Tips to avoid water damage at home while you’re on holiday

By  AAMI

We all hope to never come home to water damage from a leak or a burst pipe. However, a recent survey revealed that water damage incidents account for almost a quarter of all home insurance claims in Australia.1

Before going away on your next trip, check out the following tips that could help reduce the risk of water damage and keep your home nice and dry. And make sure your home insurance is up to date in case unexpected damage does occur.

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Tips to avoid water leaks inside the home

Turn off water at the mains

If you know you’ll be away from home for more than a few days, consider turning off the main water supply before you leave.

It may not be practical to turn off water at the mains if you live in an apartment, in which case you may be able to turn off the stop taps connected to your appliances.

You might also want to review your hot water system requirements prior to your departure. If the system needs a low level of water to keep it running, then you might want to safely turn it off too.

Check your flexi hoses

Flexi hoses are notorious for causing water leaks due to wear and tear or improper installation. These hoses generally have a rubber inner tube wrapped in metal braiding that connect appliances, sinks and toilets to your water mains.

Inspect them regularly and consult a licensed plumber if you're unsure when they’re due for a replacement.

Regularly review the condition of your plumbing

Check all tap fittings and visible pipes, especially those under sinks. If you see any signs of water leakage or hear hissing noises, contact a licensed plumber immediately.

Look for signs of water damage and mould

Inspect your walls, floors and ceilings for leakage, which can be indicated by brown spots or rusty stains. Check behind your fridge, inside cupboards in your laundry and under your sink for dampness. If you identify any signs of black mould spores, consider calling in a professional to remove it.

Check your water meter

You could try using your water meter to detect leaks in your home. Simply turn off all taps and water-using fixtures, including dishwashers and washing machines. Then, record the numbers on the meter, wait at least one hour, and check again. If the numbers have changed, you may have a leak.

Clean your air conditioner filter

Dirty filters can block airflow, causing ice to form and subsequently melt, leading to leaks. Clean your split system air conditioners in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Check your home and contents insurance is up to date

Although you may take every precaution against leaks, sometimes unexpected damage can still occur. Having suitable home and contents insurance may help you repair or replace items affected by water damage if covered under your policy.

AAMI Home and Contents Insurance can provide cover for damage caused by escape of liquid, as well as flood and storm damage.*

And for small home emergencies, our optional AAMI Home Assist Cover can, for an additional cost, provide an emergency assistance callout from a plumber if needed – you’ll just have to wait 24 hours after adding the option to a new or existing policy. Limits, conditions and exclusions apply – read the PDS and the AAMI Home Assist Terms and Conditions.

And remember, proactive maintenance of your appliances and plumbing can help to prevent water damage. We also don't cover wear, tear and gradual deterioration or loss or damage as a result of a gradual process of liquid leaking, splashing, dripping or overflowing. Read the PDS for details of what we do and don’t cover.*

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The importance of regular maintenance

General wear, tear or deterioration isn’t covered by an AAMI Home Building Insurance policy, so getting on top of these issues before they become bigger problems can save you a lot of money and stress in the long run.

This also goes for loss or damage caused to, or by, a leaking shower floor, base, cubicle walls, or shower glass, which is excluded under an AAMI Home Building Insurance policy.

For more detail on what is and isn’t covered by AAMI Home Building Insurance, refer to the PDS.

Tips to help avoid water leaks from outside the home

Roof maintenance

Overgrown moss, debris, and fallen branches can damage your roof and cause leaks over time. Consider hiring a professional to inspect and maintain your roof, including if it’s covered in wet leaves or moss.

Clean your gutters

Water can build up and damage your roof or foundations if your gutters or downpipes are blocked. Regularly removing leaves and other debris from your gutters can allow water to run more freely.

Maintain trees and shrubs

Overgrown roots from trees and shrubs can enter into your pipes, which can cause blockages and breakages. Try not to plant near utility pipes and consider getting a plumber to check if existing plants pose a risk.

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* Actions or movements of the sea and storm surge are not covered (unless the storm surge damage occurs at the same time as damage caused by storm). Other exclusions apply. We do not insure you for bushfire, storm or flood in the first 72 hours of your policy. Very limited exceptions apply. Refer to the PDS for details.

Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 trading as AAMI. Any advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. Read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before you make any decision regarding this product. The Target Market Determination is also available.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.