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Rainwater downpipe overflowing - is this covered by house insurance?
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# 1
usignuolo
Old 26-08-2011, 6:24 PM
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Default Rainwater downpipe overflowing - is this covered by house insurance?

In the torrential downpour yesterday, it soon became apparent that the rainwater downpipe at the back of our house was full and overflowing. The water splashed out over the top and onto the brickwork behind. Damp has seeped through the brickwork and stained the inside wall in our loo.

Water has also spilled over the gutter next to the rainwater pipe, and left large brown patches on our bedroom ceiling. Today there was another downpour and the water started dripping down through the patch nearest the gutter on the bedroom ceiling. The water is also coming through the conservatory roof at one point.

It looks like the rainwater pipe has become blocked in some way, impossible to tell how, and we have no access to it.

Is this likely to be covered by our house insurance? We are insured for the buildings with Zurich Home Solutions. The policy says we are covered for sudden and unexpected loss of or physical damage to the buildings caused by (list of events). The events include (5) storm or flood and (8) water leaking from any fixed appliance. However guttering and rainwater pipes are not specifically mentioned. (The roof was repaired last year and is not leaking, we know this because we have access to the roof space.)
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# 2
phill99
Old 26-08-2011, 6:31 PM
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Your policy will cover the damage caused by the water ie redecoration of bathroom, bedroom etc, but it won't cover the unblocking of the pipe. Thats just down to lack of maintenance on your part.
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# 3
usignuolo
Old 26-08-2011, 6:49 PM
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Mm had all the gutters cleaned out this time last year when the roof was done.
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# 4
phill99
Old 26-08-2011, 8:54 PM
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But insurance is there to cover emergencies, not to cover the costs of routine maintenance. Other wise everybody would use their insurance as a free maintenance service. It was never invented for that.
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# 5
usignuolo
Old 27-08-2011, 1:35 AM
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Yes I understand that - but I have maintained my house that is the point, I had the roof repaired last autumn (it was actually last september-october I just looked it up) and the gutters cleaned at the same time. The front gutter/rainpipe is not leaking/the rear gutters are not blocked, the problem is the rear rainwater downpipe. I assume something has fallen into it quite recently. I would just challenge that it is caused by poor maintenance. It could happen at any time. I can hardly have the gutters cleaned weekly.
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# 6
savemoney
Old 27-08-2011, 1:39 AM
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I had my ridge tiles done in March and some tiles replaced. The builder then cleaned the gutters but not very well maybe same happened to you. I know same builder did same to next door too and he had a leak in his down pipe. I always do my own gutters and paint the inside same time
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# 7
nickj
Old 27-08-2011, 8:25 AM
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it is a fairly easy job to do , normally any obstruction occurs in the bend from the gutter to the actual down pipe , normally leaves etc get wedged in there ,
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# 8
emmatthews
Old 27-08-2011, 8:48 AM
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If it is difficult to access, maybe you should put some type of mesh over the top once it's cleared to help avoid it happening again.
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# 9
macman
Old 27-08-2011, 9:38 AM
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Doubtless all the debris from the guttering was flushed into the downpipe when they were cleared and is now blocking it. It's a maintenance issue, as already advised.
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# 10
McKneff
Old 27-08-2011, 10:18 AM
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Cleaning the gutters is cleaning the gutters, not cleaning the gutters and downpipe
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# 11
ormus
Old 27-08-2011, 12:01 PM
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ive known cowboys to clean out the gutters and then shove the debris into the downpipe.
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# 12
usignuolo
Old 27-08-2011, 5:16 PM
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No the roofer wasn't a cowboy. Quite a nice chap actually. We had the chimney repointed at the same time and it is possible some of the water used got tipped into the gutter and blocked the pipe but unlikely as the top of the rainwater down pipe is right in a corner of the rear house, well away from the chimney stack (which is on the outside). Plus we had extensive scaffolding and a pulley system for hauling buckets up and down.

There are any number of reasons how the downpipe could have got blocked. However the blocked pipe has only just become an issue. Problem is that there is a conservatory built in the gap of L shape at back of house, in front of it, so down pipe is not really accessible from outside. Certainly not by ladder. Also it is a very tall thin house.

Have spoken to insurance co who said would probably be covered as storm damage (I imagine they mean the redecorating) - we had a thunderstorm yesterday morning with torrential rain. We had another cloudburst today and water just flooded over conservatory roof and has now got into glass fittings so it then flooded the floor.

Insurance co said I can get it fixed, if I get written report. However with it being bank hol weekend no drainage specialists locally are answering their phones......
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