”I Left The Taps On And The House Flooded’ – Am I Covered?

Caeva O'Callaghan | November 13th, 2023

Let’s get straight to the good news: yes, your home insurance will cover you if you left your taps on. Providing you did it by accident, of course.

Don’t panic, it’s happened to the best of us. Maybe you were late for work, and you ran out of the house with the bathroom tap gushing. Or, maybe you started to run a bath after a long day and fell asleep. Either way, your standard home insurance policy will cover these events.

In this article, we’ll answer questions like:

  • Am I covered if I accidentally left the tap running?
  • How much will home repairs cost after a flood?
  • How will my insurance company assess the damage after a flood?

Your home insurance will cover it

Flooding can occur as a result of bad weather, or living in close proximity to a body of water which overflows. But indoor flooding can also happen when a pipe bursts, a hole appears in your roof, or when you accidentally leave a tap on.

Home insurers consider these kinds of accidents equal, even though you might personally feel guilty. If your tap staying on and overflowing your sink or bathtub is a result of negligence on your part, you’ll be covered just like if it happened because of mechanical failure. We’re all human!

You can take out extra cover known as Accidental Damage that insures you for unintentional events such as breakages within the home or spillages that damage appliances … but don’t worry if you don’t have accidental damage cover in place. Insurance companies consider taps left running as flood damage which is a standard peril covered.

The kind of damage you can expect

Okay, so you left the taps running. Big deal… or not, depending on how long they’ve been running for. A few minutes? Your floors and possessions may be fine, and it’s possible a couple of hours with the mop will save you from having to make a claim.

But if the taps have been running for a couple of hours or more… you may have to say goodbye to your no-claims bonus.

You’ll need to make a claim on your home insurance if you need to pay for ruined flooring, bubbling paint, peeling wallpaper, cracks in the ceiling, or electrical wiring. This is on top of any dehumidifiers or other specialist equipment you may need.

Top Tip:: Think carefully before you make a claim. It may be worth paying out of your own pocket if claiming will increase your premium.

Severe cases of flooding

Things get a lot worse if you live in an apartment or flat. The property below yours may be damaged, and your landlord may have to get involved. This is when you’ll need to make a claim.

If the flood damage is very severe – for example, your bath has reinstalled itself in the kitchen – then your insurance company will send out a loss adjustor to help settle the claim. Remember that the loss adjustor is contracted by your insurance company, and will work to minimise the cost of the claim.

Top Tip: If you’re unhappy with your settlement offer, talk to us before you sign off.  We may be able to help negotiate or recommend a loss assessor to fight your corner.

After severe flood damage, if you need to clean up before anything else can happen, take plenty of photographs. Most home insurance companies exclude claims arising from gradual leaks from pipes and appliances, so any proof of what happened will work in your favour.

Remember, Home Insurance is not a maintenance contract; you have to keep your home maintained to an adequate standard. Insurance is not for wear and tear.

As with all damage claims, your policy excess will be deducted from your settlement amount.

If your neighbour left their tap on

Sometimes, it really and truly isn’t your fault. If that dark patch on the wall is getting suspiciously bigger, and you know your neighbour’s on holiday, it might be time to investigate.

If your neighbours left a tap on and your home is flooding, call the police. They can gain entry under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act on the grounds of ‘preventing serious damage to property’. Never, ever break into someone else’s property to turn their water off, even if it’s damaging your home – or even if you think “they won’t mind, they’ll be glad I took action”.

Your neighbour won’t be liable if it was an honest mistake, and their property is otherwise well cared for. In this case, you’ll need to fix the damage yourself or claim through your home insurance.

But your neighbour will be held responsible if they knew about the leak all along and did nothing to fix it. If you suspect your neighbour has a leak in their home, gather evidence and log the incidents to make sure you’re covered.

Talk to us in QuoteMe.ie with any water damage or leaking questions you have

One of the key benefits of using a home insurance broker is that you can consult us with any questions you may have.  So, if you have any queries regarding water-damage or leakage questions and whether you are covered by your home insurance, please call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get a home insurance quote with us directly online. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurers to get you the right cover for your individual circumstances.

All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.