Q The roof on my house needs some attention. It’s approximately 25 years old and has suffered wear and tear from weather damage, and we also have a few tiles missing from a neighbour’s tree that was felled last year. Would I be able to claim for the repairs on my home insurance, even partially?
A If the damage to your roof is related to it simply getting older and worn out over time, it is unlikely that your policy would cover the bill for repairs or replacement, according to Brian O’Connor of Aviva.
Typically, a home insurance policy covers storm damage. Emergency incidents or accidents may also be covered, where there has been a sudden or unexpected loss, and accidental cover applies to your policy. You would need to point to some specific event, such as a storm incident or the tree felling that you mentioned, and provide evidence that either or both has led to the roof being significantly damaged or even destroyed, Mr O’Connor said.
To support your claim, you will need evidence, such as photographs, of damage or supporting documents from a qualified professional such as a roofer to attest to the cause of damage and the cost of repairs. Where you can prove the damage was caused during a storm by wind, rain, hail, lightning, or falling debris, then your insurer should pay out.
However, the need for regular maintenance on the roof or any other part of the home would not be sufficient reason to submit a claim. This is the responsibility of the homeowner, Mr O’Connor said.
Q Myself and my business partner run an IT software company that is now doing very well. The company is paying a contribution towards our pension. However, our accountant also mentioned that we should take out an income protection policy. How would this work?
A An executive income protection policy is a very tax-efficient way for your company to ensure it can continue paying your income should an illness or injury prevent you from working, according to Siocha Costello of Aviva Life and Pensions. The company can take out an executive income protection policy for each of you and pay the premium.
The maximum benefit allowed is 75pc of your income, less the personal rate of social welfare illness benefit, if applicable. And if either of you are unable to work due to an illness or injury, the company can claim on the policy and pay you, or your partner, a monthly income after a chosen period, which is called the deferred period, Ms Costello said.
The income protection benefit removes the financial burden from the business, especially if the absence is long term. The cost of your pension contributions can also be covered under this policy, she said.
This means that your retirement provision would also be taken care of in the event of long-term absence. The premiums may qualify as a tax-deductible business expense.
If that is the case it can be offset against corporation tax, making it a very tax efficient way to insure both you and your partners’ income and pension contributions, Ms Costello said.
Q I am in the pension scheme in work but I am wondering if it is a good one, as I might consider switching jobs for a better one. I pay 5pc of my salary and my employer matches this. The employer will match any contribution I make up to 10pc of salary.
A Firstly, it’s great news that your employer offers a pension scheme for you and your colleagues. Only one third of people working in the private sector have such a benefit, according to Mark Ruddy, head of client management at Lockton Employee Benefits.
In terms of the level of contributions that your employer is willing to make, a 5pc of salary employer-matched contribution would be a very common contribution level offered, he said.
The fact that your employer is willing to match contributions up to 10pc would be above average and not commonly found, Mr Ruddy said. This is a real bonus for you and one that Mr Ruddy recommends you take them up on. If you are a high-rate taxpayer, increasing your contribution to 10pc will only cost you an extra 3pc of your take-home pay.
However, it would result in an extra 10pc being invested in your pension. You will eventually thank your younger self in later years, as that will make a huge difference to your quality of life in retirement, he said.