LONDON, December 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
The soaring cost of energy bills is being blamed for the 1.6 million homes at greater risk of winter flooding caused by a burst pipe as people choose not to heat their homes while they are away at Christmas.
A poll of 3,000 people carried out for the insurer Allianz Your Cover found that 15% of Brits will be going away over the festive period. 40% of those going away said they are planning to leave their homes completely unheated while the property is vacant. It is estimated that there are 26 million households in Britain and therefore Allianz Your Cover calculates that 1.6 million unoccupied homes are even more likely to suffer significant water damage if a pipe bursts, should a cold snap hit Britain as it did last year.
December 2010 was the coldest December in 100 years, with snow falling in most areas of the UK and temperatures struggling to get above freezing during the day.
When people were asked why they were not planning to heat their homes while they were away this Christmas, 69% said spiralling energy costs were to blame.
The survey also revealed that most people do not have an accurate idea of how much damage escape of water can cause in their homes, with 79% underestimating the average cost of a burst pipe which Allianz Your Cover calculates to be approximately £3,500.
Andy James from Allianz Your Cover, comments: "It is understandable that people will be tempted to cut back on heating their homes but it could have pretty disastrous consequences if there's a cold snap.
"In the current economic climate, it's no surprise that energy bills are a major concern for households. But, damage from a burst pipe can be devastating - especially if it happens when the house is unoccupied, sometimes ruining irreplaceable items such as photographs or documents."
He adds: "We urge all households to take steps to help prevent a burst pipe in their homes over the Christmas holiday period. As a minimum for those going away over Christmas, we recommend asking a friend or relative to visit your home while you are away to make sure things are OK."
For those planning to switch their heating on while they are away this year, Allianz Your Cover home insurance recommends the following preventative measures:
- Setting the central heating at the minimum temperature to keep things ticking over while you are away can make all the difference - the house doesn't have to be kept at the same temperature as normal
- Leave the loft hatch door open to allow warmer air to circulate
For those people not planning on leaving the heating on, other measures include:
- Insulate exposed pipes in the attic and wrap tanks with good quality lagging to help stop them freezing
- Drain the heating and water systems
- Repair dripping taps and faulty ball valves
If you do return home to a burst pipe:
- Immediately turn off the stopcock to prevent further flooding
- Turn on all the cold taps in your home and flush the toilet a few times to reduce flooding and pressure on the system
- Block any escaping water with a towel and use buckets to catch drips
- Call your insurer's 24 hour helpline or a plumber as quickly as possible
Notes to Editors:
1. Allianz Insurance is one of the largest general insurers in the UK and part of the Allianz SE Group, the largest property and casualty insurer worldwide. Reassuringly in these uncertain financial times, in July 2011 the Standard and Poor's rating for Allianz Insurance was reaffirmed as AA- with a stable outlook and the rating of Allianz SE was also reaffirmed as AA with a stable outlook.
2. Allianz Retail provides a wide range of personal lines products distributed through brokers, retailers, affinity partners, veterinary practices and direct marketing. For more information please visit to http://www.allianzretail.co.uk.
3. Your Cover quotes are available online at http://www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk.
SOURCE Allianz Insurance plc