The Autostopcock® - What it is and how can it benefit you?

A major water leak within your property could occur at any time and for a number of reasons. Whether it is due to faulty pipe or fittings, the age of the system, vermin or burst pipes due to freezing weather conditions, the damage caused can leave a home without heating or hot water and the experience can be extremely stressful and costly.

Figures released by insurance business Legal & General reveals that household insurance claims from damage caused by the escape of water in UK homes cost the insurance industry £730 million in 2010. This is nearly double the cost of burglary claims over the same period, which amounted to £370 million. It is, in fact, more than fire and theft combined! The risk of a major water leak increases significantly during the freezing conditions in the winter months and Legal & General’s figures reveal a dramatic increase in claims for damage from frozen pipes, up from 1.3% of overall claims in 2009 to 6.5% in 2010 and some of these claims were for damage that was more than £10,000.

Legal & General has calculated that the increase in 'escape of water' claims currently adds £54 on average to every household insurance premium in the UK. The firm suggests, if the industry could work together to cut the number of claims by half, this could potentially result in a saving in claims costs of £365 million a year. This cost saving could then be reflected in customers’ house insurance premiums in the future.

As a homeowner you may well have contents insurance, however, in many cases this will not cover flood damage due to a burst pipe – and if it does you will have a large excess to pay and may not be able to replace some of the precious water damaged items. Due to severe winters in recent years, some insurers terms and conditions have changed leaving many property owners un-insured for this damage in many instances.

Flooding due to escape of water effects 1 in 8 homes. A burst pipe or failed fitting can occur at any time, regardless of how well your house is maintained and is not only a consequence of freezing weather conditions. Did you know that over 24 tonnes of water escapes per day if you have a burst pipe and over £1 billion of damage is caused each year due to escape of water.

Homeowners in the UK are being offered an electric stopcock which takes the strain out of turning the mains water on / off and also prevents major flood damage in the event that your pipes burst while you are not at home. Autostopcock® is an automatic stopcock that prevents and stops water leaks from burst or freezing pipes, guarding against flood damage 24 hours a day.

The Autostopcock® comes in two versions allowing this unique technology to be enjoyed by any homeowner and offering the following unique features:- A remote switch can be located as far from the stopcock valve as required enabling the dweller to turn off the mains water at the flick of a switch and with ease (useful for elderly people or where your existing stop tap is inaccessible or hard to get to or even seized / hard to turn).

The Autostopcock® will monitor the ambient temperature and will turn off the mains water if it drops below 3 degrees centigrade inside and there is a risk of freezing (heating failure or power cut).

The Autostopcock® will turn off the mains water in the event of excess water flow (e.g. ruptured pipe or fitting).

The Autostopcock® will turn off the mains water in the event of no water flow for a pre-set period as the property would be deemed vacant, which is statistically when greatest damage will occur because no-one is home to notice or take action.

The Autostopcock® valve is WRAS approved and also satisfies the 'Lifetime Homes' standard - criteria 16.

The Autostopcock® parameters can be tailored to the homeowner’s requirements.

The Autostopcock® is battery operated and works even during a power cut, so your property is protected around the clock.

The Autostopcock® helps to conserve water through reduction in water loss.

A number of insurance companies are now going to be promoting the Autostopcock® valve to their customers as a way of reducing the risk of their property experiencing water damage from burst pipes or fittings. This will have the effect of stopping damage occurring in the first place, reducing the number of claims made, reducing the claim amounts and maybe even reducing premiums in the future.

In short, this product is going to save you time, money and upheaval and give you peace of mind when your property is vacant. Whether you are a homeowner, landlord, second-homeowner, holiday-homeowner or own a business premises, take action now to protect your property from major water damage.