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Don’t Let Burst Pipes Put A Dampener On Your Home This Winter

10th February 2010

Frozen pipes give way to water damage as cold weather thaws

Direct Line has seen claims from burst pipes and other water damage rise by a third as a result of the severe weather during the first fortnight of the year. In addition to the greater number of claims, Direct Line is also predicting much higher costs to replace property and belongings damaged as a result of the thaw and subsequent re-freeze.

Homeowners are urged to take steps to prevent damage to their homes as weather forecasts show below-freezing temperatures set to continue over the coming weeks. The potential for frozen pipes can be combated with good insulation and by keeping the heating on at a low level, even when no one is home.

Andrew Lowe, head of Direct Line home insurance, warns:

“While claims from water damage are covered under most home insurance policies, precious belongings can’t always be replaced and the time and intrusion required to complete proper repairs can be a hassle, so it’s a situation that most people would rather avoid. If there is a leak, the first thing to do is shut off the water supply to the property via the main stopcock, then phone your home insurer for further advice.”

Direct Line home cover has some tips and advice to help avoid damage from burst pipes in the cold weather:

  • Make sure all pipes, including those in loft spaces, are well-insulated.
  • Wrap outside taps with insulating, waterproof coverings.
  • Keep heating on at a low level at all times, as even insulated pipes need to have warm water running through them to keep from freezing.
  • Keep important documents in waterproof storage container.
  • Keep note of high-value possessions, including receipts if possible, to aid a potential claim.
  • Make sure everyone in the house knows where the stopcock is and how to operate it.


If pipes do burst:

  • Turn off the water supply immediately
  • Run taps to 'empty' the system of remaining water
  • Call your insurer
  • Immediately organise for a plumber to repair the pipe
  • Arrange for an electrician to inspect electrics/heating
  • Keep a record of the damage caused, taking photos if possible
  • Keep receipts of any emergency work carried out

For homeowners who have an emergency, Home Response 24 operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is available for purchase as a separate product to standard home insurance. Home Response 24 assists homeowners immediately when called with an emergency and will send out an authorised repairer at a mutually agreed time. The product can be purchased by any qualifying homeowner, regardless of whether they have their home insurance with Direct Line, and is available with an option for instant cover for electrical wiring, plumbing and drainage emergencies.

For further information please contact:

Erica Nelson
Direct Line
0208 313 5830

Notes to Editors:

*Direct Line saw 5497 claims for escape of water from 4-13 January 2009, compared to 7288 from 4-13 January 2010.

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides car, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting