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UK swimming in household leaks

   UK householders are swimming in water leaks - enough to fill 3,880 Olympic size swimming pools a year1. Botched DIY and more plumbed in appliances like shower units are leading to a torrent of household water leaks, warns the ABI.   An estimated 9.7 billion2 litres of water a year are lost through leaking domestic appliances such as sinks, pipes, washing machines, baths, showers and toilets.  

Nearly one in five claims made on buildings and contents insurance is for damage caused by escape of water, costing £2 million every day. Last year, 371,000 such claims were made with the average claim just under £2000.  But, some escape of water claims can run into tens of thousands of pounds.  In one example, a Londoner's washing machine leaked and spread to the downstairs flats, resulting in over £150,000 of damage.  

Nick Starling, ABI's Director of General Insurance and Health, said:  

  "This is a real concern - water is a precious resource and billions of litres are being wasted needlessly. The smallest of leaks can quickly become a torrent and cause some very expensive and disruptive damage. Don't over look or under estimate the warning signs. Ensuring that domestic water appliances are properly installed and well maintained, especially as people go on their summer breaks, will greatly reduce the risk of expensive damage to your home."  

The ABI's advice to homeowners to avoid costly damage from leaking household appliances is: 


  • Fix any leaking taps before any damage occurs. 
  • Keep a close eye out for any leaks, such as water underneath washing machines, and call in a plumber at the first sign of potential problems.
  • Periodically check the condition of any flexible hoses, such as those connected to washing machines.
  • Don't attempt do- it -yourself repairs unless you know what you are doing. If in doubt, call a reputable plumber.
  •  Check your home insurance policy, as some policies may have an additional breakdown element and cover the cost of calling out a plumber.        
        Notes for Editors  
    1.       Enquiries to:
    Liz Forster         020 7216 7444 (Mobile: 07717 578 586)
    Malcolm Tarling  020 7216 7410 (Mobile: 07776 147 667)
    Linsey White       020 7216 7415 (Mobile: 07939 126 553)  

    2.    1. Research by Homeserve, July 2009

    3.    The ABI is the voice of the UK's insurance, investment and long-term savings industry. It has over 300 members, which together account for around 90% of premiums in the UK domestic market.
    The ABI's role is to:
    -       Be the voice of the UK insurance industry, leading debate and speaking up for insurers.
    -       Represent the UK insurance industry to government, regulators and policy makers in the UK, EU and internationally, driving effective public policy and regulation.
    -       Advocate high standards of customer service within the industry and provide useful information to the public about insurance.
    -       Promote the benefits of insurance to the government, regulators, policy makers and the public.  

    The UK insurance industry is the third largest in the world and the largest in Europe. It is a vital part of the UK economy, managing investments amounting to 24% of the UK's net worth and contributing the fourth highest corporation tax of any sector. Employing over 275,000 people in the UK alone, the insurance industry is also one of this country's major exporters, with a fifth of its net premium income coming from overseas business.

    Insurance and businesses protect themselves against the everyday risks they face, enabling people to own their own homes, travel overseas, provide for a financially secure future and run businesses. Insurance underpins a healthy and prosperous society, enabling businesses and individuals to thrive, safe in the knowledge that problems can be handled and risks carefully managed. Every day, our members pay out £155 million in benefits to pensioners and long-term savers as well as £58 million in general insurance claims.  

    4.       An ISDN line is available for broadcasts.  

Last updated 01/07/2016