Trace and access cover explained

Posted: 27th Dec 2016

buidler-carrying-hatImagine the scene – since it’s probably not at all unusual: your tenant has reported a damp patch on the wall and it seems to be spreading. Being a responsible landlord, you send round a tradesman to investigate. It is then only a few minutes after he has arrived that he telephones to say that there is a leak of water from a burst pipe but asks whether you are prepared to pay for the work involved in tracing and gaining the necessary access to fix the leak.

Your landlord insurance might cover the bill for any damage or loss caused by the leak. But the – potentially expensive – work involved in tracing it and then gaining access to repair the leak might not be covered by your insurance policy. It is a shortfall which may catch out many home and let property insurance policy holders – as cases referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service make clear.

Even so, you have little option but to go ahead and conduct the necessary trace and access, since just the smallest of leaks can end up causing major damage to your let property if left unrepaired.

Trace and access insurance at Cover4LetProperty

Here at Cover4LetProperty, many of the let property insurance policies we arrange include trace and access cover as standard.

This gives you the reassurance and peace of mind in knowing that when a tenant reports a leak, your insurance not only covers the loss and damage caused by the leak and repairs to the offending pipe or pipes, but also covers the cost of tracing and gaining access to the site of the problem.

It is a potentially expensive business, since trace and access might involve stripping wallpaper, digging out plasterwork or taking up floorboards to make the necessary repairs and stop the leak.

What’s involved?

An illustration of the amount of work which might be involved in tracing and gaining access to a leaking pipe is given by property management company Oakleafe Ltd, when describing the extent of the technology and equipment that might be employed:

  • instruments of various kinds used to measure the moisture in a wall or other surface where the leak is suspected;
  • infrared cameras – which might be used to detect leaks under a solid floor by measuring deviations in temperature, and helping to limit the area of flooring that might need to be excavated;
  • endoscopic surveys – using techniques developed by surgeons in the field of medicine, endoscopy involves making just a small hole near to the site of the suspected leak and inserting an endoscopic camera to take photographs or even videos;
  • ultrasound detection – another technique borrowed from medical science is the use of high frequency sound waves to build a picture of possible ruptures to pipes or leaks; and
  • air pressure testing – by the use of carefully controlled air pressure equipment, engineers are able to detect any fall in pressure over a particular part of a water or central heating system and home in on that section of pipework to make the necessary repairs.

Repairing a burst pipe and making good any loss or damage it might have caused is only part of the problem. You are likely to be glad of trace and access cover that pays for the potentially expensive and complicated investigation of the problem in the first place.

Of course, with all things, terms and conditions do apply – as an example, if there is no actual damage to the property caused by an escape of water, then you may not be able to claim for the repairs of sourcing the leak.

If you require clarification on any aspect of your landlord insurance cover, please feel free to contact us.