Saving money on buildings insurance is something every flat and block of flats owner wants to do. Yet year after year new clients come to 1st Sure Flats for buildings insurance as their existing provider has raised their premiums well beyond inflation. The reason for the rise, in most cases, is a recent claim following an accident, 75% of which are caused by water damage. Such accidents cost flat and block of flats owners dear; and yet through proper risk management they are largely avoidable. And so to help you save money on your buildings insurance premiums, here’s 1st Sure Flats’ guide to how to avoid water damage and what do to in the event of a leak in your flat.
How to reduce the risk of water damage in flats – internally
- Ensure all your flat’s pipes and tanks are well insulated before the weather turns cold
- Regularly check appliances in your flats that can cause water damage – showers, baths, washing machines etc. – as part of your routine maintenance
- Ensure all your tenants know how to turn off the water in an emergency and how to turn off the electricity in order to reduce the chance of fire
- Check appliances (washing machines, dishwashers etc.) inlets and outlets regularly and see if any door collar seals are worn. These are often overlooked and cause the sort of accidents that drive buildings insurance premiums up
- Replacing faulty washers and washing out drains with boiling water periodically only takes a minute, but it can help prevent overflows in your flats that can cost a fortune
- Make regular inspections of your radiator valves – small leaks from these can be easily overlooked and yet over time they can do extensive damage to flats
- If your flat’s going to be unoccupied, even for a few days, in cold weather then leave the central heating on at a low temperature. This will help you avoid the mess, expense and buildings insurance premium inflating nightmare of burst pipes
How to reduce the risk of water damage in flats – externally
- Check drains annually and make a note to clear them in the autumn and again in the spring. This will keep them free from leaves and stop water pooling at the base of your flats
- Look out for dripping overflow pipes, they can not only damage brickwork but can also be a sign of a defective cistern – a major cause of water damage in flats and a regular factor in increased buildings insurance premiums
- Consider installing gutter guards. Compared to the cost of water damage and associated buildings insurance premium hikes these are cheap and money well spent
Of course irrespective of how many precautions you take accidents will happen so it’s important to have a plan of action in place in case of a leak. Failure to act can lead to even greater problems and even greater buildings insurance premiums.
What to do in case of a leak in your flat
- Turn off the water supply – sounds obvious but in the panic of your flat filling with water it can be overlooked. That’s why it’s imperative that flat owners and block of flats managers know where the stopcock is, or, if there’s no stopcock, where the stop valve is. Generally speaking stop valves are located in the communal entrance to flats
- Turn off central heating systems – the last thing you want is more water being pumped into your flat!
- Turn off the electricity – floods and fires go hand in hand so make sure the electricity is turned off ASAP
- Drain water pipes and tanks – once the water’s been turned off then turn on all the taps and flush the toilets
- Warn your neighbours – water is no respecter of boundaries so to limit damage in other flats tell your neighbours so they can take action
- Collect as much water as you can – if water’s coming through the ceiling then collect it in whatever vessels come to hand, and if the ceiling starts bulge then poke it with a broom handle and release it. Doing this will stop you flat’s ceiling becoming part of your flat’s floor!
- Notify your insurer, Residents’ Management Company and maintenance company – once the flood is contained. The sooner you get this done, the sooner life in your flat can get back to normal
- And finally… remember to check your hot water tank is completely refilled and free of airlocks before you switch on the boiler or immersion heater
One of the most unfortunate things about water leaks – especially in flats – is that they don’t just inconvenience the flat owner but also the owners of flats that surround them. To further reduce the risk of a water leak, and reduce the chances of your buildings insurance going up, fit water management devices such as a Sure Stop.
Hopefully this little guide will help you avoid costly water damage to your flats and help you keep your flat’s buildings insurance costs down too. If you would like any further help or advice regarding flats or block of flats insurance then please get in touch and let 1st Sure Flats’ dedicated team help. You can contact us by calling 0345 370 2842, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you’d like to get a free quote then just click here.