Aviva Insurance Ireland DAC has seen home insurance claims rise by 4.5% in the past year, recording an increase in both the volume and cost of settling these claims in 2020, with the gross incurred cost of these claims increasing by 20%.
According to the insurer, with people spending more time in their homes, there is increased pressure on heating and water systems, resulting in a higher frequency of water leaks causing damage in homes.
Water damage was found to be the number one cause of claims, accounting for 37% of all claims, an increase of 14% against 2019.
Some 38% of water damage claims received in 2020 originated in the en-suite bathroom, while 34% arose from issues with domestic water pipes and 17% from central heating pipes.
Claims arising from water damage varied from minor damage as a result of burst pipes, leaking radiators or blocked drains, to “very significant” damage to homes caused by overflowing water storage tanks in the attic space.
Meanwhile, fire claims to family homes also rose by almost 10%, and regular storms throughout the year resulted in a dramatic 48% increase in the number of storm related claims to private properties in 2020.
Commenting on the data David Lyons, senior claims manager at Aviva said: “The increase in water damage claims is actually a trend we are seeing year on year as more modern homes come with additional bathroom, en-suite and toilet facilities, all of which increase the potential for such incidents.
“Poor workmanship and the use of inadequate materials in certain instances have also contributed to the frequency of water leaks in the home. Undoubtedly however, the fact that more people are staying in their homes due to the pandemic is a major driver of the higher volume of claims.”
He added: “The outbreak of Covid-19 has seen our customers and their families spending significantly more time at home as they are working, attending college, and being home schooled remotely.
“This, and the closure of sports and gym facilities due to lockdowns, has led to an increase in the use of water and heating facilities in homes, which has put additional pressure on those systems.”