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Trace and Access – are you well covered?

Trace and Access is one of the most important things that you should consider when choosing a home insurance policy. In a nutshell, it covers the cost of locating the source of a water leak and exposing it – so that is can be repaired. For a little more detail, have a read of our blog What is Trace and Access cover?

Like many things, rules and interpretations can vary between insurance providers. So, as you shop around for home insurance, the levels of Trace and Access cover can vary. In this short blog, we discuss some of the main things to look out for.

Is Trace and Access cover included?

Research earlier this year by GoCompare found that over 90% of home buildings insurance policies included Trace and Access cover. But you shouldn’t take this for granted. Check the policy wording for explicit mentions of Trace and Access to ensure the policy includes it. Note that Trace and Access is not the same as ‘Escape of Water’ which is separate cover.

What level of cover is there?

Levels of cover (the amount for which you are covered for) can vary greatly. The same study by GoCompare found that almost two-thirds of policies that included Trace and Access cover, included cover between £5,000 and £9,999.

That may seem like a lot. Many companies like ourselves charge between £400 – £600 for Trace and Access services. But keep in mind that sometimes things can get complicated during exceptional circumstances. For example, if your water leak is located underneath an expensive floor, deep down underground, or behind expensive fittings then access costs can rise.

Some policies include cover ‘up to a reasonable amount’, but not many do. So, think carefully about the level of cover that you might require.

What are the exceptions?

Some policies have a several of exceptions within their cover. It is difficult to provide a definitive list of these exceptions, but here are some of the common ones to look out for:

Water damage must have occurred: Some policies state that to be eligible for Trace and Access cover that water damage must have occurred. The vast majority of water leaks cause damage to homes, from small scale hidden damp to severe structural damage. Should you make a Trace and Access claim, make sure that your Trace and Access company provides a full report detailing all damage as this can be invaluable to your claim.

The leak must be within your home: It has been known that some policies will stipulate that any water leak must be within your home and not outside in areas such as gardens and driveways. Such leaks can still cause damage to your home, as water can obviously spread into your home.

Roofs, windows and doors: There are some policies which will insist on the water leak coming directly from a closed water or heating system (or appliance). Leaks from roofs, windows, doors and other points may not be covered. Roof leaks can be common, particularly amongst slightly older properties, so again it is best to assess the cover you need.

What you probably won’t be covered for

In most cases Trace and Access cover won’t actually cover the cost to repair the water leak or the damage caused. Unless explicitly stated, the costs of the former may have to be covered by yourself. The latter would usually be covered by separate ‘Escape of Water’ cover within your policy.

But don’t forget…

Although choosing the right insurance policy is important, it is also equally important to act quickly if you suspect a water leak. The amount of damage can quickly escalate, and water leaks only ever get worse, not better! If an insurance claim is to be successful, then you will need to demonstrate to your insurer that you acted quickly to remedy any problem.