We recognise there is a fundamental need to secure your business critical assets, from vacant land, development sites and compounds, to plant, materials and fuel. As a leading provider of sustainable security, we are perfectly positioned to secure, monitor and protect your valuable assets.

Assets Link

Reducing the Risk: How to avoid ‘Escape of Water’

Reducing the Risk: How to avoid ‘Escape of Water’
Reducing the Risk: How to avoid ‘Escape of Water’

Escape of water is an insurance term that refers to any leaks, flooding or water damage caused by internal faults. For example, a burst pipe would constitute an escape of water, whereas flooding originating from a nearby river or reservoir would not. EoW presents a huge problem for both commercial building owners and insurers.

Most businesses and property owners have insurance against escape of water incidents included within their building insurance coverage. Still, it is important to note that there are several exceptions and types of water damage that are commonly excluded.

The norm is for escape of water insurance to cover the costs of repairs following water leaks from pipes, fire safety systems, water tanks, appliances and central heating systems. Avoiding an incident and an insurance claim is always preferable, not least because escape of water insurance is unlikely to include business disruption coverage, and significant flooding can take considerable time to recover from.

‘Escape of water’ – a key focus for insurers

Escape of water claims are increasingly common when it comes to building insurance – so much so that insurers consider addressing ‘Escape of Water’ claims as a primary focus. 

Approximately one-third of home insurance claims in the UK stem from ‘Escape of Water,’ which refers to water damage caused by leaking tanks, boilers, pipes, blocked toilets, freezing burst pipes, radiators, washing machines, and more.

Why Is it Important to Mitigate the Risk of an Escape of Water Insurance Claim?

Water damage can be extensive, and while the cost and time required to replace damaged carpets might not be business-critical, this might be the case if a flood has weakened the structure of a property, caused rot within timber beams, or led to flooring becoming unstable.

Even with escape of water insurance, as we’ve mentioned, the cost of water damage extends beyond the physical damage to properties, equipment and assets.

If, for example, a commercial landlord finds that a burst pipe means the residences within their accommodation are uninhabitable or a business is forced to shut during repair work, the financial ramifications may be serious.

Insurance providers will assess the risk profile of any property or business before offering coverage. If there are any indications that flooding or water damage is more likely, this will inevitably impact the premiums payable and any conditions the insurance places on their coverage.

Examples such as commercial sites that use large water piping for cooling, cleaning or washing are more costly to insure since escape of water is more likely and would be more severe.

What Does Escape of Water Insurance Cover?

escape of water detection

While policies will differ between insurance providers, most will offer coverage against the costs of repairing or replacing items damaged by water leaks or floods, including those caused by water pipes and appliances within the premises.

However, many will exclude:

  • Water damage caused by drainage piping and fixtures.
  • Accidental damage due to human error – such as leaving a tap on or failing to turn off an item of equipment.
  • Leaks that occur because of inadequate maintenance or repairs.
  • Replacing solid floors.
  • Escape of water that has occurred when the property is unoccupied.
  • Losses or damages due to water ingress caused by a landslip or subsidence.

Reducing your risks of escape of water can lower the costs of insurance premiums, minimise the potential for business disruption, and put in place best practice policies for maintenance, periodic servicing and other checks that make escape of water far less probable.

How to Avoid Escape of Water Risks

  1. An Audit: The first step is to audit all of your plumbing, piping and building infrastructure that is linked to water. Some facilities in the manufacturing, energy, and commercial laundry sectors will have far more piping and water storage tanks than others; therefore, there are more areas to consider.
  2. A risk assessment: Our next suggestion would be to conduct a risk assessment, working through every asset, fixture or item of equipment that utilises water, including kitchens, bathroom and washing facilities and other amenities. A risk assessment details all the potential issues or incidents that could result in escape of water, why they might happen, and how serious the outcomes would be. Working through this process ensures you have clear oversight of where water leaks or floods are most likely to come from and whether the steps you have in place to prevent them are adequate.
  3. Install solutions such as an escape of water device: An Escape of Water Detector (EoW) significantly minimises the impact of water-related incidents and can significantly aid in insurance claims (more on this below!)
Clearway Property Risk Assessment

What Are the Most Common Causes of Escape of Water?

As an indication, the majority of insurance claims relate to:

  • Pipework failing, often around joints and connections. High-pressure water systems and those with older copper piping are more exposed to leaks or pipework corrosion.
  • The failure of valves, either due to faulty equipment, general wear and tear or incorrect usage.
  • Frozen pipework, where water freezes during colder winter months without appropriate insulation or heating – this can affect both internal and external piping.

Depending on the nature of your building, you may already have provisions in place to prevent any of these incidents, such as policies that dictate the minimum temperature of the premises or controls around pipework or machinery servicing and inspections.

During a risk assessment, the aim is to review those protocols and establish whether they remain sufficient or whether you need to take further steps to protect your property from water damage.

Practical Steps to Reduce Escape of Water Hazards

Once you have completed your audit, you can use this information to determine which pipes or areas of your plumbing are at greater risk. Generally, this will include older pipes, installations that are not visible or easy to access, and water sources with an outdoor connection.

From there, you can:

  • Install professional quality insulation to protect pipes and any connections to water storage tanks that are not temperature-controlled within your property. Solutions may include foam or rubber insulation or commercial-grade pipe wrapping.
  • Implement policies that ensure temperatures remain stable across your facility, including in zones that may not be in constant use. Business owners may also drain pipework over the winter if items of equipment are not being used.
  • Seal gaps in connections and joins and have valves and pressure-based water systems serviced, inspected and monitored.
  • Put emergency shut-offs or disconnection switches in place to prevent water from flowing into your building if a leak, high pressure or damaged pipework is identified.

Once your infrastructure is up to standard, it’s important to monitor the environment to address any potential risks as soon as they’re detected with a specially designed Escape of Water Detector

The EoW Detector its a tiny device used to gather environmental data which is transmitted wirelessly to the cloud. When the sensor comes into contact with water, it promptly relays the results, ensuring swift detection of potential issues.

Clearway escape of water detector

Additionally, the detector sends a regular heartbeat message every 15 minutes, confirming its operational status to the system.

The device is specifically designed to accurately monitor critical parameters such as water temperature, proximity, water level, humidity, and ambient heating levels of your assets.

By continuously monitoring these variables, the EoW Detector provides real-time insights, enabling proactive measures to prevent water damage.

In the context of insurance claims, the data collected by the Escape of Water Detector can serve as valuable evidence. The ability to precisely measure and record environmental conditions at the time of an incident enhances the accuracy of claims and facilitates a smoother claims process.

This proactive monitoring solution not only helps mitigate financial losses but also contributes to the overall resilience and security of your property and assets.

Don’t fall victim to escape of water

While most of these steps are relatively straightforward, the key is to be vigilant about the risks of escape of water, and to take proactive, preventative action rather than needing to invest in repairs and clean-ups after the fact.

For more information about safeguarding your property, business or facility from water damage and flooding, please get in touch with the Clearway team at any time.

Scott Bowers

Scott Bowers

Insurance Director

Scott is an experienced, results driven director, used to managing client relationships at senior/board level, both UK and internationally.
He’s a successful, self-motivated commercially-focused individual with a track record of surpassing challenging goals. Scott has worked within the Legal Services, Insurtech, Insurance, Utility, Counter Fraud and in Investigations for the past 25 years.
As a seasoned Sales Director, Scott has over 20 years’ executive-level experience in B2B & B2C SaaS sales solutions and is passionate about technology & innovation and delivering an excellent experience to customers.

Back to top

What are you looking for?