Trace and Access
Did you know that insurance companies call Leak Detection, Trace and Access? Most policies will cover the cost of finding a leak – the trace part and the cost of repairing the damage caused by exposing the leak – the access part.
You do need to check with your insurance company to confirm what is covered and what is not covered.
The Leak Team can help you with this and explain what your policy includes or does not include and what level of cover you have. You must always speak to your insurers to confirm what is and is not covered.
Insurance companies don’t always interpret their policies in the same way or in the customers favour and the customer can be left feeling confused and frustrated by the insurance policy. We can help point you in the right direction.
The Leak Team also works with independent claims handlers who can assist you with the claim and claim process to ensure that you are put back in the position you were before the leak was discovered.
The cost of the service provided by the independent claims handlers does not come out of your pocket it forms part of the claim paid directly by your insurers. The claims handlers have a network of contractors, who are vetted, to carry out the reinstatement works for you as quickly as possible ensuring the minimum of disruption and hassle for you and your family. Using approved contractors means your insurer will pay for their services direct, rather than you paying them and then recouping the cost; however those contractors do not get paid by your insurer until you are happy with the standard of the work. (Any excess on your policy will still apply)
The whole process ensures you receive what is required to return your home to the condition it was before the leak, without compromising the quality of work or materials.
Your insurance company may expect you to find suitable contractors, provide a number of estimates and manage the claim yourself. We all have very busy lives and don’t usually have time to run a building project. They may also expect you to understand what is required and what work should be carried out; in reality this should be left to professionals who understand the scope of works and the claims process.
We can help to reduce the stress, give The Leak Team a call on 0800 464 0330 for help and advice at any time or point in your claim it really does cost nothing.
How the insurance claim process works when you think you have a leak.
First contact with an insurance company is over the phone, this call is usually taken in a call centre by front line staff who’s main role is to record the claim. They are not always Loss Adjusters or claims handlers and may have little experience of Trace and Access claims. This is where the problems and confusion can start.
Before you make that call take time and follow the points below to make your claim process smoother;
- Familiarise yourself with your insurance documents before contacting your insurance company, specifically any sections regarding Trace and Access cover. If you cannot find them, look on your insurer’s website. If this is not possible, you can ask them for a copy.
- Make sure you know what your policy will and will not cover before you call.
- When you call, record who you spoke to, take notes and refer to the relevant parts of your documents.
Your insurance company will offer a number of different policies, each offering differing levels of cover. The specifics of what is covered in your policy may not be available to the operative when you call, leading them to take a conservative view of what may or may not be covered in your instance.
Understanding what is covered by your policy and what your responsibilities are.
Whilst we would hope that your insurance company will be understanding and obliging, some people who have not made a claim before think that the insurance company will manage the entire claim and works at their property for them. This is not normally the case, although they may send a Loss Adjuster to assess the damage and cost the reinstatement works.
The insured has a duty of care to mitigate any loss and to minimise any further loss.
In simple terms you must take steps to stop the damage being caused by your leak, in order to prevent the cost of repairs rising. Once you know you have a leak you are duty bound to fix it if you expect to make a claim on your insurance policy.
To speed up fixing a leak and to limit the damage it is causing, insurers normally expect you to deal with the leak and reimburse costs to you later. They may require you to find the relevant tradespeople to carry out the work and provide them with two or three different estimates for the works.
Before contacting your insurance company, read your documents.
It is best to deal with an insurance claim with your documents in front of you and having made yourself familiar with them.
Understand phrases referred to and what is relevant to you.
Your documents may be long and will deal with many aspects of claims on your property, most of which will not be relevant to a water leak. Phrases you will come across are Escape of Water and Trace and Access. These are two separate elements to the cover on your policy and it is important to appreciate what each covers you for.
Escape of water cover provides insurance cover to repair the damage caused by the water in your property as a result of a leak or a burst pipe. If there is no visible damage the cost of finding and accessing the leak would not be covered by the Escape of Water clause; this is what Trace and Access cover is for.
It is not usual for an insurance company to pay to repair the pipe or fitting that caused your leak. Even when the claim caused by a leak could run into tens of thousands of pounds and the repair may cost only £20-00, most insurance companies will insist you pay the £20-00.
Your insurance company has a responsibility to return your property to the same condition as it was before the leak. They will not allow ‘betterment’ unless you are willing to pay the difference.
As new flooring and decoration will be ‘new’ this will often be ‘better’ than immediately before the leak occurred. However as long as the same materials as before are being used, for example the same quality and grade of carpet, then this is what will be restored. Betterment is what is meant by replacing damaged items or fittings with those of a greater value or quality, for example replacing laminate flooring with solid oak plank.
Some insurers will offer a ‘Settlement’ of your claim. This means they will pay you a fixed amount up front and close the claim, leaving you to manage the works and budget. Although the amount being offered may seem considerable, be careful to make sure it will cover all the costs of any investigation , repair and replacement before you accept.
- Loss Adjuster – Work on behalf of the insurance company to assess the scale, cause and validity of the claim
- Risk – The property to which an insurance policy relates.
- Peril – The cause of the damage or loss (e.g. water)
- Hazard – What has caused the damage or loss (e.g. split pipe)
- Escape of water – Documents refer to a water leak as ‘escape of water’ and cover is for property that this has damaged.
- Trace & Access – Most policies include ‘trace and access’ cover which covers the cost of finding the leak (trace), exposing the leak (access) and the cost of repairing the damage caused during access. You should check the value of Trace and Access cover that your policy provides.
Call us on 0800 464 0330. We can arrange to come to your property to find your leak. We can then, if you require, arrange for a Loss Assessor to contact you to assist you with the rest of your claim. They will be able to help scope the works needed, liaise with your insurers and arrange for vetted contractors to come and get your property back to normal as soon as possible.