Monday 19 August 2019

Homeowners warned to ensure insurance policies up to date as storms strike Ireland

Home insurance (Stock)
Home insurance (Stock)

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

Homeowners have been warned to ensure their insurance policies are up to date and advised to take steps to protect their homes as storms wreak havoc across the country.

Broker InsureMyHouse.ie said many householders allow their policies to lapse.

Huge numbers of people neglected to renew their policies last year and were left exposed after Storm Ophelia and the Beast from the East.

Managing director of InsureMyHouse.ie Jonathan Hehir said: “We have found that people forget the extreme weather cycles very quickly and that each year people fail to take the necessary precautions to protect their homes and their pockets from wet, windy and icy weather.”

He said that last year after the bad storms his firm received a deluge of calls from worried homeowners who had let their insurance policies lapse and who were trying, in haste, to get cover before storms struck again.

This meant that there are likely to be thousands of homeowners who have again allowed their cover to lapse at renewal time.

Mr Hehir estimates that around 10pc of householders fail to renew their cover.

“The majority of these people would only allow a gap in cover of about three to four weeks, but this is more than enough time for a claim to arise and for these people to find themselves without any financial protection to fall backon.”

Some people forget to renew their policy, but with others a lack of funds is behind the lapse in cover.

He advised anyone who has an updated policy, and is dealing with damage to their home, to contact their insurer immediately.

“If you are unfortunate enough to suffer any property damage in the wake of this storm or others then ensure you contact your insurer immediately to initiate the claims process.”

 

Some other guidelines for those affected include:

  • If necessary, arrange for emergency repairs to be carried out to stop any damage getting worse.
  • Where possible keep evidence of damaged goods and/or receipt everything that you replace. Photographic evidence is useful.
  • If you need to move out of your home while you are being repaired, then alert your insurance provider of this.

 

Householders whose homes are at risk from story should ensure all external walls and windows are adequately water resistant. There are various products and sealants and varnishes available to do this, InsureMyHome.ie said.

Those people who live in an area where there is a warning of an immediate flood should consider using sandbags and wrapping to protect their property.

People who live in a flood risk area during more risky periods should keep personal and expensive items as high above ground level as possible.

Householders have been advised to secure any items that can be moved during a storm.

Consumers should know where water, gas and electricity mains are in case they need to turn them off or on at any stage.

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