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Thousands 'paying too much' for home cover

HOMEOWNERS can look forward to cheaper house insurance, experts have said.

New figures have found that the cost of rebuilding a property has now plunged by one-quarter since the start of the economic crisis. This means that thousands of homes may be paying too much for insurance.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland says rebuilding costs have now stabilised after years of falls.

Chairman Andrew Nugent said homeowners should make sure they were not overpaying for home insurance.

Across the country, the reinstatement cost of a house has fallen by 24pc since 2008.

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.

"Homeowners should check to ensure the rebuilding costs are adequate and in line with current figures. By doing so, they could avoid overpaying on premiums," Mr Nugent said.

But it was also important not to have the rebuild value of the home set too low, as insurers would not meet the full cost of reinstating the house if it is destroyed in a fire. The society has issued a guide and a calculator for working out the rebuilding costs of different properties at www.scsi.ie.

Householders should check out the calculator to make sure they do not over or under-insure their home. Mr Nugent said the members of management companies for apartment blocks should also study these figures to make sure they are not overpaying their insurance, as should business owners, be they shopkeepers, pub owners or operate from offices or warehouses.

Dropped

The most recent figures from the Central Statistics Office show that home insurance premiums fell by 4.3pc last year.

Research commissioned by broker SmartQuotes.ie has found that 7pc of households dropped home insurance in the past year to save money.

The Irish Brokers' Association said that although rebuilding costs have come down by about a quarter in the last few years, the same cannot be said about insurance premiums.

This meant homeowners need to review their sums insured both on buildings and contents every year.

Irish Independent