As if utility bills aren’t high enough, water companies are encouraging us to buy largely unnecessary pipe insurance. But do they have their customers’ best interests in mind?
Hands up how many of you got a letter from your water company extolling the virtues of water pipe insurance? I bet plenty of you received a letter advocating Homeserve’s pipe cover.
But did you realise that your water company may already offer an assistance scheme that will partly or totally cover the costs of fixing any supply pipe leaks? Probably not, because many companies don’t flag these schemes up anywhere as much as they do the insurance option.
Is money an incentive?
So, why do they do this? It doesn’t take a cynic to conclude that the water companies are making something out of their tie-up with the pipe insurers. They also know that people who buy this kind of cover are more likely to claim on it than seek help from them when something does go wrong – ultimately saving the water supplier a costly bill.
In fact, out of the 12 water companies we looked at, 10 of them were found to be pushing water pipe insurance products. Only Dŵr Cymru and Northern Ireland water avoided pushing sales.
What makes this set up even worse is that there’s a fair chance that homeowners will have some form of supply pipe protection included in their buildings insurance. And let’s face it, who likes insurance so much that they’re willing to pay for it twice?
I’m not saying that water pipe insurance is a waste of money – I’m sure it has its uses – such as cover for your supply pipes if they’re not included on your home insurance, or if your water company doesn’t offer an adequate assistance scheme. But in many cases, I suspect it’s just an unnecessary outlay.
Just give us the water
The key issue is that the water companies should stick to doing their core job – supplying water – rather than acting as agents for specialist insurers and peddling cover we could probably do without.
Do you have specialist water pipe insurance? Do you think it’s a waste of money, or has it come to the rescue before?