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Does your home insurance policy have a “thermostat clause”?

Insurers are always on the lookout for new and inventive ways to maximise income while at the same time limiting outlay. Insurance, after all, is a business. Those sultry long summer evenings are all but a distant memory and winter fast approaches. Longer, darker nights and what our weather men and weather ladies call ‘cold snaps’ are on the way. The last few years have given us particularly freezing weather and those long icy blasts that plunge the mercury to minus 10 – or worse. Remember “the Beast from the East” in December 2012?

As every schoolchild should know, water freezes at zero degrees. What is not so widely known is that frozen water (ice) takes up more space than liquid water and that the forces at work are enormous. So, if a domestic water pipe freezes up, don’t be surprised if those forces are enough for a pipe joint – or the pipe itself – to split. That slug of ice will keep the pipe sealed until the inevitable thaw – and when it does, the water flows again is when your home can find itself thoroughly soaked through and suffer an extensive water damage claim.

Insurers have, of course, noticed these cold trends and are more and more considering ways to avoid paying out if the worst happens whilst their policyholders frolic away.

Many homes have “frost-stats”, that are factory-set at 5 -10 degrees. However, there are some insurers that insist on a thermostat set at least 12 degrees if you are away from your home for more than a few days for them to consider actually paying out in the event of a claim.

Truman Associates Loss Assessors say Insurance Policies’ terms and conditions can vary between insurers and it is essential to read and understand your particular policy and its small print. Many policy wordings insist that you are not covered unless you drain down your heating system and switch everything off, others insist that you keep your heating on a timer sufficiently to prevent freezing up. The trend nowadays is away from boilers in the kitchen and tanks in the loft. Instead, boilers with balanced flues do away with the need for header tanks and sort of makes nonsense of the requirement to drain the system down.

Freezing and burst pipes, despite being prudent and following all best practices to reduce the risk, are sometimes not enough. So, if you are unlucky enough to suffer such a water damage claim, there are yet other hurdles and traps that lie in wait in making your claim. Using a professional Loss Assessor – Truman Associates – can make all the difference to the outcome. Don’t settle for less. Contact Truman Associates Loss Assessors and get your claim right from the start.