Pipes and plumbing problems cause most home insurance claims

Article date: 5 February 2013

  • But under 25s are more accident prone and at risk of theft.

With the big freeze, followed by storms and flooding, causing problems for home owners across the UK, the latest data shows that it’s peoples’ problem pipework that tops the list of home insurance claims.

Leaking water from pesky plumbing takes the number one spot for the most frequent claims, according to data from Aviva, followed by storm and accidental damage. Theft lies in fourth place and fire, which covers damage from small cigarette burns to major house fires, is in fifth place on the list which combines the number of claims made for both buildings and contents insurance.

Top Home Insurance Claims¹

Most Common Claims (by frequency)
1 Escaping Water
2 Storm
3 Accidental Damage
4 Theft
5 Fire
6 Subsidence
7 Flood
8 Malicious Damage
9 Impact Damage
10 Freeze

Although a leaking pipe could be a relatively minor issue, in comparison to fire and flood, it can ultimately cause a major problem which costs an average of £3,5001.  At this time of year a frozen pipe in the loft can quickly become a burst pipe. This can cause water to gush through the house, ruining furnishings and belongings along the way and in some cases bringing ceilings down. For the homeowner this can mean months of disruption while their house is dried out and repaired.

The data also breaks down the top claims by buildings and contents insurance. Storm damage is the top claim under buildings cover - with weather-damaged roofs, lost tiles and collapsed chimneys being the major cause of damage. While for contents insurance, accidental damage tops the list – with mishaps to laptops, mobile phones and televisions being the most claimed for items.

Caroline Cooper, director of property claims at Aviva, said; “While freeze, floods and storm damage have hit the headlines in recent months and kept our claims teams busy, it’s no surprise to see that it’s the more normal everyday problems that can prompt most calls from customers.  What can start as a small leak, or a frozen pipe, can lead to serious damage to ceilings, floors and your prized possessions if left un-checked or unnoticed over time.

“If you do find a leak then it’s worth getting it checked out by a plumber as soon as possible to prevent the problem getting any worse  and, of course, ring your insurers who can fix any damage caused by leaking water.”

But whether it’s a common claim or something caused by exceptional circumstances like heavy rain or freezing temperatures, Aviva has teams on hand to help 24 hours a day, every day of the year.  

The Aviva data also shows that the under 25s are more at risk of accidentally damaging their belongings or having them stolen – with mobile phones, computers and cameras being the most likely to be damaged or taken.  As people get older the risks, decrease with the over 65s the least likely to make a claim.

Caroline Cooper continued: “The data also highlights generational differences.  With the younger age groups likely to have more of the latest gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablet computers and cameras, as well as a busy social life, there is increased risk of them being stolen or broken.  At the opposite end of the generation gap the over 65s are likely to be more security conscious and take better care of their prized possessions.”   

- Ends -

If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

John Franklin : Aviva Press Office : 01603 680795 : 07800 692110 : john.s.franklin@aviva.co.uk

¹ Aviva claims data 1/1/12 – 30/6/12

Notes to editors:

Aviva provides insurance, savings and investment products to 43 million customers worldwide.
We are the UK’s largest insurer with over 14 million customers and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance. We combine strong life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand. We are committed to serving our customers well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business, which makes a positive contribution to society, and for which our people are proud to work.
We are ranked as one of the UK’s top ten most valuable brands and Aviva Plc is in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.  In 2011 we invested £5.3m into our UK communities. One in three of our employees were involved in community investment activities which included giving nearly 33,000 hours.
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