Homeowners advise to take precautions before Ireland’s alphabet of storms begin

Experts outline steps to take in advance of Storm Diana’s arrival

As Storm Diana rolls in, Insuremyhouse.ie are warning homeowners around the country to take two crucial steps to ensure they are protected

  1. Ensure home insurance policies are in date
  2. Take necessary action to protect homes from adverse weather

The experts at www.insuremyhouse.ie say that homes across the country have taken a battering in the last 12 months from notable weather events like Storm Ophelia and the Beast from the East, and that while there has been some reprieve during the heat of Summer 2018, homeowners should not become complacent in advance of stormy weather returning.

Jonathan Hehir, Managing Director of www.insuremyhouse.ie advised,

“The Irish are no strangers to bad weather – particularly in the last few years. But we have found that people forget the extreme weather cycles very quickly and that each year people fail to take the necessary precautions to protect their homes and their pockets from wet, windy and icy weather.

Last year once the first of the really bad storms hit Irish homes, we received a deluge of calls from worried homeowners who had let their insurance policies lapse and who were trying, in haste, to get cover before Mother Nature struck again.”

Insuremyhouse.ie report that experience from this time last year corroborated something that they “already knew”, which is that there are very likely thousands of homeowners throughout the country who let their home insurance cover lapse at renewal date.

Mr. Hehir continued,

“In the main, people keep their home insurance up to date, but we would guestimate that there are about 10% who don’t. And the majority of these people would only allow a gap in cover of about 3 – 4 weeks, but this is more than enough time for a claim to arise – and for these people to find themselves without any financial protection to fall back on.

For some people it’s really just an “oops I didn’t realise” situation, and for others it’s an “I don’t have the funds” issue. If it’s the latter, we would advise that people consider using a direct debit option for payment. We’ve also found that if people go without cover inadvertently and subsequently realise their error, they are sometimes likely to just continue as is without cover – and put the renewal on the long finger.

Insuremyhouse.ie have issued their “Protect Your Home” guidelines for Irish homes this Winter.

Protecting Homes from Sub-zero Temperatures

  • Make sure that water pipes and water tanks in the attic are insulated with good quality lagging.
  • Turn on taps regularly to make sure there’s a period of water flow through them
  • If you’re going out for an extended period of time put your heating on a timer if possible – or perhaps ask a friend our neighbour to turn the heating on for an hour.
  • Know where the stopcock that turns off the water is located and make sure it works.
  • If a pipe bursts 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,
  • Check the Exterior Walls of Your Home for Holes: Even small holes where cable wires or phone lines enter your home can be an entry point for freezing air. Purchase a tube of foam insulation and close them up. Then, use weather stripping to remedy any cracks around your doors.
  • Keep Your Gutters Clean: Full gutters increase your chance of having ice form on your roof, and that’s not something you want to mess with! Set aside some time to clean your gutters out before the freezing temperatures get here.
  • If you have outdoor plumbing fixtures you should also tend to these to ensure they don’t freeze – drain outdoor taps and shut off water to these if possible, disconnect garden hoses. If you can it might be worthwhile insulating the outside tap pipes with towels.

Protecting Your Home from Storms

  • Ensure your external walls and windows are adequately water resistant – there are various products and sealants and varnishes available to do this
  • If there are immediate floods warnings for your area, then it might be worth using sandbags and wrapping to protect your property
  • If you live in a flood risk area during more risky periods keep personal and expensive items as high above ground level as possible
  • Secure any items that could be moved during the storm
  • Ensure you know where water, gas and electricity mains are – should you need to turn them off or on at any stage

Claims

Mr. Hehir advised,

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer any property damage in the wake of this storm or others then ensure you contact your insurer immediately to initiate the claims process”.

Some other guidelines for those affected include:

  • If necessary, arrange for emergency repairs to be carried out to stop any damage getting worse.
  • Where possible keep evidence of damaged goods and/or receipt everything that you replace. Photographic evidence is useful
  • If you need to move out of your home while you are being repaired, then alert your insurance provider of this

Mr. Hehir concluded,

“We’re not trying to scaremonger – we just want to share some helpful tips that, if taken on board, could end up protecting homes around the country and saving people both financial headaches and heartaches along the way”.

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