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In the context of a water damage insurance claim related to UK properties, water is often categorised into different types based on its source and level of contamination.

These categories, commonly referred to as “clean water,” “grey water,” and “black water,” determine the severity of the damage and the potential health risks associated with them. It’s helpful to report the water type to your insurance company when making a claim.

To make a successful water leak or flood insurance claim, visit ClaimRite.

Clean Water (Category 1):


Clean water originates from sources that are not considered contaminated. This water typically comes from a burst pipe, water supply line, or rainwater.


Repair of the home for clean water damage usually involves drying out affected areas, fixing the source of the leak, and replacing damaged materials such as drywall, carpets, or flooring.

Standard disinfection and drying procedures are sufficient in most cases.

Health Risks

Clean water poses the lowest health risk as it is not contaminated with harmful substances or pathogens. However, if left untreated, the water leak can lead to mould growth, which can cause health issues over time.

Grey Water (Category 2):


Grey water contains a certain level of contaminants and comes from sources such as dishwashers, washing machines, or sink drains.


Repair of the home for grey water damage involves not only drying out affected areas but also cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and materials that have been exposed to the water.

This may include removing and replacing porous materials like carpet padding and upholstery that cannot be effectively cleaned.

Health Risks

Grey water may contain chemicals, microorganisms, or other contaminants that can cause discomfort or illness if exposed or ingested. Immediate clean-up is necessary to mitigate health risks and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

Black Water (Category 3):


Black water is highly contaminated and poses significant health risks. It comes from sources such as sewage backups, flooding from rivers or streams, or water containing faeces.

It is worth noting that a grey water leak can be considered as black water if left untreated for over 24 hours.


Repair of the home for black water damage is extensive and often involves complete removal and replacement of heavily affected materials, including drywall, insulation, carpets, and furniture.

Specialized cleaning and disinfection processes are essential to ensure the property is safe and sanitary.

Health Risks

Black water carries dangerous pathogens, bacteria, and toxins that can cause severe illnesses and infections if not properly handled and removed.

Exposure to black water without proper protection can lead to gastrointestinal issues, skin infections, and respiratory problems.

Health Risks If Not Properly Removed:

Mould Growth

If not properly removed, all categories of water leak damage can lead to mould growth. Mould can exacerbate respiratory issues, allergies, and other health problems.

Bacterial and Viral Infections

Improper removal of contaminated fluids, especially black water, can lead to serious infections due to exposure to harmful pathogens.

Structural Damage

If left untreated, water can cause extensive damage, leading to structural deterioration, compromising the integrity of the property and posing safety risks to occupants.

Making A Successful Water Leak or Flood Insurance Claim

Proper and timely removal of damage, especially when dealing with grey or black water, is crucial to prevent health risks and extensive property damage. It’s imperative to engage professional restoration services to handle water damage of higher contamination levels to ensure thorough clean-up and restoration while minimising health hazards.

Are You Covered By Home Insurance?

Most home insurance companies cover water claims for ‘escape of water’ damage. This is when fluid leaks from pipes, domestic appliances, water supply tank, or central heating system. If you experience escape of water from any of these sources, act quickly to contact your insurance company or loss assessor to make a successful water leak insurance claim. You are more likely to have success in the insurance claims process if you did everything you could to minimise further damage from the water leak.

Your Home Insurance Claim

Get in touch with your insurance provider or Claimrite as soon as possible to start your water leak insurance claim. Provide evidence of the water leak, in the form of photos and a log of events. Unless the leak stemmed from poor maintenance of the property, you are likely to get the water leak damage covered by your home insurance policy, including any repair work to the home.

Dealing with your insurance company when making house insurance claims can be stressful. It’s important to understand the details of your house insurance policy documents, provide a detailed account of the water leak damage, and act quickly to coordinate restoration work.

Alternatively, you can contact a loss assessor like ClaimRite to handle the process and manage your insurance claims with the insurance company.

If you would like to speak to an expert about this or any other aspect of your home insurance claim, call our free Property Claim Helpline on 0800 002 5819, for a no obligation consultation.


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