claims for water damage top £35 million in coldest winter for decades

With the UK experiencing its coldest winter in decades, Sainsbury’s Home Insurance estimates that since the beginning of the cold snap in December the UK insurance industry has received nearly 16,000 home insurance claims linked to water damage under the category of ‘forcible/violent bursting’ (1).

It estimates that the value of these claims is around £35.21 million(1) and says the freezing weather conditions have contributed to many of these claims.

Ben Tyte, Sainsbury’s Home Insurance Manager, said: “There have certainly been more home insurance claims linked to water damage in recent weeks than we’d expect to see when the weather is milder. We experienced a similar surge during last year’s cold snap, but this year it has been much more prolonged and intense. Temperatures have dropped to as low as -22C (-7.6F) at night in some parts of the UK and with more cold weather predicted, we expect to see more claims linked to water damage.

“We have seen cases where people have gone away for a few days and switched their heating off and returned to terrible damage; this really is a no, no. Warm water must be kept circulating even if it’s for a short period each day. Having good quality home insurance is also invaluable as with the average claim for water damage caused by burst pipes coming in at £2,218(1), if your pipes do break you may find yourself with an expensive bill that you just don’t need so soon after Christmas.”

Winter Weather tips from Sainsbury’s Home Insurance:

* Make sure you have a good level of buildings and contents cover
* Find your main stopcock and make sure you can turn it off and on. If you have a water meter, the ‘off’ switch is on the meter, which is probably outside the house
* If you are away for a few days, leave the heating on a low setting as it’s advisable to maintain an air temperature of at least 10oC (50 oF)
* Ensure your pipes are insulated, especially if they occupy attic spaces, which are notoriously cold
* If you suspect a pipe may have cracked, ensure you turn the water off and call your insurer right away
* Make sure you have the telephone number for your home insurance company because many like Sainsbury’s Finance offer a 24-hour emergency helpline which can arrange for emergency / temporary repairs

About Sainsbury’s Home Insurance:

As well as being competitively priced, the bank also offers an extensive range of cover and benefits.  This includes:

* Unlike some home insurers, Sainsbury’s Bank does not apply charges for customers paying their premiums monthly
* – you may be eligible if you have been claims free for 5 years or more.
* No-claims discount protection(2)
* Cover for accidental damage – even by pets(2) - It's all about Beverley

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