1. Home
  2. Home insurance
  3. Home insurance guides
  4. Trace and access cover explained

Trace and access cover explained

Confused.com C icon
Our expert panel reviews all content. Learn more about our editorial standards and how we operate.

The average claim for escape of water on a building insurance policy is £9,344*.

Luckily, trace and access insurance covers the cost of finding the source of a leak and making sure it can be accessed for repairs. It’s also included in your buildings insurance policy. 

This type of cover is usually included as standard, and can be useful as some leaks are hard to detect. 

We explain trace and access insurance and what exactly it covers.

Big leak on ceiling of a home

Trace and access covers:

  • The cost of finding the source of a leak in your home
  • Making the area around the leak accessible so it can be repaired
  • Any repairs needed to fix the damage that’s been caused by the search

Trace and access doesn’t cover:

  • Repairing the leak. It’s only for finding the source of the leak and making it accessible for repair.
  • Any water coming in from the outside. It only covers the escape of water from a burst pipe, for example.

The cost of repairing pipes should be covered under your buildings insurance policy.

Yes - trace and access cover is usually part of your buildings insurance policy. But always check to see if you’ve got it as every policy varies.

The actual amount you're insured for varies, but policies tend cover up to £5,000.

Whenever you buy or renew your home insurance, look at the policy wording to see whether trace and access is included and how much you're covered for.

If your insurance policy doesn’t include it, it's likely that you're responsible for paying the full cost of any investigations that are required when you have a leak.

Yes, most buildings insurance policies cover underground pipes if they’re on your private land. This includes:

  • Pipes
  • Drains
  • Cables
  • Tanks

Your home insurance covers you for the underground pipes you’re legally responsible for. So anything owned by a water company or your neighbours isn't covered.

Also, you might not be covered if:

  • The damage isn’t accidental
  • The pipes degrade due to usual wear and tear

There are 3 steps you need to take to make a trace and access insurance claim:

  • Contact your insurers early and tell them about the leak. You should do this before you get any work done. This is important because some might prefer you to use a specialist trace and access company.
  • The insurer sends the company who should expose the leak, making sure it’s accessible. After this they should produce a report for your insurer.
     
  • You give the report to your provider who then reimburses you for the costs.

Once the leak has been traced, you can speak to your insurer about getting it repaired through your buildings insurance policy.

There are a few reasons why your insurer may refuse your trace and access claim:

  • There's no water damage. Although rare, if no water damage is found then it's hard to determine whether there was a leak at all.
  • Escape of water vs ingress of water. Trace and access covers things like a burst pipe where water has escaped, but it doesn't cover water coming in from the outside (ingress).
  • Investigations found that a water leak isn't the problem. You aren't covered if they find that the source of your problems is not from a water leak, and so no insurable event has taken place.

Yes, with all water damage you can claim on your buildings insurance policy to fix the pipes or wherever the leak was coming from. That’s as long as your home was in a good state of repair before the leak and you have the right level of cover.

Your policy covers damage to the home’s structure too. For example, if the water damages your ceiling, your buildings insurance policy should cover that.

And any damage to your belongings, like your TV or sofa should be covered under your contents insurance policy.

For more information, read our guide to making a home insurance claim.

The first signs of a water leak could be:

  • A damp patch on a wall or floor that indicates water is leaking somewhere
  • A sagging ceiling
  • Rusty pipes
  • Mould

If you suspect you have a leak you should call your home insurer. They might prefer to supply you with an approved plumber or engineer to carry out any work.

The tradesperson should be able to:

  • Assess the problem
  • Look for the source of the leak
  • Advise on any work that needs to be carried out

If you need to remove a floor or sink to get at the pipes, your insurance company might pay only for things that are deemed necessary.

For example, let’s say you have a sink removed in your kitchen, but the tradesperson also took out some kitchen cupboards.

Your insurance company might not pay for the cost of having new cupboards put back in.

Compare home insurance quotes

*Confused.com data. August 2022 - July 2023. Buildings, contents and combined home insurance policies.

Share this article

Home insurance guides