Expert advice on the best way to make an insurance claim following flooding, and how best to maximise your energy efficiency.
Q. I was badly affected by the recent flooding and my shop premises is completely ruined. I live in the flat above which now has rising damp as a result. Do I claim under my commercial or house insurance or both? I own the entire building.
Sinead says: The flooding certainly caused hundreds of thousands of euro worth of damage and many businesses and homes are suffering. Brian McNelis of the Irish Brokers' Association says that providing you own both the business premises and the flat and have separate insurance policies for each, you are covered in both locations.
"In reality you can claim under either policy but in this case it would be more common for you to claim under your Commercial policy. This advice is on the basis that your policy includes flood cover – which may not always be the case depending on where you are in the country."
Retain all damaged goods and dig out receipts if you have them. Your policy may include relocation expenses and cover for clothing/food damage, so check that. I'd add that you may be in danger of having your flood cover removed at renewal or excessed heavily unless this is a once-off event. You may need to start looking around for cover before that date.
Best of luck with the salvage operation.
Q. We live in a reasonably modern house. We now want to plan for the long term and make our house energy efficient while being comfortable. Are there qualified/experienced people who can do an energy audit and advise?
A. It's a good idea to periodically review your energy efficiency and there are lots of ways you can cut down on heating/lighting bills. I'd start with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI.ie). Their site provides tons of tips on warmer homes and insulation along with grants, available to everyone, to assist with upgrading lofts, boilers and cavity insulation.
The next step is to have a Building Energy Rating (BER) assessor do a full assessment of your home and give you a baseline BER performance. When choosing an assessor, make sure that they are prepared and willing to give you the extra assistance to work through the advisory report which accompanies the BER cert. This may cost a little more but it is well worth it in the long run.
From their survey of your home they can best recommend precisely what works are appropriate and which ones to prioritise to save you the most money and to give some indication of the impact on your BER. They should also be able to guide you on the possible costs of the works.
Costs for an assessor vary so it's best to shop around.
See www.berassoc.ie for a listing of approved assessors.
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