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Insurers braced for £650m claims

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The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has warned that damage caused by burst pipes could cost the UK more than £650 million this winter.

According to the ABI, payouts to homeowners and businesses last winter reached £644 million following damage caused by water escaped from burst pipes.

And insurers expect this year to be even worse.

The financial services trade association is advising people that although home insurance policies cover for the damage caused by burst pipes, certain measures can be taken to reduce the risks.

It is urging people to ensure that their loft water pipes and water tanks are insulated, and their property is as warm as possible, in order to protect their property in case of water leaks.

Nick Starling, director of general insurance and health, ABI, said: "Freezing winter weather may have arrived early this year, but insurers are ready to deal with the misery and disruption it can cause.

"As well as offering advice on how to keep your home safe this winter, insurers are poised to come to the aid of homeowners and businesses that have to face the often considerable damage that a burst pipe can cause."

© Press Association 2010