Saturday 19 October 2019

Householders warned to take action to prepare for arrival of Storm Lorenzo

File picture of stormy weather (Tim Ireland/PA)
File picture of stormy weather (Tim Ireland/PA)
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

HOUSEHOLDERS have been warned to take action to prepare for the arrival of Storm Lorenzo.

And it has emerged that hundreds of people who allowed their insurance cover to lapse have been frantically contacting their insurers and brokers to renew their policies.

Insurance brokers cautioned all consumers to ensure their home and motor insurance cover is up to date with the threat posed by the incoming storm.

Insurers and brokers have reported a surge in people contacting them after allowing their insurance cover to lapse.

Managing director of InsureMyHouse.ie Jonathan Hehir said: "This week we have received a higher number of calls than usual from homeowners who have let their cover lapse – most only for a matter of weeks – and who now want to ensure they are covered in the event of storm damage.

"This is a risky approach for anyone to take as the Irish weather has never been more changeable and lots of people could well be caught out if they don’t renew on or before their renewal date."

He said it is an unfortunate reality that every year homes in Ireland are destroyed by flooding, high winds, burst pipes etc. and it causes a lot of devastation for the homeowners affected.

Consumers were warned to be mindful of the risks posed by trees and other objects from strong winds.

Buildings and contents insurance usually covers damage caused by flooding. Damage to cars is typically covered by comprehensive insurance policies, Brokers Ireland said.

Director of general insurance at Brokers Ireland Cathie Shannon said people who do suffer damage should contact their broker or insurer as soon as possible.

Consumers were also advised to record any damage caused on camera or video recorder.

Ms Shannon said people should not begin any work without the approval of their insurance company.

But, if they must, they should record the damage before making any adjustments.

"If possible, don’t throw anything out before it is seen by an assessor. At the very least, photograph all before disposal," she said.

Mr Hehir of InsureMyHouse.ie. called on householders to prepare and protect their properties to limit any damage.

He said people should check external walls and windows to ensure they are adequately water resistant.

There are various different products, sealants and varnishes available to waterproof any areas of concern.

In the event of a flood warning in your area, it might be worth investing in sandbags and/or flood barriers to protect your property, particularly if you live in a flood risk area, Mr Hehir said.

During more risky periods keep personal and expensive items as high above ground level as possible, and ensure you know where water, gas and electricity mains are, should you need to turn them off or on at any stage, he added.

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