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Understanding your insurance policy

A leaking mains supply pipe can waste gallons of water every hour, but how can you fix something you can’t find?

Your water bill has increased and your water company is certain the fault is not theirs, so you’re left to your own devices to locate the cause of wasted water.

Insurance companies describe the process of tracing the source of a water leak as “Trace and Access”.

Without an adequate insurance policy that covers you for this, you could be left to pay for the finding and fixing of your mains pipe out of your own pocket.

How to know if you have trace and access cover

We recommend that you check directly with your home or buildings insurance company to confirm that your policy meets the requirements of your leak situation as soon as it arises.

Speaking with your insurer is often the fastest and simplest way to establish whether you are covered for trace and access works or not, as protection is not always included as standard.

For leaks in your mains supply pipe, it is especially important to check whether your policy covers pipes buried underground outside of your home, as well as within it.

According to GoCompare, 62% of 322 buildings insurance policies include trace and access cover for costs ranging between £5,000 and £9,000, while only 9% offer completely unlimited cover.

The limitations of trace and access

Trace and access works not only locate the source of your water leak, but also expose the affected area for further examination and repair.

However, they does not usually cover the repair of pipework which is usually detailed separately in your insurance policy. The repair of pipes is also often subject to conditions.

Here are some common exceptions for trace and access and pipe repair cover:

  • Insurance policies will often include clauses which absolve them of responsibility if your leak is the result of natural wear and tear. The interpretation of what this involves is sometimes subjective so we highly recommend that you are as honest and open with your insurer as possible.

It is also likely that the cause of the the damage to your pipework will be unclear until it has been revealed by the trace and access works. As a result, you could be left in a position where the locating and accessing of your leak is covered by your insurance policy, but its subsequent repair is not.

  • While trace and access cover will reimburse you for any digging and disruption caused to locate your external water leak, it will rarely cover the cost of returning the area to normal afterwards. Trace and access insurance is also unlikely to cover the costs of damage to possessions or property as a result of an escape of water.

For this, you will need to have purchased additional contents insurance and ensure that the policy safeguards your possessions should such a situation occur.

How to make a trace and access claim

Once you have established that you are covered for trace and access works, contact us on 0800 037 7078 to arrange for a free visual inspection of your affected area by one of our experts.

Following the successful tracing and repair of your pipework, we will provide you with a comprehensive leak report, complete with photos, which you can send over to your insurance company to support your claim.