Escape of water was the primary cause of insured loss for property investors between 2004 and 2006, a new report has found.
Zurich's Property Investors Unit has put together a list of the most common settled claims in this three-year period and it seems that water damage is very much the chief concern for most of Britain's landlords.
Settled claims as a result of water damage cost an average of £1,760 in this period, largely as a result of leaking domestic appliances, dodgy radiators and burst or leaking pipes. Indeed, more than two-fifths (43 per cent) of all settled claims in the last three years have come as a result of water damage, prompting Zurich to offer the following advice to current and prospective property investors.
Get involved Landlords have been advised to take a personal interest in the maintenance of rivers, streams and culverts. The local authorities should be on top of such concerns, but the active involvement of a local investor can only help.
Heat up It is crucial that areas containing water pipes are heated sufficiently. Burst pipes as a result of frost or ice are a common problem for landlords in the UK, especially as we enter the winter months.
Protect stock Vulnerable stock should be kept at a reasonable distance from the floor and should never be kept below valley gutters.
While escape of water is clearly the primary concern, accidental damage has also presented a major problem, accounting for 14 per cent of all settled claims. Malicious damage, meanwhile, has been the cause of 11 per cent of all settled claims since 2004.
Storms and fires are also listed among the areas worthy of consideration, but Zurich stresses that water damage is the area most likely to present a problem.
Richard Elliott from Zurich has also warned property investors that insurance is not a simple solution to the problem as businesses still have to face the annoyances associated with the business interruption. A successful investor should always back up a solid insurance policy with a preventative approach to potential damage.
Investor landlords should take out buildings cover and contents cover, protecting the property itself and the items within it respectively.