Insurance claim denied – water supply pipe


Had a bit of trouble last week with the sound of water under the house. We called in an emergency plumber who suspected a water leak, and we authorised him to cut through the floorboards to investigate.

He cut a 40cm x 40 cm hole through the wood laminate / underlay / floorboards and discovered that the main water supply between the outside water meter and the inside stop valve was spraying water everywhere under the floor cavity. Root cause appears to be a pipe connector had worked itself loose by a half inch or so – it wasn’t the full-on mains supply emptying itself, but it was fairly substantial.

No problem, we thought, we’ll get it fixed and look at insurance to cover any repairs.

Our AXA HomeSmart insurance policy is standard house insurance _with_ trace and access but _without_ accidental damage.

AXA are denying any claim, and are refusing to even send an assessor out to have a look.

The relevant sections in the policy appear to be:

Standard house insurance:

Your policy covers the buildings for loss or damage resulting from the following causes: 2. Sudden and unexpected water leaking from or freezing in any washing machine, dishwasher, fridge, freezer or fixed domestic water, drainage or heating installation.

Accidental damage:

The following only applies if you buy accidental damage. 8. Accidental damage to cables, drain inspection covers and underground drains, pipes or tanks providing services to or from the home and for which you are responsible.

Their argument is that any cover for supply pipes are “accidental damage”, and as we do not have this option then we aren’t covered. The Trace and Access cover only appears to apply if the relevant claim is accepted.

My argument is that “fixed domestic water installation” is not defined, and that they are attempting to define the claim based on the object (the water supply pipe) rather than the action (“sudden and unexpected” vs “accidental damage”).

Anyone with any experience in water supply pipes and insurance claims?


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