Insurance claims soar 80% as winter weather bites

Home insurance flood claims increased by up to 80% in the first three months of this year compared with the corresponding period in 2013 and the same could happen in the New Year, experts warn.

With long-range weather forecasts predicting a cold and wet winter, many homes and businesses face being impacted by frost and floods unless they take remedial action.

According to some recent reports, Ireland is set for its coldest winter in years, particularly in December and January.

Advising property owners, Brian McNelis of the Irish Brokers Association said: “Unfortunately, the last few years have left home and business owners reeling in the wake of extreme weather conditions with flood claims in particular increasing by over 80% in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the previous year.

“Homeowners and insurance companies have had to fork out anything from €45m to €50m for reparations during last winter.

“While much of the damage done on these properties may have been unavoidable, some claims might possibly have been avoided if people were aware of the necessary steps to take to protect homes.”

Advising taking action now, Mr McNelis added: “Homeowners should act now to safeguard against the damage that can be caused by freezing pipes. The risk of expensive, disruptive and upsetting damage can be minimised by households taking a few simple steps to protect their homes.

“Our advice would be to make sure that water pipes and water tanks in the attic are insulated with good quality lagging; find out where the stopcock that turns off the water is located and make sure it works. If a pipe does burst turn off the water at the stopcock, switch off central heating and any other water heating installations and open all taps to drain the system, and contact your insurance broker for help and advice on how to make a claim and have the necessary repairs carried out.”


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