Dripping pipe

With winter fast approaching and snow having already shown its’ face over much of the country, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) is reminding property owners not to get caught out by the misery of frozen and burst pipes.

The cost and inconvenience caused by a burst pipe can be considerable. Just a small rupture can release gallons of water damaging plaster, carpets and other contents. And if that isn’t bad enough, ABI data shows that during a spell of freezing weather, a claim to repair a burst pipe can rise to around £7,500.

To reduce the risk of frozen pipes this winter, the ABI recommends:

  • Keep your heating on at regular intervals and make sure to set it on a timer if you are going away.
  • Make sure that water pipes and water tanks in the loft are insulated with good quality lagging. DIY stores and www.energysavingtrust.org.uk can provide some useful advice.
  • Know where your stopcock that turns off the incoming water supply is, and test that it works. It is usually found under the kitchen sink. If you cannot locate it, ask a neighbour or seek advice from a plumber.
  • Repair any dripping taps. This will help prevent water from freezing.


If your pipes do freeze and burst, the ABI advises:

  • If your pipes freeze, turn water off at the main stopcock straight away and then wait for it to warm up, or you can try and thaw the pipes with a hot water bottle.
  • Move any possessions, such as furniture or clothing which are near frozen pipes in case the pipes burst.
  • If a pipe bursts, turn off the water at the stopcock. Switch off central heating and any other water heating installations. Open all taps to drain the system.
  • Contact your insurance company helpline for help and advice, including arranging for professional repairs to be carried out.


Laura Hughes, ABI’s Senior Policy Adviser, General Insurance said: “Every year the wintry weather catches people out. While we cannot control the weather, we can ensure we are ready for it. Taking just a few simple steps now and knowing what to do if the worst happens can protect your home and help reduce the misery of frozen and burst pipes this winter”

For more information on preparing for cold weather visit the ABI website hints and tips page