Wednesday 17 March 2021, Dublin: The outbreak of Covid-19 has driven a 4.5% increase in home insurance claims. This is according to Aviva Insurance Ireland DAC (Aviva), who today released claims data which reveal the company recorded an increase in both the volume and cost of settling home insurance claims in 2020. Preliminary data shows the gross incurred cost of these claims may have increased by 20%.
Water damage was found to be the number 1 cause of claims – accounting for 37% of all claims, an increase of 14% on 2019. Aviva says that, with people spending more time in their homes, there is increased pressure on heating and water systems, resulting in a higher frequency of water leaks causing damage in homes. Fire claims to family homes also rose by almost 10%, and regular storms throughout the year resulted in a dramatic 48% increase in the number of storm related claims to private properties in 2020.
The increase in water damage claims is actually a trend we are seeing year on year as more modern homes come with additional bathroom, en-suite and toilet facilities, all of which increase the potential for such incidents. Poor workmanship and the use of inadequate materials in certain instances have also contributed to the frequency of water leaks in the home. This appears to be a particular factor in some homes built during the Celtic Tiger boom period in the mid 2000’s. Undoubtedly however, the fact that more people are staying in their homes due to the pandemic is a major driver of the higher volume of claimsDavid Lyons, Senior Claims Manager
Highlights from the Aviva Home Insurance Claims Report 2020 include:
- The most common type of water claim received was due to leaks from en-suite facilities
- Some 38% of water damage claims received in 2020 originated in the en-suite bathroom, 34% arose from issues with domestic water pipes and 17% from central heating pipes.
- Preliminary data shows the gross incurred cost of water damage claims has risen by 20%.
- Claims arising from water damage varied from minor damage as a result of burst pipes, leaking radiators or blocked drains, to very significant damage to homes caused by overflowing water storage tanks in the attic space, and everything in between.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has seen our customers and their families spending significantly more time at home as they are working, attending college, and being home schooled remotely. This, and the closure of sports and gym facilities due to level 5 lockdowns, has led to an increase in the use of water and heating facilities in homes, which has put additional pressure on those systems.David Lyons, Senior Claims Manager
While the impact of water damage in the home can be very distressing for the homeowners, particularly when valuable or much-loved possessions are destroyed, Aviva was notified of some slightly unusual claims from home insurance customers in 2020:
- A customer placed the contents of an ashtray in a bin under the sink. The contents were not fully extinguished and ignited the bin which melted a water pipe above it. Thankfully, the water from the pipe extinguished the blaze which avoided what could have been a very significant fire claim.
- A family Sunday roast was abruptly interrupted when a ceiling collapsed onto the dining table just as they were all ready to tuck in. A leak in the bathroom above not only destroyed the bathroom and the ceiling but the dining table and the roast dinner whilst giving all the family a big fright. They did see the funny side of it eventually!
- Toddlers are notorious for turning on taps for no reason whatsoever and walking away. Unfortunately, these actions are sometimes not discovered until water is found pouring through ceilings, downstairs etc with the potential for significant damage done to the home. One toddler did this on more than one occasion! Ouch!