Water Damage Prevention Guide

Water Damage

Prevention is better than a claim

In recent years we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of Escape of Water claims in the Channel Islands.

This is causing policyholders untold distress, inconvenience and financial loss as they pay their excess on a claim. It will also increase future premiums because of the cost of claims being met by insurers.

Escape of Water claims can start with a small leak and end with the property being uninhabitable. Your insurance will normally cover a move to alternative accommodation, but compensation cannot fully cover the impact of being unable to use your home for weeks or even months – and the permanent damage to treasured possessions. Prevention is better than claiming.

Contact our 24-hour claims helpline

Within the UK: +33 1 45 1664 65 
Outside of the UK: 0033 1 45 16664 65

To contact the local police, fire or ambulance service

In Europe: 112
In the USA: 911
In Australia: 000

View the full list of worldwide emergency telephone numbers.

Simple Checks

Completing these simple checks around your home will give you some peace of mind…

    • Check seals on washing machines and dishwasher doors
    • Check the edges of baths and showers for leaks.
    • Don’t ignore leaking taps, as they may signal other issues
    • Book an annual service for your plumbing and heating systems to keep them in peak condition
  • If your home has several bathrooms, make sure that all fittings are tested regularly
  • American-style fridges and underfloor heating increase the risk of undetected leaks
  • Don’t put off repair work, small leaks can quickly become much worse if left unattended

As a homeowner, you are responsible for maintaining your property in a good state of repair. If your home is badly flooded and you have to make a claim, it could affect the cost of your insurance premiums.

Water Damage Prevention Checklist

This checklist will help you prevent or reduce the effect of water damage in your home:

Check your water meter

Monitor your water meter readings for any changes in usage, which may indicate a problem. If you don’t have a water meter consider having one fitted (free of charge in Guernsey).

Book a plumbing inspection

Carry out a regular inspection of your home with plumbing and heating systems in mind.

Check your seals

Check seals on washing machine and dishwasher doors, and around the edges of baths and showers. Don’t ignore leaking taps – they could signal other issues.

Check for indicators of damp

Look out for any signs of a leak such as visual damage to decorations, walls and floors, musty or damp smells and cracks in grouting or seals.

Service your boiler regularly

Check that your annual maintenance contract covers hot water cylinders as well as oil and gas boilers as failure to service hot water cylinders can also result in failure.


Ensure that water pipes are lagged correctly in order to minimise the risk of bursting or cracking during unexpected cold spells of weather.

Turn your stopcock off

Make sure you know where your main water stopcock or shut-off valve is located and ensure that it is operational

Vacant Property

Consider turning the stopcock off when you are going away on holiday or leaving the property unoccupied for any significant period of time.

Extra precautions

There are no guarantees against an escape of water, but checking your home and taking action could save your home and contents

    • If you replace a bathroom, kitchen or other fitting, replace all pipework where possible so all works are new and can cope with increases in water pressure
    • If you are away from home during winter, consider draining the system to avoid freezing pipes. If this is not possible, set the heating system to keep the property above freezing temperature.
    • Keep track of the cost of your water bill as a significant increase may indicate a leak.
    • Water Leak Detection systems cost approximately £450 and can be invaluable for shutting off your water supply in the event of a leak. Ask your plumber for a survey to provide advice on the correct product for you.
    • Clear out debris from gutters and downspouts regularly
    • Inspect all rubber hosing on washing machines and dishwashers for signs of cracking

Discovered a leak?

If you discover a leak, you can reduce the impact by:

    • Acting quickly. Locate and turn off your stopcock to limit the water loss
    • Check if the water has contacted any electrical fittings. If it has, isolate the mains supply until an electrician can attend.
    • Mop up any standing water and move any contents/furniture out of the path of the water that may be dripping through ceilings or tracking across floors
    • Once the leak has been isolated and made safe, contact your insurer and plumber to arrange repairs.

Don’t let water damage destroy your property!

It’s hard to imagine the devastation and disruption that water damage can cause to a home.

At Islands, we want people to be aware of the risks and to think about how to prevent damage to their property. Make sure that your home and personal possessions are protected, get in touch today to discuss home insurance today

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warning Due to recent events, we are currently experiencing a very high volume of calls in the claims department. For more information, please visit our Storm Support Hub.
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