Washout Christmas

A mother of two came downstairs one Christmas morning with her young family to find a pool of water on the kitchen floor. She soaked up the water with towels, and went to open presents with her excited children. When she went to put the kettle on, the water had returned. She disconnected the washing machine and dishwasher, but could see the puddle growing as she watched. After turning off the water at the mains, she realised that there must be a cracked pipe under the kitchen floor. With a family to feed and no functioning kitchen, Christmas felt like a wash-out.

Unfortunately, the problems were only just beginning. She had guessed the cause of the leak, but there were kitchen cupboards, floor tiles, and a solid concrete foundation between her and the cracked pipe. Finding the exact location of the crack and repairing it would require tearing up the whole kitchen. And with her insurer closed on Christmas Day, she couldn’t find out what she was covered for until days later.

Water leaks in Ireland

Water leaks like this are a huge problem in Ireland. This winter, Irish Water announced that 43% of drinking water in the country is lost to leaks, both in people’s homes and externally. The problem is especially bad in the cities, with Dublin’s pipes being described as “on their knees”.

The expected cost of repairing Ireland’s leaking pipes is €500 million over five years. Irish Water is devoting huge amounts of time and money to the problem, with experts trained to trace and repair the leaks. Unfortunately, homeowners don’t have those same resources to hand when the leak is in their home.

Finding the source of the problem

For the family with the Christmas flood, the water damage to their kitchen was extensive. Over the period of the leak, 200 litres of water escaped the pipes and ran across their floor. However, the cost of tearing up the kitchen to find the broken pipe would come to much more. 

Many comprehensive home insurance policies include Trace and Access cover, which is designed to cover those extra costs. However, most standard market policies have an inner limit of around €650 for Trace and Access. That wouldn’t be enough to cover the cost of even the most affordable kitchen tiles and cabinets – let alone the cost of labour to dig up the floor, trace the leak, and lay new concrete foundations. For more luxury homes, €650 might not even cover the cost of replacing one cabinet.

Inner limits are for other people

When it comes to protecting valuable or unique properties for high net worth clients, you need a policy without restrictive inner limits. If your client has a designer kitchen or bespoke furnishings, it is important to know that they could be completely repaired or fully replaced in a crisis. With some tiles costing hundreds of Euro per square meter, costs can add up fast.

DUAL offers household insurance customised to each client’s needs. That means we take into account their encaustic tiled floor, chef-quality range, or designer cabinets when insuring their kitchen, and we analyse the cost required to tear it up and replace it if they had their own flooded kitchen nightmare. That means no restrictive inner limits, and no finding out that your client is underinsured if the worst happens.

With Christmas (and burst pipe) season nearly upon us, make sure that your client’s insurance covers them for every eventuality.

For more information, contact Chris Wilkinson. Chris is a Senior Underwriter with DUAL, the world’s largest international MGA. DUAL Private Client specialises, amongst other areas, in high net worth personal insurance in Ireland and are backed by AXA XL, a division of AXA, one of the world’s largest insurance groups.

t: 01 6640001 / e:enquiry@dualprivateclient.ie