water pipe

However, different parts of your policy cover you for different types of damage and maintenance, so read it carefully.

For example, products like trace and access cover will cover you for sourcing the leak, while Home Emergency cover will get a tradesperson to fix it once the source is known.

Read your policy for more information.

What escape of water claims we don’t cover

We won’t cover for:

  • damage to any drains and pipes
  • overflowing taps, as a result of any taps being left on
  • faulty, failed or inadequate grout or sealant
  • water escaping from external pipes that are above ground
  • water escaping from unlagged pipes or plumbing 
  • loss or damage caused to solid floors by infill materials settling, swelling or shrinking due to the escape of water
  • loss or damage caused by subsidence, heave or landslip resulting from the escape of water
  • loss or damage caused while your home is unfurnished or unoccupied

How to claim for escape of water damage

Call the helpline on 0345 609 4375 if you have Home Emergency cover immediately.

If you don’t, open a claim with your insurer – most will prefer you to contact them first.

You open a claim with us in three ways:

We recommend using MyAccount to report the incident as quickly as possible.

Flexible home insurance from Admiral