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Homeowners warned on insurance overpayment

HOUSEHOLDERS have been warned to make sure they are not overpaying for insurance after a new survey showed a fall in premiums.

The good news of the price drop came days after Central Statistics Office research showed that up to 700,000 households are struggling to pay bills and keep on top of debts.

Now a survey of the home insurance market has revealed reductions in premiums across the board.

Experts at Insuremyhouse.ie, a new entrant in the market, said premiums were down on average 15pc. This means premiums have come down by as much as €40 in the past year.

Insuremyhouse.ie managing director Jonathan Hehir said the reductions in premiums were largest outside Dublin.

He compared premiums being sought now with those in a report by the National Consumer Agency last year.

"What we found will certainly be welcomed as good news for consumers. Not only have premiums fallen but, on average, they have fallen by as much as 10pc to 15pc," he said.

A three-bed terraced house in Co Cork with a rebuild value of €130,000, and contents valued at €40,000, now costs €245 to insure, €38 cheaper than last year.

Mr Hehir advised homeowners that they can get a discount for having an alarm or a monitored alarm systems.

"If you have one of these, be sure to enquire as to whether any discounts should apply," he said.


Mr Hehir said that increasing the excesses on a policy will cut the cost of your premium.

He also advised householders to check policy "add-ons" – extras like accidental damage are often costly and not always necessary.

"There's little point in specifying valuable items such as iPads and bicycles if you opted for a higher excess, say €500," he said.

Recent figures from the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland found that the cost of rebuilding a property has now plunged by one quarter since the start of the economic crisis.

This means thousands of householders may be paying too much for insurance.

It now costs €127,000 to rebuild a typical family home in Waterford, down from €156,000 in 2008.

In Dublin, the cost of rebuilding a three-bed, semi-detached house has fallen to €168,000, down from €209,000.

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