The Irish insurance industry became all too familiar with Frost Damage claims following “the Big Freeze of 2010” when temperatures reached an incredible -17.5 degrees Celsius.
The level of damage inflicted was incredible with houses and businesses effectively flooded from the attic down. Since that year, most insurance companies have applied stricter policy conditions on unoccupied properties, typically requiring that water and power must be turned off at the mains.
It is also common for commercial policies to feature policyholder obligations around leak prevention.
Under the terms of a typical insurance policy, a key difference between a frost damage claim and a leak claim is that the cost of the plumbing repair is usually compensated in a frost damage claim.
A leak claim will typically only compensate for damaged caused by the leaking water. The leaking water is not typically deemed to have caused the damage to the pipe from which it escaped.
Hence, cost of pipe repair is excluded in a water leak claim. Exceptions to this can arise, such as leakage from gun barrel piping.
Frost damage claims typically result in the bursting of plumbing pipes (due to the expansion effect of the freezing process) which would typically be flowing “full bore”.
Once the frost thaws the out-flow of water is typically immediate and substantial. The damage caused by frost damage claims is typically severe.
Due to the stricter conditions typically applied to frost damage insurance, it is vital for insurance claimants to be professionally represented in arguing policy interpretation.