Water damage can cause costly damage to domestic properties. One leak can affect multiple flats, which would then need repairing and redecorating.

What’s more, if it keeps happening in your building, insurers may need to increase your premiums or impose a higher excess for water damage claims. They may even refuse cover altogether.

What is water damage?

Water damage can include these broad categories:

  • Escape of water damage
  • Flood damage
  • Damp and condensation damage

Escape of water damage

If water has escaped suddenly from where it normally flows within your property, such as in water and central heating systems, and this has caused damage, your insurer may deem it an escape of water claim.

Buildings insurance policies for blocks of flats such as ours offer cover for damage caused by escape of water as standard.

Finding the source of a leak, known as ‘trace and access’, can also be required, the cost of which we also cover as standard, subject to policy limits.

Remember that even if you have suitable insurance, regular building maintenance is also important. Buildings insurance can cover water leaks and water damage, but only if the cause is sudden or accidental, such as when a pipe bursts. If a slow leak causes damage that you could reasonably have known about and rectified, it could invalidate any claim, or increase your future premiums or excesses.

Gradual damage – not usually deemed to be escape of water – is often caused by normal wear and tear, as pipes and connections deteriorate over time. While the damage may appear suddenly, it could have been happening over a long period. Pipes and plumbing systems aren’t easily visible, hidden within your home’s walls and under floors. So, if a leak was slowly getting worse, you might not notice it until a major water damage incident occurs.

Inspections of the individual flats and common areas should occur regularly. Building managers might ask leaseholders in a block of flats to check their own plumbing or offer to arrange an inspection for them.

Flood damage

Flooding or flood damage can be caused by an ingress of water into your property from an external source, such as rivers or sewers overflowing. For instance, if a river nearby burst its banks due to heavy rain causing damage to your property, this would be regarded as ‘flood damage’. This can also be covered by our Block of Flats Insurance.

Damp and condensation damage

Buildings and contents home insurance policies might not cover you for damage caused by damp and condensation that can be attributed to wear and tear or poor maintenance. Taking steps to prevent such issues can help to save you hassle and money.

Excessive moisture in buildings can lead to a whole host of issues, including staining and mould, which can cause serious health problems. Suitable ventilation can be vital.

Two types of damp include rising damp and penetrating damp. Rising damp can be caused by water from the ground. Signs include damp stains rising to about 1m to 1.5m high and often there will be white, powdery nitrate salts on the surface.

Penetrating damp from the outside is generally caused by poor building maintenance or defects in the building, such as cracks in walls, broken and blocked gutters, or rotten or badly fitting window frames. Signs of penetrating damp include dripping and puddles, wet and crumbling plaster, and damp stain circles on internal and external walls, which will typically darken during periods of rainfall.

Blocks of Flats Insurance from Gallagher

We understand that cover and price are important to you, and we will search our panel of well-known insurers to help find you suitable protection. Use our quote form or call us on 0800 612 8631 for a quote.

These are brief product descriptions only. Please refer to the policy documentation paying particular attention to the terms and conditions, exclusions, warranties, subjectivities, excesses and any endorsements.