What is trace and access cover?
Trace and access cover is usually a standard feature of buildings insurance and covers the cost of locating the source of a water leak. For example, a pipe somewhere in your home may have frozen and then burst, meaning water is now leaking throughout your home, but it is difficult to know from where.
Trace and access cover is particularly useful as some leaks can be very difficult to detect.
What does trace and access insurance cover?
Covers the cost to have a plumber or builder come out to locate a leak on your property. It will also provide cover for any damage caused to your property while the source of the leak is being investigated. This sometimes requires more work than expected, and, if the leak’s source is not immediately obvious, can be disruptive. For example, you may need to have walls demolished or have floorboards taken up in order to access the plumbing where the leak is originating from.
Trace and access cover will mean that any costs incurred from these disruptions will be covered and that any materials removed or destroyed during this process will be rebuilt or repaired once the leak has been fixed.
What doesn't trace and access cover?
Trace and access cover does not include repairing the source of the leak, such as tanks or pipes, or the cost of any damage the leak has caused. It also does not cover roof leaks.
Trace and access will also not provide cover for issues such as a faulty boiler or heating system. For this type of protection, you would need to take out Boiler Emergency cover.
If the cause of a leak is from something like a maintenance issue, e.g, rising damp from a failed dap-proof course, a claim for trace and access might be rejected.
What should I do if I find a leak?
Sometimes, the signs of a leak somewhere in your home may be obvious (e.g., water dripping from the ceiling or damp patches on the walls), and sometimes they are more difficult to locate (e.g., receiving unusually high water bills, noticing a mouldy or musty smell in the home, or a loss in central heating pressure).
In some cases, the source of the water leak is both obvious and easily accessible. Other cases, however may require a trace and access specialist to locate the source of the water leak to make it accessible for repair. In either situation, the process can be an expensive and disruptive process, making race and access cover an invaluable part of your home insurance.
As soon as you suspect any sign of a leak, it is important to contact an emergency plumber, heating engineer, or your utilities company as soon as possible. They will be able to adequately assess where the water is coming from and either stop or control the flow.
If you intend to make a claim with trace and access cover, you should contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. They will arrange for a specialist to assess the damage.
In some instances, you may find you do not have time to wait for your provider to send out their own tradesman – especially in an emergency. So let your insurance provider know and make sure to keep a record of any work you have to pay for upfront.
What are the most common causes of escape of water?
Typical causes of escape of water includes:
Poor construction and workmanship
Poor workmanship can greatly heighten the risk of escape of water. For example, if plumbing methods are applied incorrectly, and pipes are installed to a poor standard, it can cause these pipe connections to come apart and for water to escape. For example, in some cases, too much acid flux can be used to solder the joints of copper pipework together, resulting in corrosion and pipework eventually failing.
Appliances such as dishwashers, boilers, and washing machines may be plumbed into properties to a poor standard or installed using inadequate materials or fittings.
New-build properties tend to have more than one bathroom, increasing the chances of plumbing that could go wrong. Keep a look out for blocked toilets, damaged showers, and overflowing baths.
Lack of maintenance
Wear and tear such as the corrosion of pipes and the failure to clear gutters is a primary cause of damage.
Properties left unoccupied for long periods of time
It is not uncommon for people to own a second property which they may only use infrequently as a holiday home, leaving it unoccupied for long periods of time. As a result homeowners and tenants are less likely to be aware of problems that could arise in these properties, and routine maintenance, such as regular boiler checks, may be missed.
For example, properties left unoccupied during the winter months will have pipes that are not regularly warmed through heating, which can result in frozen pipes that are un-lagged and will eventually burst when the water inside them starts to thaw, damaging the surrounding walls, floors, and furniture.
How do I make a trace and access claim?
When making a trace and access claim, it is important to ensure that the tradesman only removes what is necessary in order to locate the source of the leak.
For example, if your bathroom sink is leaking, and your entire bathroom is either removed or destroyed in the process of repairing the leak, you might not be reimbursed.
Additionally, if part of a matching set is removed and damaged – such as the toilet that matches the bath and basin – your insurer might not agree to replace the rest unless you have matching set cover.
Other things to consider when making a claim
When making a trace and access claim, there are a few things you should try and do: -
- Act quickly: as soon as you suspect or notice a water leak, contact your insurer as soon as possible. This will not only reduce the amount of damage done to your home, but there is a chance your insurer may reject part of, all of your claim if they believe you have not acted quickly enough.
- Document the process: Open a ‘claim file’ – taking photographs of any and all damage you suspect caused the leak, including the source of the leak itself.
You should also record of any correspondence between you, your insurer and any third parties throughout the claims process.
- Maintain your home: It’s important to keep your home in good condition. Insurance providers will likely want evidence that you had taken reasonable steps to prevent the problem from happening. If your home is in poor condition, your claim may be rejected.
What is the difference between 'trace and access' and 'escape of water'?
Although often used interchangeably, 'trace and access' and 'escape of water' have different meanings which you should know about when claiming for water damage.
Trace and access
In many cases, a water leak is easy to find. A leaking tap, for example, is easy to find and repair. Sometimes, however, where a leak originates from is not immediately obvious and could be in a hard-to-reach place – for example, behind a wall, or underneath the floorboards. This is where trace and access cover comes in.
A trace and access specialist will employ a range of tools (e.g., thermal imaging, acoustic microphones, endoscopic, cameras and gas tracing) to locate the source of a water leak. They will then expose the leak so that it can be repaired.
Trace and access does not cover the cost of either repairing the water leak itself, or the damage caused by the water. It simply covers the cost of locating the source of the leak and exposing it.
Escape of water
While trace and access will cover the cost of finding and exposing the source of a leak, escape of water cover will cover for damage caused by a water leak within your property.
Common causes of escape of water include burst pipes, faulty appliances, and dripping taps.
Escape of water is sometimes part of a standard home insurance policy, but not always.
Compare home insurance deals
We find deals from all the top providers and help you switch.