Home insurance hikes to hit

HOUSEHOLDERS in Cork county are facing some of the biggest hikes in home insurance premiums in the country this year.

Consumers have been urged to shop around for better deals, and to check the small print in their policies for changes to excesses as insurance companies try to limit their exposure.

The advice follows the publication yesterday of a survey which shows that home insurance premiums across the country are set to rise by an average of about 20% this year after a year of record payouts.

The big freeze last winter, following similar conditions in January 2010 and severe flooding in November 2009, have resulted in insurance payouts of some €765 million — more than twice the total cost of all-weather events combined in the previous 10 years.

It resulted in a 34% average increase in premiums last year, and a predicted 20% hike this year.

The Sunday Times/Chill Insurance survey shows that householders in Dublin are facing a 38% increase this year, while Limerick householders will be paying up to 26% more.

But householders in Cork county fared the worst and are facing a 41% increase, with the city’s householders facing a 28% hike.

The surge in Cork premiums has been blamed on flooding and subsidence issues relating to the severe weather last winter.

The recession has also had an effect because people who a few years ago would have had the money to cover any damage are now turning to insurance firms for help.

Spokeswoman for Chill Insurance, Jo Fernandez, said the survey shows that there are considerable differences between insurers for the same properties so consumers should shop around to get the best deal.

“Premiums are increasing year-on-year and the likelihood is that they will increase again next year so consumers should consider all options,” she said.

Chill is an Irish company that provides immediate quotes from up to 14 different insurers. For this survey, it compared quotes from a range of insurance providers for a specific type of property. Its survey is the only publicly available cross-industry table.


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