Thursday 14 November 2019

'A storm warning just leaves you terrified'

Aideen Sheehan

EVERY time there's a storm warning Deirdre Billane worries about what's going to happen to her family home.

It's over a year since she was forced out of her cottage in Ballsbridge, Dublin, by floods, and like thousands of homeowners around the country she's now living with the fear of a re-occurrence.

Repairing the extensive damage, including replacing floors and redoing walls of the entire ground floor, took two months.

But her insurer paid up and the family was happy to move back in just in time for last Christmas.

However, when the time came to renew her insurance policy this year, Deirdre was horrified to find it had leapt from €650 a year to €1,500.

And that massive hike was despite the fact that it now categorically excluded all flood and storm damage.

Deirdre got on to the Insurance Ombudsman and to local politicians and succeeded in negotiating the premium down to €1,100, but there was no budging on the exclusion of flood or storm damage.

Other insurers she contacted refused to even quote her because of the previous flood claim.

"It means you're listening to the weather forecast all the time wondering when the next storm is going to come. There was a storm warning a couple of weeks ago and it just leaves you terrified," she said.

Deirdre said the flood cover exclusion made it impossible to even contemplate selling the property as a buyer would not get insurance to satisfy mortgage requirements.

Flood defence works along her stretch of the Dodder have been approved by the Office of Public Works, but they're still awaiting planning permission.

Like all her affected neighbours, she is hopeful these works will eventually sort out the insurance problem.

Irish Independent

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