Oil spill insurance | OFTEC consumer advice

Will your oil tank leak be covered by your insurance

Did you know that each year in the UK, around 3,000 oil spill pollution incidents occur which are reported to the environmental regulators? Many of these incidents could be prevented by taking simple steps, such as ensuring that oil tank systems are installed and checked on a regular basis by OFTEC oil technicians, and that any defects or faulty equipment identified are dealt with promptly.

It is not unusual for a domestic oil spill to result in a clean-up bill of more than £20,000. Costs can quickly escalate if surface or groundwater is affected. Most domestic oil tanks have a capacity of at least 1,000 litres and even a small leak can cause a serious pollution problem.

So what would you do if this happened to you?

Most home insurance will cover the costs of replacing the lost oil and any damage caused to the fabric of your home following an oil spill from a domestic oil heating system, but NOT the environmental investigation and clean-up costs you could face if your own land, or the surface or groundwater within it, is polluted. Additionally, if the oil spill pollutes neighbouring land, water or property, the third-party liability cover provided by a home insurance policy often contains restrictions.

How to establish if you are properly covered by your insurance

If you have an oil tank at home, we recommend that you check with your insurers what cover you have for cleaning up an oil leak or spill. Pollution and contamination incidents can sometimes be excluded completely but are more commonly included with a financial limit and cover restrictions, such as the damage being caused by a sudden and identifiable incident, rather than a gradual leak or as a result of wear and tear or lack of maintenance.

Questions to ask your insurers

To help, Oil Spill Insurance Services has compiled a list of questions that you can send to your home insurers to clarify the cover and restrictions of your own policy. Visit Oil Spill Insurance Services to download the letter.


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