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Insurance for External Water Leaks

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
There was an item on You and Yours today commenting on the letters which appear to come from your Water board offering for around £15 insurance against the cost of repairing the pipe between your home and the meter. You can listen to the broadcast again at the above link.

You and yours pointed out the odds of this needing doing are really very very slight and in any case the majority of Water companies will repair one leak free per year anyway and in newish properties the pipe has a life expectancy of over 100 years anyway and is sofely below ground and not subject to risk.

The Water companies are getting commission from the Insurance company for policies sold and so have a vested interest not only in passing off some of their liability but being paid to do so.
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  • deanosdeanos Forumite
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    i would suggest that you read your water companys leak policy before you take out insurance.

    For example Anglian Water only do 1 free repair per supply pipe and a maximum of 25m in length any other leaks will have to be paid for , so if you have already had a leak it may be worth doing it you havent then its probably a waste of money
  • There is an excellent article in the Property Telegraph 12 Jan2005 which points out that following the Deputy PM's "water summit" in 1997 the water companies agreed to repair customers' supply pipes (from the road to the house) for free as part of their leak reduction target. The water regulator OFWAT maintains that this agreement is still in force and there should be no need for home owners to take out extra insurance.

    My father had a leaking supply pipe last year and this was paid under his house insurance as I didn't know about this at the time - so why pay an additional £15 a year for something you are already covered for?

    I may have a problem with my supply pipe and the first thing South West Water said was "its your pipe, you have to fix it".

    Great - so we pay for water and all we get is it delivered into the street outside from where we have to pick it up. Sounds like we are going back to the 18th Century, not the 21st.
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  • I have received something similar of late. The insurance is normally (or at least with Welsh Water it is) offered by Homeservice GB. In my view these are an appalling company to deal with. I took out the insurance for the whole of my external plumbing some years ago.

    Two years ago I had a claim to come out and fix my drains. The contractors arrived and flushed my drains. Then sometime later the drains blocked again and I called them out. This time they were unable to fix the problem and requested a "Look-See" CCTV report. Homeservice would not initially provide the authorisation. Eventually I rang them and they agreed but their computer was down. They eventually gave this authorisation and diagnosed a collapsed drain.

    Homeservice sent someone out after a while to look at the drain collapse but then said I would need to remove the wall brick wall that was holding up my garden shed as it was "dangerous". After many phone calls - I eventually got through to their drainage department (beware when you phone up your call will initially be taken by a customer service rep who may have no responsibility to authorise any work). The drainage department can authorise anything up to your policy limit. After much negotiation which included the fact that I pointed out the picture on the literature of the drain running under a wall they agreed to remove the wall at their expense. The did the work and left a skip full of earth/rubble in my back garden. They then said they had discovered a further problem which would cost £5k - and because they had already spent £800 of my £2k policy they would only pay £1200 of it leaving me out of pocket by £4k. I asked for a second opinion - they refused as they said it would cost whatever they quoted for the work. All they had to do was dig a small hole 2m deep outside my garedn and replace a sewer pipe no more than a couple of meters long!

    After involving the senior management of the water company they provided a second engineer to give a quotation - he suggested the work would cost £2k - Now thats better but still too much. He also said - why did they take your wall down - there was no need for that! I then contacted the insurance company and they (after more intervention from the water company) agreed to fix the wall too. However this involved me taking time off work to meet them. I took time off and they were unable to turn up. I gave them one final opportunity to turn up at a specific date and time of my choosing. They eventually conceded that they would do all the work and that because they were having difficulty getting a contractor to fix my wall - I could use my own local builder. Well after approx 18 months I got my check for the chaos caused. All the while I was unable to sell my house because I was waiting for the work to be carried out.

    The moral is:
    1) The call centre have little authority.
    2) Always be polite to call centre staff;
    3) Take a name and always try to speak to the same person - if necessary asking when they are working so that you can always speak to them.
    4) Keep them talking always explaining each step you have taken to date - repeat if necessary;
    5) Ask to speak to a supervisor - if they say no keep the conversartion going - I got mine up to 37 minutes when a supervisor got in touch to wonder why the call was lasting so long. At this point the call centre person was screaming at me down the phone although I remained perfectly calm and polite all the time.

    Eventually you can get through to the drainage department - I have their phone number somewhere and may post it if I can find it. They do not like direct calls by the way.
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