Water firms are pushing customers to take out private insurance against burst pipes that could be totally unnecessary, it has been claimed.
Most of the biggest companies are promoting cover from insurers such as HomeServe in return for substantial commissions.
The policies, which cost around £35 a year, are sold to millions on the basis that they offer peace of mind in case of emergencies.
However, many of the same water firms offer free repair schemes for pipes running from outside the home to the boundary.
And many customers already have home insurance policies that would cover them for damage or costs associated with repairing a burst pipe inside the home.
The research from consumer watchdog Which? estimates that customers are spending £100million a year on the cover.
It is likely to fuel anger at private water firms which have recently pushed up prices well above inflation for struggling homeowners.
A Which? spokesman said: ‘Water companies pro-actively push this costly third party insurance, and our researchers found nine of the 12 big companies promoting HomeServe’s policy via direct mail promotions.