Three common home insurance claims and how they can be prevented

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Whether it’s winter-related or lack of maintenance; the most common claims made on Admiral Home Insurance policies are all related to everyday household items found in properties up and down the country.

While we all know accidents can happen and the unexpected can occur, what can homeowners do to help prevent the same problems occurring at their home? To help you get an idea of some of the most common issues homeowners face across the UK, we’ve put together the top three claims Admiral Home Insurance receive as well as tips on how you can prevent them.

Boiler emergencies

Boilers are common appliances that are often involved in household claims. Leaking and dripping tend to be common issues, while loss of pressure and problems with efficient heating also top the list.  In the winter time, frozen pipes are an issue to be aware of – when temperatures often dip below freezing, this can cause a blockage in your boiler. Preventing frozen pipes is easy and cheap; we teamed up with Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water to provide useful advice on getting your home winter-ready including how to prevent frozen pipes, insulating your home and preparing your garden for storms. There are all kinds of boilers out there and the size, construction and energy efficiency of a boiler will affect their performance and energy output.  Making sure you choose the right boiler for your home is an important step in avoiding a boiler emergency and it could save you money.  Here are some simple ways you can look after your boiler to ensure it stays in top condition:

  • Bleed your radiators: This helps release any air and will also allow your boiler to work more efficiently and smoothly
  • Service your boiler regularly: Last year, Admiral customers paid an average of £170 in repair costs for their boilers – something that can be easily prevented if they are serviced regularly
  • Re-pressurize your boiler: Take a look at the instruction manual, or contact a trained professional if you’re unsure how to do it

If you have a mortgage, you more than likely had to take out buildings insurance as part of the agreement; and the next two most common claims are covered under an Admiral Buildings Insurance policy.

Escape of water

One of the most common household claims that Admiral sees involves escape of water. Whether it’s a result of burst pipes or a leaky washing machine, sometimes escape of water damage is unavoidable and even some of the best prevention methods may not always work.  Homeowners who suffer escape of water claim for a range of damage as a result – everything from ruined furniture to a flooded living room. The most important thing is not to panic; if you suspect your home is experiencing escape of water and it’s safe to do so, follow  these steps:

  • Turn off the primary water supply to your home to stop the leak
  • Switch off the power and avoid electrical appliances – be sure to get in touch with an electrician first in the event you have to stand in water to turn off the main electricity
  • Take photos of the damage
  • If you have Home Emergency Cover on your policy, call our 24-hour Home Emergency Helpline on 0800 6523 117 and we will be able to find you a suitable service provider

Signs of a leak in the home

  • Decrease in water pressure
  • Hearing running water in places you don’t expect it
  • Mould and damp patches
  • Increased water bill Seeing running water or wet patches around the house

Not all escape of water claims are severe and for smaller cases your home might just require the cleaning and drying out process. While this could still take several weeks, you can speed up the drying process by opening the doors and windows to help air circulate.  For leaks you think require more attention, you should contact a professional who can strip out any damaged furniture and fixtures and start the repairs. Getting your home back to normal after escape of water can take time so you may need to seek alternative accommodation during the repair process, depending on how severe the damage is. Although some situations are impossible to prevent, there are simple things you can do to help keep your home leak-free:

  • Invest in a stud finder if you plan on doing some DIY projects – this will help you locate any pipes that may be hidden behind walls or floorboards
  • Keep your gutters and downspouts clean and clear
  • Wrap or ‘lag’ your pipes to help avoid frozen pipes
  • Know where your home’s stopcock is and that you know how to switch it on and off

House fires

a-hand-fitting-a-battery-into-a-fire-alarm

Another common claim our household team deals with involves house fires. Not only can fires cause severe structural damage to your home, they can also be extremely dangerous for you and your family or housemates. Like many home claims, house fires can be impossible to predict but many are caused by misusing appliances, cooking or electrical problems such as poor wiring.

How to reduce the risk of a house fire

  • Keep things like matches or lighters in a secure area and out of the reach of children - if you smoke cigarettes, make sure they are properly extinguished in an ashtray far away from flammable items
  • Use caution with candles – make sure they are away from curtains or other flammable items. Be sure to put them out if you leave the room and that they’re completely extinguished before going to bed
  • Regularly clean your washing machine and tumble dryer filters to prevent build up
  • Avoid leaving electrical devices on if they don’t need to be and don’t leave electric blankets on while you’re out of the house
  • Clean kitchen - keep your oven clean and be careful of wearing loose clothing that may catch fire more easily

Make sure your smoke alarms are up-to-date and working; it’s a simple, quick test to make sure the batteries are working. You should aim to change them at least once a year. 

Home insurance

Even though home insurance isn’t required by law, your home keeps almost everything you value the most so keeping it protected is important.  Getting the right insurance can be confusing, so it’s important to know exactly what is covered by your policy so you don’t run the risk of making a claim on something you’re not insured for. To avoid the risk of having invalid home insurance, keep the following in mind:

  • Leaving your home unoccupied: It’s common for home insurance policies to come with a limit on the number of days your home can be left empty. Should you exceed this, you must notify your insurer
  • Not reporting an incident: Even if it’s minor, it’s best you notify your insurer should any incidents or damage occur to your home even if you don’t plan on making a claim.  Failing to notify your insurer could impact any future claims you make
  • Renovating your home: Make sure you tell your insurer if you are making home improvements as they need to know what’s being done. Not telling them could result in your policy being declared void
  • Taking in a lodger: Getting a lodger is a great way to help lower the costs of living but make sure your insurance company is notified before doing so

If you’re unsure what type of cover you need, take a look at our guide to buying home insurance to make sure you get the best deal and protection.

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