Floods 'a bigger threat than burglary'

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The Independent Online

Water damage is the "silent threat" to British homes, and a bigger threat to homes than burglary, Legal and General has warned, after a week of torrential rainfall across England and Wales.

With freezing conditions also said to be on the way again this winter, homeowners could see a repeat of last year's damage which saw more than 370,000 homes affected, at a cost of £730m – double the costs relating to burglaries over the same period.

Due to the nature of the most common problem, leaking pipes, many households are unaware of any damage until the situation escalates, the insurer said. However lifestyle changes are also fuelling an increase in the chances of damage. Plumbed in items including washing machines, dishwashers, under-floor heating and ice dispensing refrigerators are becoming more common in the UK, as is open plan living, which could remove barriers that would have formerly prevented water damage spreading.

At an average insurance claim of £2,000 for "escape of water", an insurance shortfall could result in financial hardship for the 20 per cent of households thought to be underinsured.

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