Here’s How To Protect Your Home Against Gale-Force Winds

In Ireland, we don’t need to protect our homes from hurricane-level weather events… hopefully we haven’t just jinxed it. However, it does get very windy. A lot of insurance claims arise from damage to properties caused by unusually blustery conditions. So, it’s best to be prepared if you know a storm is on the way.

There are many precautions you can take from securing valuables to shoring up your building’s structure and taking care of surrounding trees. In this article, we’ll answer questions like:

  • How can I protect my home from strong winds?
  • What do I need to do before a big storm?
  • Wind damaged my house. Can I claim on my home insurance?

Gale force winds and home insurance

Buildings insurance policies will usually cover financial loss caused by storm damage. Insurers generally say storms would involve violent winds, usually accompanied by rain, hail or snow. However, in some cases, you may have hail or snowfall without winds, or strong winds that cause damage all by themselves. Almost any extreme bad weather can potentially damage a property.

If an insurer rejects a claim, it could be because of a dispute over what actually constitutes a ‘storm’, or whether the damage was actually caused by a storm. This is why it’s important to do everything you can to protect your home, and not rely on your insurance too much. But if your insurer thinks you haven’t taken proper precautions, your claim may be denied.

Insurers look at data from the Met Office and other sources to determine if a storm indeed happened when you say so, and if it was strong enough to inflict the damage wrought. If a storm happened ‘some time in the past’, that isn’t persuasive.

Check your perimeter

Forecast says a storm is on its way? Before it hits, take a walk around your property and check off any potential risks.

Most of these will be found in your garden, or on adjacent property. Take a look at broken fences which may cave in, any shaky branches on nearby trees, or loose roof shingles. Schedule to have these things fixed before the wind picks up. If the storm is predicted to be huge, consider cutting down or moving any big trees. The cost of doing so will be a lot cheaper than repairing a roof or car that has been crushed.

Cover up doors and windows

Consider investing in lined curtains with weights sewn into the hems if gale force winds batter your home on a regular basis. They fit over your doors and windows and keep out draughts nicely.

In extreme cases, windows can burst open if they are hit by strong gusts of wind. Shutters prevent that from happening. They also ramp up your home’s security, and give you peace of mind against would-be intruders who use the storm as an opportunity.

Anchor away

If the weatherman forecasts wind, it’s a good time to tie anything and everything that moves to the ground. Secure all outdoor furniture, preferably by storing it in a shed or garage. If that isn’t possible, tie it securely to your house or something else that’s solid. Similarly, tie down your shed. Aluminium sheds – and even some wooden ones – which are only resting on concrete bases may fly off if winds pick up enough.

Barbecues, sporting equipment, and lightweight ornaments all need to be stored away. Similarly, bamboo canes might become javelins if they are uprooted, so make sure you secure your plants. Consider the cost of replacing your plants if the wind crushes or uproots them. If you couldn’t bear it if you lose them, cover them or bring them indoors.

Repair your roof

If you have a hole in your roof or a few loose tiles, now is the time to get those sorted. Strong winds can damage your shingles, making homes more vulnerable to rain and leaks. Your insurance will cover you for water damage that has arisen because of a storm, but it’s best to avoid it.

In worst case scenarios, wind can remove entire roof panels or create larger holes. As a result, the wind enters your home and might cause your belongings to fall and smash, or damage your pipes or electrics. Therefore, get a contractor to secure your roof well before bad weather is on its way.

Above all, if you follow these simple tips, your home will withstand any weather we’re likely to see in the near future.

Have a chat with us in QuoteMe.ie with any of your questions

If you have any questions regarding what is covered and not covered in your home insurance, pick up the phone anytime and get immediate expert advice from our certified insurance agents. We have been providing home insurance in Ireland for over 30 years. We genuinely know all the angles. Call us anytime between 8.30am and 5.30pm each weekday on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get an immediate home insurance quote online through our online quote system. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurers to get you the right cover.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

How Can I Lower My Home Insurance Premium – And Would This Increase My Risk?

Lowering your home insurance premium won’t increase your risk. Generally speaking, you’ll pay less for your insurance if there’s less of a risk. So, the safer you are, the less you will pay.

Some factors that affect your premiums can’t easily be changed, like your address or building structure for example. However, there are a few things you can do to lower your premiums.

In this article, we’ll answer the following questions:

  • How can I lower my home insurance premium?
  • What factors affect the cost of home insurance?
  • Will I pay less for home insurance if I install a burglar alarm?

Your insurance broker will be able to give you good advice on lowering your premiums on the exact policy you have. Otherwise, read on to discover some things you can do for yourself.

Increase your home security

Making your home objectively safer is one of the top ways to lower your home insurance premiums.

Smoke alarms are easy to install yourself, and you can get hard-wired or battery operated models. When it comes to home alarm systems, insurance companies put those into five categories:

  • NSAI approved and connected
  • NSAI approved and not connected
  • Connected alarm
  • Unconnected alarm
  • Other

A DIY alarm system such as Nest or Hive would come under category 5. Unfortunately, no insurance company will give you a discount for this type of alarm. But they’re still worth having, as any alarm will lower your risk of being broken into. However, they won’t lower your premium.

Check your policy wording to find out what you’re covered for if your home is broken into. For example, Aviva and Zurich will pay a burglary claim if you qualify for the alarm discount and the alarm is not activated during the break-in, but this will increase your excess.

Upgrade your locks

When you install locks that meet BS3621 (with the British Standards Institution’s kite mark), this can improve your home insurance premiums. In fact, it can be a requirement for some insurers. Door and window locks approved by members of the Associated Locksmiths of Ireland or the Irish Locksmith Organisation (ILO) could also save you money.

Mortise locks and deadbolts are all good, solid locks. Don’t forget your windows, especially in easily-accessible ground floor locations. You will also want to install locks on skylights and outbuildings, especially if you are living in a high crime area.

Decrease the valuables in your home

If you store a lot of cash, antiques or other pricey knick-knacks around your home, you may want to think twice. In order to get contents cover you must tell your insurer about anything valuable on the premises. So, if you have more valuables on site, the more you’ll pay.

Consider handing over your valuables to a high-security storage facility. A safety deposit box is a secure metal container held by a bank or credit union, where you can store valuable items. They’re often kept in vaults, and can be rented over your lifetime for an annual fee.

Shop around for the right home insurance

Switching insurance, comparing quotes and making phone calls is a lot of hassle. Who wants to devote their lunch break to finding home insurance?

That’s where your broker comes in. Let them know what you’re looking for, and they can compare quotes for you. With their insider knowledge, they’ll be able to sniff out deals from lesser-known names, who might be able to provide your perfect cover.

Not only that, but it’s the insurance providers who pay the brokers’ commission. So you save money, and it won’t cost you a cent.

Increase your excess or pay annually

Your excess is the money you have to pay when you make a claim, before your insurer covers the rest of the cost. In some instances, increasing your excess can lead to your premium being reduced.

Increasing your excess makes it less attractive to make a claim. So, you’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons of doing so.

Changing the payment structure of your insurance can also help reduce your premium. Some insurers give you a discount if you pay annually. So, if you can afford to fork out a lump sum every year, it might be worth doing so. This varies between insurers.

Get in touch with your home insurance queries.

A key benefit of using the services of an insurance broker for your home insurance is that we can source and compare the market to get you the most appropriate insurance policy for your specific requirements. If you have any questions, we provide immediate expert advice from certified and trained insurance agents. Feel free to call is on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get an immediate home insurance quote online. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurers to get you the right cover.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

What are the benefits of using a home insurance broker

An insurance broker is a middleman. They can compare policies, advise you on the best cover, and save you money. They can also handle claims, so you stay stress-free. Also, they’re on hand for questions and advice, whenever you like.

In this article, we’ll answer questions like:

  • What is an insurance broker?
  • Should I get home insurance via a broker, or with my mortgage provider?
  • How can an insurance broker get me a better deal on my home insurance?

Benefits to going with a broker include saving money, taking advantage of years of experience, and fostering long-term relationships that can benefit you in future.

What is an insurance broker?

Insurance brokers are a person or company registered to act as an adviser on matters of insurance, who can arrange cover with an insurer on your behalf. They’re a middleman between you and your insurance company, who work to get you the very best deal possible.

Insurance brokers work on commission. Insurance companies pay them a percentage of your policy fee when you become a customer. But don’t worry, insurance brokers aren’t on a mission to lump you with the most expensive cover. Brokers sell all types of insurance, including car insurance and life insurance. As long-term relationships are the bread and butter of their business, brokers are more concerned with getting you the perfect cover you need. They get paid either way.

It might seem simpler and quicker to go directly to a home insurance company for a quote. In fact, many companies only offer cover when you contact them yourself, or take pride in the fact they aren’t on comparison sites. Brokers can offer you discounts and offers just like direct providers, and will ask all the relevant questions to find you the best deal. There are many benefits to using a trustworthy insurance broker to find your cover.

More choices, less money

Insurance brokers aim to find their clients the very best price for their home insurance. Taking advantage of a wealth of experience and industry knowledge, they are able to quickly and efficiently compare the entire market to find the cheapest options. You might only have a lunch break to quickly scroll a comparison site – but an insurance broker will devote hours to your case, or days, to find your perfect cover.

And as their fees are paid by the insurance company you decide to go with, going with an insurance broker won’t break your bank. However, if you want additional services down the line, this may accrue a fee.

Knowing all they do about the insurance industry, brokers also know about smaller insurance companies which may have slipped under your radar. Just because a company hasn’t got a giant marketing budget, doesn’t mean it isn’t a great option. Your broker will break down how they stack up against the big players and show you how you can save.

Tailored for you

Got a lot of valuables, an odd house or otherwise unusual circumstances? Better off going with a broker. They’ve seen it all. So, whether you have a priceless plate collection or a taste in expensive wallpaper, they’ll be able to negotiate the perfect cover.

You also won’t easily find bespoke or high-end options, so finding comparison tables for something like antique model railways are out of the question. However, a broker will know exactly where to do.

Standard home insurance policies are a great one-size-fits-all solution. But, you may not have the time or patience to explain your needs to every company. This is where your insurance broker comes in. They’ll make sure that you get the most appropriate price for your cover, so you won’t be stuck with inadequate protection.

Impartial and simple

An insurance broker has no agenda beyond finding you the perfect policy. They are fonts of bias-free advice, and half of their job involves translating insurance-speak into plain English. They’ll be happy to help, and no questions are out of the question. Rest assured, it’s a complicated business, and insurance brokers have your best interests at heart.

Besides – have you ever had to actually read a policy? You may have skimmed it, but full comprehension is a Herculean task best left to professionals who are paid to do so.

For example, NFU Mutual’s home insurance policy is a whopping 40,831 words long. If you have more cover, that’s more pages. For comparison, Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea is just over 26,600 words. George Orwell’s political satire Animal Farm is 29,966 words long. If you don’t want extra bedtime reading, an insurance broker can look over your policy for you. Furthermore, we know the nuances of the various home insurance policies off the top of our heads – without referring to the small print.

In addition, your insurance broker will also be able to handle claims. This means that when the worst happens, just one call will get things moving. After a flood or fire, this could mean a lot of stress taken off your shoulders.

Renewal made easy

Insurance brokers automatically shop around for your every year when it’s time for your policy renewal. They’ll phone you up with an alternative quotation if a lower price is available.

Since insurers started to engage in a practice called “dual pricing” over the past few years, this is a really important benefit. Dual pricing is when insurance companies offer a very competitive price to win your business, then increase the price by as much as 30% when it’s time to renew. We don’t like that, so it simply won’t be a problem when you’re a customer of QuoteMe.ie.

Talk to us in QuoteMe.ie with any of your home insurance queries.

One of the main benefits of using a broker for your home insurance is that we can answer all the questions you may have. We provide immediate professional advice from certified and trained insurance agents. Please, never hesitate to call on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get an immediate home insurance quote online with us. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurers to get you the right cover for your individual circumstances.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

These Are The Most Common Security Lapses That Lead To Break-Ins

Only one thing causes burglaries: and that’s burglars. There will always be unscrupulous individuals who feel entitled to your possessions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it.

In this article, we’ll cover the following questions:

  • What are some common causes of burglaries?
  • How can I prevent break-ins?
  • What can I do to make my home more secure?

Forewarned is forearmed, so read on to discover the most common causes of break-ins in Ireland. Once you do, you’ll be better informed on how to keep your family and home safe.

Not installing a home alarm

According to the CSO Recorded Crime Statistics in 2019, homes with a monitored burglar alarm are four times safer than those without.

A monitored home alarm is different to a standard one. It means your home security system communicates with staff employed by your security provider. If your control panel registers an emergency event, it will send a signal to the central monitoring station. They can then notify the authorities and send help out to your home.

Monitored systems come with an installation fee, as well as a monthly subscription. If a monitored alarm isn’t in your budget, there are plenty of home alarm options out there. Any of them will give you peace of mind, but you may get a discount on your home insurance with some, and not others.

Leaving spare keys outside

If you were a burglar, where’s the first place you’d check for easy entry? You don’t have to be a seasoned gangster to know there might be a spare key lurking under the mat.

In 2014, UK police figures showed more than 6,000 burglaries involving intruders using keys, as opposed to breaking and entering. A survey by LV from that year revealed that 29% of people admitted leaving a spare key on their property, despite the security risks.

If you have a spare hidden, it won’t be worth the risk as burglars know where to look. The most common places to hide a key? Under a plant pot or behind a bin, rock or stone, under the front mat, or in a garden gnome or ornament.

If you have a spare key for emergencies or so that friends and family can get into your house while you’re on holiday, consider giving it to a trusted neighbour instead.

And speaking of the outdoors, make sure there’s no ladders or tools lying around your garden. Burglars can use these for easy access. Keep tools in a shed, and lock it securely.

Leaving a window open

A 2016 crime survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics found that around 7% of burglaries occurred when a window was left open or could be pushed open.

You might think nothing of leaving the window open a crack when you leave for work, but this leaves a home vulnerable. Opportunistic thieves think nothing of scaling a trellis: career criminals may even bring equipment to make the break-in easier.

The Irish weather is notoriously unpredictable, and a hot summer may increase your risk of a break-in if you sleep better with the window open.

If you have a climbable rainwater pipe close to a window that you leave open at night, you can secure the pipe with anti-climb drainpipe covers. You should also fit window restrictors so thieves cannot open windows any wider.

Always use 5-lever mortice locks on windows for extra security. These are harder to force open.

Keeping your home in the dark

In 2019, John Lewis Home Insurance asked a group of ex-offenders for their advice on how people could prevent burglary. They revealed that keeping lights on – and switching them off – creates the illusion that someone is at home.

According to the ex-cons, the best room in the house to leave lights on when you go out for the evening or for longer is the hallway. Close all curtains, and leave a couple of other rooms lit up for extra security. If you’re away for a while, the best option is to still have multiple lights on a timer.

You can automate this security measure with smart lights, which you can control from your smartphone wherever you roam. If you prefer an analog option, consider buying timer plugs for your favourite lamps.

Letting holiday post pile up

The same research by John Lewis also found that burglars see unattended parcels left on doorsteps as a good indicator that people weren’t home. As more people order online, this is becoming a real issue.

Apps from couriers like Hermes and DPD let you reroute delivery to a neighbour if you’re running late. You can also specify a safe place for drivers to leave your parcel. Make sure you change it often to prevent savvy criminals finding out where to look.

Beware glass panelled doors, and post piling up in plain view while you’re on holiday. If you’ll be away for any length of time, simply call the post office to suspend delivery. Or, you can invest in a cheap letterbox cage to catch your bills and junk mail.

Concerned about local robberies? You can check phonewatch.ie for statistics on crime in your area.

Talk to us in QuoteMe.ie with any of your home insurance queries.

One of the main benefits of using a broker for your home insurance is that we can answer all the questions you may have. If you have any questions about how to secure your property and grounds, pick up the phone and call us.  We provide immediate professional advice from certified and trained insurance agents. Please, never hesitate to call on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get an immediate home insurance quote online with us. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurers to get you the right cover for your individual circumstances.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

What Factors Affect My Home Insurance Premium?

When it comes to home insurance, it’s often difficult to work out how they arrive at a final price. How much you pay for your premium can be affected by a number of things. From your address to your claims history, and even your lifestyle, it will all play a role in calculating your quote.

Read on to discover answers to these questions:

  • How does my insurance provider calculate my premium?
  • Why am I paying so much for home insurance?
  • What can I do to lower the cost of home insurance?

When it comes to the mathematical alchemy performed by insurance actuaries, it’s all based on one thing: risk. The factors that affect your home insurance premium are all predictors of risk, which tell your insurance company how likely you are to make a claim.

Your address

Your eircode – and sometimes, your house number – is one of the most crucial factors in your home insurance premium.

In Ireland, some streets are vulnerable to flooding. Others have large tree roots, which can cause subsidence.

And it’s not just environmental factors. Your area may be experiencing a surge in crime. In particular, car theft and burglary rates will affect your home insurance premium. Lower-income areas with high crime rates may pay more for home insurance.

However, this means it can swing either way. If you live in an affluent area, your posh eircode may be pushing up your premium. This is because insurance companies will assume you have more valuables, and may be a higher risk for burglaries.

Lifestyle

Now we’re getting personal. Your lifestyle will affect your insurance in a number of ways. For instance, have you got kids? They’re more likely to cause damage to your buildings and contents. You’ll need accidental damage cover, which normally costs extra, to cover any mishaps.

If you’re a smoker, you’re statistically more likely to cause a fire. Even your age will affect your insurance. If you’re over 50, insurers will often offer you a discount. This is because you’re more likely to be retired, not have young kids in your home on a regular basis, and potentially at home during the day. Whereas if you’re younger, and likely to be working, your house will be unoccupied for longer periods.

The value of your belongings

Maybe you don’t live in a very posh house, but that doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy collecting first edition comic books or rare aged whiskey.

The more valuable the items you own, the more likely you’re going to want to be able to replace them if they’re damaged or stolen. This means you’ll have to pay more.

Even if your collection isn’t particularly valuable, but there’s a lot of it – you have 10,000 teapots, for example – this will affect your cover. In this case, it’s best to get an insurance broker to find the cover you need.

Property structure

Do you have a thatched roof? Log cabin? Shipping container micro-home? Is it a listed building? You may need specialist buildings cover, which might not be easy to find on the high street.

Your premium will likely be affected if your structure is unusual, or very old. For example, if your home is built of wood, the risk of fire damage is greater. If you live in a unique structure, it’s less likely that any tradesman will be able to make repairs. Not only is your property likely more vulnerable to problems, it will take time and money to find the specialists needed to restore it.

Most importantly, an insurance broker will be able to find you the perfect cover to fit your needs.

Claims history

If you’ve made one or two previous claims, that’s normally okay. In short, that’s what insurance is made for.

But if you’ve got a claims history longer than your arm which reads like a catalogue of catastrophes, insurers will be suspicious. Rightly or wrongly, they’ll see you as a disaster magnet, and be very wary of insuring you.

However, if you haven’t made any recent claims, you’ll often be rewarded with a no claims discount. You should never make a claim unless it’s in your best interest to do so.

Security

Want to lower your premiums? The easiest way to do this is to increase your security. Have a certified burglar alarm installed by professionals, fit high-quality locks, and repair that wonky garage door, for instance.

Double glazing, fire alarms and smoke detectors can all affect your premium. If you’re having trouble finding insurance after a break-in or house fire, increasing your security measures may appease providers.

Size of property

Rebuilding a large property is, obviously, more expensive than a smaller one. Large houses are more likely to be very old, or very posh, and as a result this pushes up the cost of restoration even more.

Not only that, the larger your property, the more valuables you probably have within it. People tend to fill whatever space is available. This could be with furniture, antique collections, or just bits and pieces. In other words, no matter what you keep in your larger house, the more it will cost to insure.

Talk to us in QuoteMe.ie with any of your home insurance queries.

One of the main benefits of using a home insurance broker is that we are independent and can compare the market for you. If you are unsure about what is included and not included in your home insurance, pick up the phone and call us.  We provide immediate professional advice from certified and trained insurance agents. Please, never hesitate to call on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get an immediate home insurance quote online with us. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurers to get you the right cover for your individual circumstances.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

 

What’s Covered – And Excluded – Under A Home Insurance No-Claims Bonus?

Most insurance companies give you a no-claims bonus on home insurance policies. This means that if you make no claims during a year of insurance, you’ll get a discount going forward.

But the discount and the terms and conditions may vary – so it’s worth knowing what you’re getting yourself in for before you commit.

In this article, we’ll take a look at:

  • What will cause you to lose your home insurance no-claims bonus?
  • What claims don’t affect your home insurance no-claims bonus?
  • What happens to your no-claims bonus when you make a claim?

A no-claims bonus is an attractive hook for any policy, but they might not include what you expect. Make sure you have all the facts before you proceed.

What is a no-claims bonus?

Insurers want you to stay safe (anyone’s first priority), and they also don’t want to spend any money on expensive claims. So, if you don’t make a claim within your first year of a policy, a no-claims bonus is a discount that can be applied going forward to reward you for being safe.

The value of the discount varies from insurer to insurer. It generally starts at 10% to 15% for a one year no-claims bonus and increases incrementally with each additional claim-free year to a whopping 40%.

You may be familiar with a no claims discount when it comes to car insurance. But home insurance is a different matter. Car insurance no claims have some exemptions – for example, a windscreen claim may not impact on your no-claims bonus.

However, any claim you make on your home insurance policy – big or small – will reduce your no-claims bonus.

What’s covered… and what’s not?

Unlike car insurance, home insurance providers don’t distinguish between ‘fault’ and ‘no-fault’ claims when it comes to discounts. This means any claim you make will make you lose your no-claims bonus.

But, unlike car insurance, it may not affect your standing with future insurance providers.

Depending on the insurer, there may be some flexibility on small claims. But they won’t be able to ignore it if you made a big claim (€5K plus), or a claim involving water damage (flood, burst pipes) or subsidence. These are big issues and may lead to you paying a higher premium.

What happens when I make a claim?

When you make a claim, your no-claims bonus is removed. However, it may not be necessary to make a claim in the first place. Compare how much you save with your no-claims bonus to the amount you would receive for your claim. In a lot of cases, it’s worth paying out of pocket to protect your no-claims bonus, as this saves you more in the long run.

If you want to make a small claim for minor damage or theft of a low-value item, it might not even cover the cost of your excess. In this case, it would make more financial sense  to pay for the replacement or repair yourself.

But if something major has happened, you’ll be better off going ahead with the claim. You can phone your insurance provider or broker to check if making a claim is in your best interest.

Making a claim on your buildings insurance usually won’t affect your no-claims bonus on the contents insurance, and vice versa.

As always, check your policy to be sure or call your home insurance broker to double-check.

How to protect your no-claims bonus

Many home insurance providers offer no-claims protection for an extra fee. This additional cover will preserve your no-claims bonus in the event that you make a claim. By paying a bit extra, if you ever have to make a claim your no-claims bonus won’t be lost.

There’s another way to protect your no-claims discount, of course: just reduce the likelihood you’ll make a claim on your home insurance.

This can be as simple as the following:

  • Install a home alarm, window locks and security lights to keep your home secure
  • Secure loose tiles, guttering and fences, and fell dangerous trees and branches to avoid weather damage
  • Insulate your pipes and water tanks so they don’t freeze in the winter
  • Is your area prone to flooding? Stock up on sandbags to prevent water getting into your home

In short, a no-claims bonus works differently with home insurance than it does for car insurance. Any claim will remove it, so think carefully before you make that call, and ring up your provider to check if it’s worth going ahead.

Talk to us in QuoteMe.ie with any queries you have on your no claims bonus.

One of the main benefits of using a broker for your home insurance is that you can consult us with any questions you may have. If you have any questions regarding your no claims bonus please contact us and we can answer your queries directly.  We provide immediate professional advice from certified and trained insurance agents. Please, never hesitate to call on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get an immediate home insurance quote online with us. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurers to get you the right cover for your individual circumstances.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Do I Need Home Insurance With a Mortgage?

When you buy a house, most mortgage lenders will insist that you have buildings cover in place to protect their investment.

When you take out a mortgage, check the small print. It’s likely that your mortgage company has stated that you have buildings insurance in place to cover the structure of the building, as well as any permanent fixtures.

In this article, we’ll answer these questions:

  • Do I need to have home insurance when I take out a mortgage?
  • Is home insurance mandatory?
  • Do I need buildings cover if I rent my home?

Home insurance and the law

It’s not a legal requirement to have home insurance in place. However, when you buy a property, it more than likely will be a requirement that you have buildings cover in place before you can draw down your mortgage.

This is because houses are expensive investments, and bills for structural or permanent fixture damage can run to tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Euro depending on the damage caused and cost of re-instating the house to its pre-damage condition.

Paid off your mortgage? Nice one! But even if you own your home outright, it’s critical to get buildings and contents insurance. There’s no legal obligation, and no mortgage lender telling you to take out home insurance, but your home and its contents are precious. So, it’s best to have peace of mind and not risk losing everything if a disaster occurs.

Moving house

You found the perfect place – congratulations! But the time to organise home insurance should be now, not later.

You might hear that you don’t need to buy home insurance until the house purchase is completed. This is false. You’ll need it from the date contracts are exchanged. Make sure your buildings insurance is in place for your contract exchange date, because that’s when the house becomes your legal responsibility.

If this is your first house, or your first time buying home insurance, you’ll need a few things to hand to get an accurate quote, which your estate agent should be able to tell you:

  • the address
  • the year your house was built
  • building materials
  • how many smoke alarms, and any other relevant information

Insurance from your mortgage provider

When you take out your mortgage, your provider might offer you home insurance as well. It’s convenient to do so – but it might not be your smartest option. Some mortgage lenders offer home insurance from the same company, and some work with preferred partners.

Taking out home insurance and a mortgage with the same provider may seem like the most hassle-free approach.  But as a home insurance broker we always recommend shopping around for your insurance. We compare the market and will help find the insurance that meets your needs. Bear in mind that some mortgage lenders build in the cost of the home insurance into your repayments, making it difficult to actually see the cost of the house insurance.

Mortgage lenders rely on you being overwhelmed by the house buying process. Often, it’s easier to accept the lender’s home insurance quote and tick it off your list, rather than comparing prices. But shopping around is never a bad idea, so give us a call and we can help you compare quotes from multiple providers.

Switching home insurance providers

There’s nothing stopping you from moving home insurance to lower your premiums or take advantage of deals. If you said yes to your mortgage provider’s upsell on buildings and contents cover, only to find a better deal elsewhere later on, you can switch.

Switching is more painless than you might think. It really pays to thoroughly compare quotes to find the perfect policy for you. When you give us a call, we’ll be happy to walk you through the whole process.

Renting and home insurance

If you’re in rented accommodation, it’s still a good idea to get home insurance. The reason why is because “buildings and contents” cover applies to two different things, and as you do not own where you live, you’re only liable for one.

If you rent your property you’ll make payments on the lease, not a mortgage. Because you don’t own the property you’re in, you don’t need buildings cover. Your landlord is legally responsible for sorting that out.

But if you’re a tenant and your property is damaged by fire or flood, you’ll need contents cover to pay for the cost of replacing furniture or personal items.

Again, the law doesn’t require you to have contents insurance. But it could save a lot of heartache down the road.

If you are buying a house, talk to us in QuoteMe.ie with any queries relating to home insurance.

One of the main benefits of using a broker for your home insurance is that you can consult us with any questions you may have. If you have any queries regarding how best to go about sourcing home insurance when you are purchasing a property,  feel free to contact us.  We provide immediate professional advice from certified and trained insurance agents. We are here to answer your call; contact us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get an immediate home insurance quote online with us. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurers to get you the right cover for your individual circumstances.  We look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

”I Gave My Keys To Somone I Trusted And They Robbed My House’ – Am I Covered?

Bad news. Your home insurance will not cover you if you gave keys to a friend or neighbour and they steal from or damage your property.

This is because in giving them the keys, you were trusting them with your property. Legally, it’s your fault if they enter your home. However, that doesn’t make things right.

In this article, we’ll go over:

  • Am I covered by home insurance if I gave a key to the burglar?
  • What do I do after someone I trusted with a key steals from me?
  • How can I get my items back from someone who has stolen from me?

Theft is a traumatic event for the victim. In this article, we’ll help you get back on your feet from start to finish.

You are not covered if a keyholder steals from or damages your property

When you get a new home, cutting spare keys for your friends or family in case of emergency seems like a good idea. In fact, just as good an idea as giving your copy to a neighbour to keep an eye on your house when you’re on holiday. But, unfortunately, spare keys can cost a lot more than just a new set.

Beware who you let into your home. Home insurance policies usually exclude theft by family members, neighbours or ex-partners. This is because insurance companies see your connection to the guilty party and class what happened as an act of deception, not theft, which typical policies don’t cover.

What if I didn’t know they had keys?

If you’re unlucky enough to be burgled by someone who has a key, insurers may look at the case ‘favourably’ – but this is never guaranteed. Your insurer should take into account the circumstances that led to someone getting their hands on the key to your property.

For example, if you gave someone keys in the past and they cut their own set, or stole your keys to make a copy, this could work in your favour – even if it will be very hard to prove. But if you simply forgot they had keys, your home insurance won’t cover your negligence.

All this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t phone the Gardai. At the very least, keep a diary of incidents from when you notice the item has gone missing, including who you let into your house and what they said. This may aid you in legal matters later on, for instance if you wished to pursue the party for damages through a civil case.

Children and house keys

Many families entrust their kids with a spare to let themselves in after school. But teaching your little ones good practice is key – no pun intended – to your home’s security.

It’s important to have a chat with your family about responsibility and house keys. Reassure them it’s no big deal if they lose their key, but they need to tell you right away. And obviously, they need to lock the door securely every time they leave the house.

Alternatives to giving out spare keys

Here in the 21st century, there are better solutions than keeping a key under the mat or making copies for everyone who requires access.

If you have children, consider investing in a smart lock that comes with a passcode or even fingerprint identification. There’s no risk of leaving keys behind at school or work, and you can invent temporary passcodes for visitors or people working in the house.

Going on holiday? Instead of asking a neighbour, you can employ a professional service to look after your pets, plants and home. These people are covered by insurance.

And if no one needs to be in your home, don’t let them in. Make sure your alarm is activated, windows and doors secured, invest in a couple of smart lightbulbs to make your home look occupied, and ask that oh-so-trustworthy neighbour to wheel your bins to the kerb. Buy a letterbox cage to stop post piling up behind a window.

Unfortunately, just because someone lawfully gains entry to your house doesn’t mean they’re a good person. If they steal, your home insurance won’t cover you. But, you should contact the authorities in any case to create a paper trail of the matter.

Talk to the team in QuoteMe.ie with any home security and insurance queries.

One of the main benefits of using a home insurance broker for your home insurance is that you can consult us with any questions you may have. No matter how trivial you may think they are, we are here to answer your questions. We provide immediate professional advice from certified agents. So, if you have any questions regarding home security and the implications for your home insurance, please call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get an immediate home insurance quote online with us. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurers to get you the right cover for your individual circumstances.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Are Fire Brigade Call-Out Charges Covered By My Home Insurancy Policy?

If you’re in a situation where you need to call 999, the last thing on your mind is going to be insurance paperwork. But did you know that charges apply when calling the fire brigade?

All home insurance companies cover fire brigade call-out charges, but you need to check with your insurance company the costs covered as fire brigade call-out costs vary from county to county. It’s best to be aware of the facts before the worst happens.

In this article, we’ll go over:

  • What are fire brigade charges, and when do they apply?
  • Does my home insurance cover fire call-out charges?
  • What happens if I’m not covered for fire brigade call-out charges?

Of course, the best way to avoid fire brigade call-out charges is to avoid a fire on your property. But if safety measures don’t work, it’s good to know how much you’ll be covered for.

What are fire brigade call-out charges?

Local councils introduced fire brigade call-out charges at a domestic level in 2012, and they now apply to all counties. When firefighters respond to an emergency, their wages, equipment and vehicles have to be paid for. Usually, the homeowner’s insurance covers this cost.

Fire services in Ireland are managed at local authority level and each council sets their own billing structure. It’s a complicated system, and many homeowners may not realise charges apply.

To make matters worse, not all home insurance companies cover these fees in full. To know where you stand, you need to examine your policy.

How much is a typical call-out charge?

Calling the fire brigade out to your house could cost anywhere between zero to thousands of euros, depending on where you live. Fees may also change for night time, weekends and bank holiday call outs.

Councils use different criteria to calculate charges. These include cost per minute, per hour, per firefighter, per brigade or even the time of day the emergency occurs. For example, Waterford City Council does not charge at all for domestic fires (except in apartment complexes) while Mayo charges €750 per hour.

Kilkenny charges a flat rate of €70 per hour, per firefighter, and Louth charges €7.50 a minute for domestic house fires. Meanwhile, other counties like Clare calculate the total cost by adding “firefighters’ wages, employer PRSI and 60pc overhead”. For the four councils in the Dublin region, the charge is €500.

Chimney fires, road accidents and domestic fires, large and small, may all have different call-out charges. It also depends if your property is residential or commercial, or in an apartment complex. Councils normally waive call-out charges in incidents involving fatalities. Social welfare recipients and pensioners may also be exempt from paying.

Does my home insurance cover fire service call-out fees?

Yes. Your home insurance provider will include fire service call-out cover in their policies, but the maximum payout varies.

For example, Zurich, FBD and Liberty Insurance will cover fees up to 2,000 while the maximum payout from Axa will be €2,600.

A quick call to your home insurance broker will let you know how much you’re covered for in terms of fire brigade callout charges.

Should I worry about charges in an emergency?

No. As you will be covered by your home insurance policy, don’t worry about insurance in an emergency. Always phone 999 and never try to handle the situation yourself to save a bit of money.

Your home insurance policy will cover the cost of the fire brigade attending your emergency. However, as your policy will only cover you up to a certain amount, it is possible you will be billed if callout charges are steep.

If money is tight, you can work with your council to set up a monthly payment plan. So again – and we can’t stress this enough – make the call first and worry about the finances later!

Talk to us in QuoteMe.ie with any fire-brigade charges or home insurance queries.

One of the key benefits of using an insurance broker for your home insurance is that you can consult us with any questions you may have. We provide immediate professional advice from certified agents. So, if you have any queries regarding fire-brigade charges and your home insurance, please call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get a home insurance quote with us directly online. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurers to get you the right cover for your individual circumstances.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

How To Choose A Home Alarm System That’s Right For You

Monitored, smart, internal or external siren, wireless or wired – there are heaps of factors to take into account when choosing an alarm for your home.

In this article, we’ll dive into the big questions:

  • Which home alarm is best?
  • Will an alarm affect my home insurance?
  • What kind of alarm do I need?

Your personal circumstances will all influence your choice: do you live in a remote or urban area? How often are you in your property? What’s your relationship with your neighbours like?

But don’t get overwhelmed: read on to choose a system that suits you.

Alarms and home insurance

Insurance companies put home alarms into five categories:

  1. NSAI approved and connected
  2. NSAI approved and not connected
  3. Connected alarm
  4. Unconnected alarm
  5. Other

A DIY alarm system such as Nest would come under category 5. Unfortunately, no insurance company allows a discount for this type of alarm.

This doesn’t mean they’re not worth having, as any alarm will make you safer in your home. But if you’re worried about insurance claims, pick up the phone and give us a call. Whether you’re able to claim will depend on the policy you have. For example, both Aviva and Zurich will pay a burglary claim if you qualify for the alarm discount and the alarm is not activated during the break-in, but this will increase your excess.

What happens when it goes off?

Not all alarms work the same way, and only some home alarms will get you a discount on your home insurance. But before you start shopping, give some thought to what you want to happen if someone should break in:

  • Bell only. Your classic burglar alarm will make a loud noise, and nothing else. They don’t contact anyone, such as the police or your mobile phone, but they may deter invaders and alert neighbours.
  • Dialler. These alarms automatically dial your phone number, or an emergency contact such as police.
  • Smart alarms. Integrates with your smartphone via an app to alert you wherever you are when the alarm goes off.
  • Outsource security. You can also pay a security company to install an alarm, and they will take action – e.g. visit your property or call someone – when it goes off.

Make a list of must-have features

With these priorities in mind, make a shortlist of the best kinds of alarm for your situation, and weigh up the pros and cons of each. The most secure system on the market might be hard for average Joes to disarm – which keeps you safe, but might not always be practical if you come home every day from work and unload shopping.

If you live on a tightly-packed street, a loud, malfunctioning alarm will keep your house safe but might also turn you into a social pariah. A silent alarm might keep the neighbours happy.

With some smart home alarms, you can see photos of visitors, get a notification on your phone if suspicious activity is detected, and switch the alarm on and off wherever you go.

Shop with a budget in mind

Feeling safe in your own home is priceless. You can’t put a cost on the security of your sentimental possessions and loved ones, but you have to do it when buying a home alarm system.

With advances in technology, basic home alarm systems are more affordable than ever and no less effective for basic security.

Be aware that most monitored systems require a one-off payment for the equipment with a monthly payment for monitoring via a remote service. The long-term cost will be greater, but paying someone else to watch your home may give you peace of mind.

Monitoring your own home via an app is easy with systems like Nest Secure, but the up-front cost is often a little more expensive. Perhaps more importantly, response times may be slower – for instance, if you’re in the cinema with your phone on silent while an unwanted visitor comes calling.

Practise basic home safety

We would recommend everyone be as safe as possible, but not every property needs – or can accommodate – a comprehensive home alarm system. Whether you buy an alarm or not, basic home safety should always be observed.

Only give spare keys to people you trust. Never leave them undercheap fake rocks designed for the purpose,or door mats.

Lock all windows and doors when you leave your home and check hidden points of entry. These include the back of the garage or a first floor balcony, which could be accessible to a daring intruder.

When you go on holiday make sure you put lights on a timer. Ask someone to close and open your curtains, and don’t let post pile up behind the door. Get a letterbox cage, or ask to pause delivery.

Alarm systems are a fantastic way to feel safe in your property, and are no longer prohibitively expensive. Protecting your loved ones and your valuables is simple, but it’s best to shop around.

Talk to us in QuoteMe.ie with any related alarm and home insurance questions.

One of the key benefits of using an insurance broker for your home insurance is that you can consult us with any questions you have regarding your home insurance. We provide immediate professional advice from certified agents. So, if you have any queries regarding an alarm system and how it may affect your home insurance, please call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get a home insurance quote with us directly online. We compare 12 Insurers in the Irish market to get you the right cover for your individual circumstances.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.