If your home or business has suffered from storm damage and you need emergency roof repairs done, contact our office immediately to report your insurance claim.
Lo Call 1890 929 555.
We will ensure you get your maximum payout entitlement under the terms of your policy. Lo Call 1890 929 555.
After a long wet summer the article below in the Sunday Independent forecasting a “Hard cold winter” and possibly “One of the coldest winters on record” may not bring welcome news, but there is a well known and wise proverb that says “Forewarned is forearmed”.
By acting in a timely manner, on good advice risks to life and property can be greatly reduced if not avoided completely, and the lives of our loved ones along with our homes can be better protected and safeguarded.
We cannot avoid completely unfortunate occurrences and accidental damage caused directly or indirectly by extremes of climate and weather, varying from storms, floods, lightning, fire, sub zero temperatures, burst and leaking pipes, the list is endless.
What we can do is, firstly take action to reduce our exposure to risk, and then take out a suitable form of property or home insurance.
Make sure your insurance is valid and fit for purpose
Property insurance is a specialist and very complex area, different insurers have different policies, conditions and exclusions. Get the best advice available from a broker or other insurance professional. If you currently have insurance do not assume it is ok, get it re-evaluated and assessed in terms of your actual requirements.
Unfortunately we at Claims Assist are often contacted by property owners who only realise after a claim related incident occurs, that although they may have been paying insurance premiums for years, their insurers then advise them that their claim is declined or substantially reduced due to their policy conditions.
The unfair interpretation of the policy and conditions by insurers and their adjusters is a major headache for both homeowners and commercial property owners. These policy conditions, their interpretation, and often unfair applications give insurers tremendous scope for declining and reducing many property claims. The Law Reform Commission has recognised this situation and has recommended legislation to correct this problem.
Risk reduction and loss and damage prevention tips
Fire, chimney, stove and boiler installations – Fire when it gets out of control can be most destructive but remember smoke and carbon monoxide gases are silent killers. Ensure you have fire, smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors and alarms properly fitted, tested and maintained in good working order.
Ensure your fire, chimney, stove, boiler installation is properly installed, maintained, cleaned and serviced regularly by competent professionals and in line with current standards and regulations. Open fires and stove flues and chimneys should be cleaned twice a year and invoices retained as proof of same if required by insurers. The chimney stack, capping, chimney pots, cowls and lead flashing should be regularly inspected both internally and externally and any defects, cracks or soot staining be noted and investigated and repaired.
Electrical installation – One might think that the main risk here is from electrocution, whilst this is a real risk, our experience is that the greatest risk posed by the electrical installation is one of serious fire damage (possibly leading to personal injury or death).
For example in our file of current claims we are dealing with a Dublin City Centre business premisessubstantially damaged by fire from an electrical fault in a shop counter fridge unit.
In Athlone a pair of semi detached houses were totally destroyed by fire caused by an electrical fault between a table lamp and an electric socket.
In Ballina last week a fault in the electric lead from an electric blanket caused substantial damage to the home of a family of five, their lives were only saved by the efficient working of the smoke detectors installed.
Some insurers will refuse to accept liability if the property does not have a current certificate of compliance for the electrical installation. Get further advice from Electric Ireland or your registered electrical contractor. Remember it is now illegal to use and Electrical Contractor who is not registered.
Heating and plumbing installation – The installation should be checked by the owners or their plumbers as part of a regular maintenance schedule. Any minor leaks or damp patches should be investigated and repaired. Preventive maintenance is the most cost effective and best value of any property maintenance regime. A simple occurrence such as occasional discharging overflow pipe from the attic water storage tank could be a symptom of a more serious problem or defect about to get much worse if left unattended.
The entire installation including pipes, lagging, tanks and equipment should be reviewed in terms of current best practice guidelines and regulations relating to thermal insulation, low temperatures and frost protection.
Building & weather proofing generally – Common sense and good building maintenance practice and procedures dictate that preventative maintenance should be carried out on a regular scheduled basis. Maintenance inspections should include roofing, flashings, facias, soffits, barges, gutters, down pipes, cappings, parapets, doors, windows, glazing and all other elements necessary for the upkeep and protection of the integrity of the building. Remember any damage caused by wear and tear, lack of maintenance or any gradually occurring cause is specifically excluded from cover under your policy and even if you have an apparent valid claim the foregoing exclusions could be used by insurers as an excuse to reject or reduce your claim.
Health & Safety – After severe winter weather two years ago caused extensive roof and water damage, the tenant of a rented house in County Clare fell off a single storey flat roof extension and suffered serious and permanent injuries whilst carrying out emergency repairs. We urge all our readers not to take any chances with either their own health and safety or that of others. We believe all specialist work should be left to the specialists who can do it properly and safely. We wish to highlight the role of the Health & Safety Authority of Ireland in promoting and enhancing the health and safety of the Irish population. The HSA is a most valuable resource providing advice and knowledge across a wide spectrum of every day life, for example relating to fire preventation, first aid, hazards, slips, trips, falls, manual handling, education and a host of industry and risk specific activities. We cite “children on farms” a series of videos helping to prevent accidents and injuries to children engaged in family farm activities as a particularly fine example of their work.
Consumer protection and unfair treatment of consumers and small firms – Unfair treatment by insurers as noted by the Law Reform Commission Report is a fact of life that unfortunately will be with us for some time to come pending the formulation of new legislation. However the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission Consumer Help Website provides valuable information and assistance to consumers obviously within the limitations of current legislation.