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Slow water leak damage

Slow water leak damage not covered under all risks policy an FOS Case Study reported.


The Complainant noticed a stain had appeared on her lounge ceiling resulting from a slow water leak. The Complainant called a plumber to come out and take a look at the slow water leak damage. The plumber found that the waste pipe from the shower room above the lounge had a small hole in it causing the slow water leak damage. Over time, leaking water had built up to soak through the lounge ceiling and caused the stain to appear. The Complainant registered the claim under her home insurance policy as a slow water leak.

The Complainant had an all risks policy which covered damage, unless it was caused by a policy exclusion. One of the exclusions was for damage caused gradually. The Insurer declined the claim on the basis that the damage was caused gradually by a slow water leak. But the Complainant wasn’t happy with the decision and made a complaint under the insurance claim for a slow water leak.


The FOS checked the evidence from both sides and were happy that the damage was caused from an escape of water from a pipe. This is something that most standard household policies would cover.

The Complainant had taken photographs of the ceiling on the same day she made the claim. The FOS thought that these photos showed that the stain was relatively new. It hadn’t spread far and there were no signs of mould or darker, significant staining to suggest that it was there for a long time.

The shower pipe was underneath the floor so the FOS didn’t think the Complainant could have been aware of the slow water leak until the stain appeared on the ceiling below the shower.

The FOS agreed that the damage had been caused gradually and that meant the Insurers decision to decline the claim was consistent with the policy wording.

The FOS didn’t think it was fair for the Insurer to decline the Complainants claim as it was damage that’s usually covered by standard policies. The Complainant couldn’t have know the damage was happening, and reported the damage to the Insurer fairly soon after she noticed it.

The FOS upheld this complaint.