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Press Release

Insurance Oversight: Everyday Leaks and Blockages Are Costing Baffled Brits

WALSALL, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - Aug. 21, 2013) - Home insurers are refusing to cover six in 10 leaks and blockages according to new research from HomeServe.

The home emergency specialists found no fewer than 61% of Brits have been plagued by problem plumbing and dire drainage over the last five years, with clumps of human hair (29%), food waste (28%) and wet wipes (23%) the most prolific clogging culprits.

But many hoping for reprieve from their home insurance have been left sorely disappointed. Six in 10 homeowners (60%) who have suffered a blocked drain report that the problem wasn't covered by their home insurance - indeed, internal figures from HomeServe suggest that 94% of call outs are related to wear and tear, something that the majority of home insurers will not cover.

One factor is that many harried homeowners are the architects of their own misery, with seven in ten (69%) confessing to flushing ill-advised items down drains. Wet wipes (23%) proved a prominent cause of obstruction, along with cooking oil from fry pans (19%). Other colourful causes were pet fish (10%), condoms (12%), jewellery (5%), mobiles and iPods (5%), and underwear (2%).

While 26% of Brits didn't hesitate to call out the experts, a whopping seven in ten (70%) are happy to roll up their sleeves and settle matters themselves. While most used plungers and (33%) or chemical unblockers, homemade remedies also proved popular with vacuum cleaners, wire pushers and air pressure guns deployed to dislodge the damage (12%).

But trying to solve the issue themselves can sometimes backfire on home owners. One in ten (11%) confessed that the problem got worse, forcing them to call for hired help, with the average cost of a delayed repair £104, with more than one in 10 (12%) ending up over £200.

The bathroom proved to be the big blockage hot spot with bath and shower drains, toilets and basins behind 29% of calls. The kitchen sink was also responsible for a whole manner of sins, with 15% of incidents occurring in the heart of the home.

HomeServe Membership's CEO Jonathan King said: "Many homeowners may not be aware that many home insurance policies will only cover leaks and blockages if they are the result of an 'accident', 'emergency' or are proven to have damaged the rest of your property. Home owners who inadvertently cause blockages, or find that one has built up gradually, can therefore find themselves out of pocket."

"As 94% of callouts relate to wear and tear, we'd recommend that homeowners look carefully at their policies and consider specialist home emergency policy. One that provides comprehensive coverage for leaks and blockages - such as HomeServe's Enhanced Plumbing & Drainage Cover - will help you save money in the long run."

Top 10 items flushed away:

Human Hair 29%
Food Waste 28%
Wet Wipes 23%
Cooking Oil 19%
Women's Sanitary Products 16%
Condoms 12%
Pet Fish 10%
Jewellery 5%
Mobile phones 3%
Dead Animals 2%

Notes to editors:

All research conducted online by Canadean Consumer on behalf of HomeServe, July 2013 among a representative sample of 2,000 UK adults.

About HomeServe

HomeServe was established in 1993, with the aim of being the first place people turn to for home emergencies and repairs. With over 1,700 directly employed and sub-contracted engineers, HomeServe is a national home emergency repair company backed by a 24 hour claims handling team.

HomeServe offers insurance cover for plumbing, drains, electrical wiring and gas central heating. Our product range also includes locksmith servicing and boiler servicing.

HomeServe works with many major utility companies, boiler manufacturers and other companies that have an affinity with our products.

HomeServe also has a strong international presence with 4.9m customers across the UK, US, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Michael Sheen
020 7861 3013
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