MANY anxious householders are frightened of making small claims in the wake of Storm Darwin – fearing they could be stripped of their cover for good.
Even before Storm Darwin struck, insurers were already facing claims of more than €50m from the storms and floods of December and January.
Two more major storms have already struck in February, which could more than double the cost of claims.
Industry expert David Hughes of getcover.ie said: "In the last few weeks we have received many calls from homeowners wanting to know whether they would be better off incurring the cost of some small home repairs in order to hold on to their flood cover and their current premium rate."
He admitted that depending on the area of flooding or the severity and frequency of the claim, customers could lose their flood cover.
People can lose flood cover for a number of reasons – primarily making several flood claims over a few years, he said.
He said it was unlikely that an insurer would remove cover if the client was flooded only once.
However, he warned: "If a customer is living in an area where large-scale flooding occurs the insurer can decide to withdraw cover in the area, in general, even though the customer has not made a claim."
But Mr Hughes said it was more likely that the insurer would increase their premium rates significantly in that area or simply stop accepting new business.