What is trace and access cover?

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Image of a woman plumber finding and fixing a leak.

Trace and access is a common feature on home insurance policies – buildings insurance in particular – and covers the cost of finding the source of a leak and exposing it to allow for repair.

Isolating a leak can be expensive. In fact, according to our data, the average cost of a trace and access claim is £463.

Read on to discover what trace and access covers and what to do if you have a leak.

What does trace and access cover?

Trace and access covers the cost of removing and replacing parts of the building when trying to locate the source of a leak.

This sometimes requires more work than expected, and if the leak's source isn’t obvious, it can be disruptive. You may need to take up floorboards, for example, to access the plumbing in question.

Trace and access covers the cost of putting your home back to the way it was beforehand.

What doesn’t trace and access cover?

Trace and access cover doesn’t include repairing the source of the leak such as tanks or pipes, or the cost of any damage the leak has caused.

It doesn't sort out issues like a faulty boiler or heating either, which Boiler Emergency cover handles.

For example, you'll need to claim from your home insurance if your house floods.

Check your policy book for more details.

Does home insurance cover trace and access as standard?

It depends on your policy.

Levels of cover vary, so don’t assume that trace and access cover is standard. Check your home insurance policy or speak to your insurer to find out what’s protected and what isn’t.

Admiral’s Gold and Platinum Home Insurance policies include trace and access cover up to £5,000 and £10,000 respectively. It isn’t covered under our lowest level of cover, Admiral Home Insurance.

You can find out what’s covered in our policy books.

Is trace and access included in home emergency cover?

People often misunderstand the differences between trace and access and home emergency cover. It’s understandable but can lead to rejected claims and serious damage.

Here’s an example to explain the difference:

If your toilet starts leaking and won’t stop, you should call the home emergency cover helpline who will arrange for a tradesman to temporarily stop the leak. That tradesman won’t find out where the leak is coming from and won’t repair any damage the leak caused.

Trace and access covers the cost of finding the source of the leak and replacing any parts of the building. This may be covered by your home policy.

Are underground pipes covered by home insurance?

Your home insurance policy will likely cover accidental damage to underground drains, pipes, cables and tanks crossing your land.

Once again, always check your policy book to check what’s covered. It’s likely your insurer won’t cover pipes that have been damaged intentionally or have degraded over time due to general wear and tear.

They’re also unlikely to be covered if the damaged pipes aren’t on your land.

All Admiral Home Insurance policies cover accidental damage to underground drains, pipes, cables and tanks.

How do I make a trace and access claim?

After discovering a leak, if you have home emergency cover, call the helpline.

If it’s not an emergency or you don’t have this cover, check your insurance policy to see if your provider would prefer you to call them first.

They may then send an approved plumber or engineer around to find and isolate the problem.

If your provider sends out a specialist trace and access company or tradesperson, they’re likely to cover the cost from the off. Otherwise, you may need to pay a professional upfront and claim the cost back from your insurer.

Your insurer is unlikely to cover the cost of any work deemed excessive or unnecessary. For example, unnecessarily ripped-up floorboards aren't covered.

This is why it’s usually better to let your insurance provider send approved workers. You’ll know that any work undertaken will be covered, and you won’t have to pay upfront.

Flexible home insurance from Admiral