HOME insurance premiums are set to spiral in storm-battered areas amid warnings from industry experts that claims for the damage caused could reach as high as €225m.
As the country counts the cost of the continuing atrocious weather, householders are being warned that they can expect a hike in their premiums.
And they are being advised to use independent assessors to survey the damage and negotiate with insurance companies.
Diarmuid Kelly, chief executive of the Professional Insurance Brokers Association (PIBA), told the Irish Independent: "There was an expectation prior to the storm that premiums were going up anyway" but added that the bad weather "is likely to provoke that to happen sooner".
Mr Kelly said premiums had been expected to rise in the wake of financial turmoil at the largest player in the market RSA Insurance Ireland. It was bailed out by its UK-based parent company to the tune of more than €150m before Christmas.
Mr Kelly said there is a "double-risk" for consumers -- firstly that "premiums might be hiked" and secondly that homeowners in affected areas "could be declined cover".
"I would be disappointed to see insurers put exclusions in place."