We all cringe at the size of our utility bills, and it seems that the providers are always seeking ways to part us from our hard earned cash. No surprise then that most of the UK's biggest water companies are promoting potentially unnecessary insurance costing consumers more than £100 million a year, a watchdog has claimed.
'Which?' found that ten out of the biggest twelve companies were promoting "expensive" supply pipe insurance with their own free pipe repair scheme – which customers are automatically entitled to use. Millions of customers will have bought insurance they do not need and will never claim on, the consumer group has stated. Researchers found that nine out of the twelve big companies promoted a leading insurer's products through direct mail promotions. Whilst references to the water companies' free pipe repair scheme were included in some of these letters, their benefits were definitely played down.
'Which?' stated that 667,000 homes in the Anglian, Southern and United Utilities areas are covered by a well known third-party water pipe insurance provider. At £35 a year, customers in these three regions alone spend more than £23 million on pipe insurance: add in customers from other areas and the total spend is more likely to be more than £100 million!
Some of the companies also promoted third-party insurance on their own headed paper, which further added to the persuasion that people needed to buy this insurance. The watchdog also commented that none of the letters it had read made mention of the fact that home insurance policies may cover water supply disruptions – many of the leading providers cover burst supply pipe claims to varying degrees.
Most worryingly, many of the water companies' websites encourage their customers to first call a plumber in the event of a leak – which in fact could invalidate a claim under their home insurance as many insurers specify they must be contacted before any repairs are made. This is a huge minefield for potential problems.
The watchdog is calling for water companies to use the same free repair scheme so that it is clear to consumers exactly what they are covered for. They also want the Government and Ofwat to take action to stop water companies from confusing consumers by promoting third-party pipe insurance under their own banner. Until this happens, people will continue to receive information on third-party insurers regarding pipe cover – and many will continue to buy.
The advice offered is to check your home insurance. Look at the cover offered for water disruption and damage and make sure that you are happy that the cover is adequate for you. Without a crystal ball, you can't tell what my happen, but you can make an educated guess, based on industry knowledge. Talk to a professional and reliable insurance company – Westhill Insurance Services offer competitive insurance for all eventualities. As an independent company, they will take care to shop around on your behalf to find the most competitive quote to meet exactly your needs. Their friendly and approachable team will take the time to make sure they understand what you need –and they can advise on the situation regarding pipes and your home insurance: you will get an honest overview which will allow you to make a decision as to whether you need pipe insurance.
Money is hard to come by these days and you really don't want to throw it down the drain (even if it is via a pipe!) so talk to the experts, Westhill Insurance Services, and make sure you don't let your money soak away.
Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.