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Monday 5 December 2016

Owners of Longboat Quay may now face home insurance headache

Published 11/10/2015 | 02:30

Longboat Quay in Dublin
Longboat Quay in Dublin

Owners of apartments in Longboat Quay, and other fire-trap apartment complexes, could struggle to get - or renew - home insurance in the future.

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The poor construction of such apartment blocks is "a significant [insurance] issue coming down the line", said Brian McNelis, director of general services at the Irish Brokers Association. "It will be practically impossible to get insurance for such complexes if the proper fire safety procedures are not in place," said Mr McNelis.

Without home insurance, residents in and owners of such apartments would have no cover for any loss or damage caused to the contents in their home during a fire. That includes their furniture, electrical appliances, jewellery, televisions and other valuables.

Serious fire safety deficiencies were uncovered in Longboat Quay last year - and there are concerns that there are many other apartment blocks with similar problems.

"Insurers are monitoring the situation [in relation to apartments with fire safety defects]," said Michael Horan, non-life insurance manager with the insurance lobby group, Insurance Ireland. "In general, they're carrying on home cover [for owners of such apartments] but asking what's the plan about re-mediation works. If nothing happens in terms of re-mediation, apartment owners may find it hard to renew home insurance cover."

It is typically the management company that insures the buildings in apartment complexes - that is, the cost of rebuilding an apartment block should it be destroyed by fire or other dangers. However, again, insurers are unlikely to cover buildings with fire safety deficiencies.

Since last month, Homebond has been offering an insurance product - Latent Defects Insurance - which covers newly-built homes for defects, damage and danger if proper building regulations weren't followed when the properties were built. This insurance, which would be taken out by a builder on behalf of prospective homeowner, needs to be bought at the point of construction. So unfortunately, it won't cover properties which have already been built.

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