AXA home insurance is warning homeowners that Christmas could be a wash out if their pipes burst while they are away from home.
With 35 per cent of Brits set to be away from home for a few days this Christmas, AXA home insurance urges them to be wary of the fact that burst pipes could pose an even bigger financial threat than burglary.
Only 38 per cent of households will leave the heating on low while they are away to prevent their pipes from freezing, while 71 per cent will lock the windows to keep out burglars.
But last winter, AXA home insurance saw one in 1,000 homes make a claim for water damage resulting from burst pipes, with the averaging reaching the £15,000 mark.
With 20 per cent of households having no contents insurance to protect them from the financial pitfalls of burst pipes, AXA is concerned that many could be facing a very costly Christmas.
Nick Kidd, head of AXA home insurance, commented: "Our research shows that people don't really understand the importance of protecting their water systems from freezing conditions. Not only does burst pipe damage have financial implications, especially if insurance is not in place, but it can also cause huge emotional trauma from ruined personal belongings."
In addition to ensuring there is adequate home insurance in place, to avoid a big freeze this Christmas AXA urges households who are going away to leave their heating on a minimum of 12 degrees centigrade, checking the pipes' insulation, insulating their loft, leaving the doors open on the cupboards where the pipes are to allow air to circulate, and asking neighbours to keep an eye on the property.
Urging homeowners to take precautions, Ms Kidd added: "Arriving home after a Christmas break to find your home devastated by a burst pipe can be very stressful and even if you have the insurance in place to cover the cost, the sentimental value of many things we keep in the home can never be compensated."
© Fair Investment Company Ltd