”I Left The Taps On And The House Flooded’ – Am I Covered?

'I Left The Taps On And The House Flooded' – Am I Covered?

Let’s get straight to the good news: yes, your home insurance will cover you if you left your taps on. Providing you did it by accident, of course.

Don’t panic, it’s happened to the best of us. Maybe you were late for work, and you ran out of the house with the bathroom tap gushing. Or, maybe you started to run a bath after a long day and fell asleep. Either way, your standard home insurance policy will cover these events.

In this article, we’ll answer questions like:

  • Am I covered if I accidentally left the tap running?
  • How much will home repairs cost after a flood?
  • How will my insurance company assess the damage after a flood?

Your home insurance will cover it

Flooding can occur as a result of bad weather, or living in close proximity to a body of water which overflows. But indoor flooding can also happen when a pipe bursts, a hole appears in your roof, or when you accidentally leave a tap on.

Home insurers consider these kinds of accidents equal, even though you might personally feel guilty. If your tap staying on and overflowing your sink or bathtub is a result of negligence on your part, you’ll be covered just like if it happened because of mechanical failure. We’re all human!

You can take out extra cover known as Accidental Damage that insures you for unintentional events such as breakages within the home or spillages that damage appliances … but don’t worry if you don’t have accidental damage cover in place. Insurance companies consider taps left running as flood damage which is a standard peril covered.

The kind of damage you can expect

Okay, so you left the taps running. Big deal… or not, depending on how long they’ve been running for. A few minutes? Your floors and possessions may be fine, and it’s possible a couple of hours with the mop will save you from having to make a claim.

But if the taps have been running for a couple of hours or more… you may have to say goodbye to your no-claims bonus.

You’ll need to make a claim on your home insurance if you need to pay for ruined flooring, bubbling paint, peeling wallpaper, cracks in the ceiling, or electrical wiring. This is on top of any dehumidifiers or other specialist equipment you may need.

Top Tip:: Think carefully before you make a claim. It may be worth paying out of your own pocket if claiming will increase your premium.

Severe cases of flooding

Things get a lot worse if you live in an apartment or flat. The property below yours may be damaged, and your landlord may have to get involved. This is when you’ll need to make a claim.

If the flood damage is very severe – for example, your bath has reinstalled itself in the kitchen – then your insurance company will send out a loss adjustor to help settle the claim. Remember that the loss adjustor is contracted by your insurance company, and will work to minimise the cost of the claim.

Top Tip: If you’re unhappy with your settlement offer, talk to us before you sign off.  We may be able to help negotiate or recommend a loss assessor to fight your corner.

After severe flood damage, if you need to clean up before anything else can happen, take plenty of photographs. Most home insurance companies exclude claims arising from gradual leaks from pipes and appliances, so any proof of what happened will work in your favour.

Remember, Home Insurance is not a maintenance contract; you have to keep your home maintained to an adequate standard. Insurance is not for wear and tear.

As with all damage claims, your policy excess will be deducted from your settlement amount.

If your neighbour left their tap on

Sometimes, it really and truly isn’t your fault. If that dark patch on the wall is getting suspiciously bigger, and you know your neighbour’s on holiday, it might be time to investigate.

If your neighbours left a tap on and your home is flooding, call the police. They can gain entry under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act on the grounds of ‘preventing serious damage to property’. Never, ever break into someone else’s property to turn their water off, even if it’s damaging your home – or even if you think “they won’t mind, they’ll be glad I took action”.

Your neighbour won’t be liable if it was an honest mistake, and their property is otherwise well cared for. In this case, you’ll need to fix the damage yourself or claim through your home insurance.

But your neighbour will be held responsible if they knew about the leak all along and did nothing to fix it. If you suspect your neighbour has a leak in their home, gather evidence and log the incidents to make sure you’re covered.

Talk to us in QuoteMe.ie with any water damage or leaking questions you have

One of the key benefits of using a home insurance broker 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 water-damage or leakage questions and whether you are covered by 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.

Can My Address Impact My Home Insurance Premium – And Why?

Can My Address Impact My Home Insurance Premium – And Why?

Where you live can greatly impact your home insurance premium. In fact, from your region to your town, postcode and even your street, your area matters. Why this is the case isn’t always obvious, but there’s sound logical reasoning behind it.

We’re here to answer your questions, including:

  • How does my address affect my home insurance premium?
  • Why does home insurance cost more where I live?
  • What factors affect my home insurance?

Kirsty and Phil had it right when they said “location, location, location” – it matters. Read on to discover why it might be that where you live is driving up the cost of home insurance.

Why does my address matter?

Insurance companies don’t just ask for your eircode so they can send you papers to sign. They need to know if your area is high-risk. This is the result of various calculations performed by insurance actuaries – the statisticians who crunch the numbers and calculate the probabilities of claims.

These numbers determine if your property is likely to be damaged by theft, flood, subsidence, or anything else.

Home insurance companies use geographical information and crime stats as well as other information related to your property to calculate risk.

After you start to enter your address in our quotation engine, a list of similar addresses pops up and you are asked to choose which address exactly matches your home. This is because even just one end of a street can have a higher risk than the other.

Geographical or environmental risks

Insurance companies do their best to predict geographical and environmental risk, and sometimes this can be narrowed down to just one section of the street. The biggest risk to houses is flood and subsidence.

Let’s say – for example – that 45 houses share a street address near the seafront in Bray, Co Wicklow.  However, only one part of the road is prone to flooding. On this street, households within a stone’s throw of each other will potentially have different insurance with or without flood cover.

Your individual circumstances also matter. For example, if you live 250 metres from a canal, flood cover may be automatically excluded. However, by exact matching your address, insurance companies will be able to see if your property has ever flooded in the past. If not, this will work in your favour when getting an insurance policy that includes flood cover.

On a national scale, some insurers may not cover properties in certain parts of the west of Ireland due to the risk of storm damage.

Always talk to an agent, and reveal your exact address as soon as possible to get matched with the best product at the lowest cost.

Crime statistics may affect how much you pay

Of course, the threat of break-ins and burglary also play a role in determining how much you pay for home insurance.

If you live in a high-risk area for crime, you may pay more for your home insurance than a street that is comparatively a lower risk. It’s unfortunately the cost of keeping your property and loved ones safe.

Having a Neighbourhood Watch in your area can lower your premiums by as much as 5%. And it’s important to remember that living in a rural area doesn’t automatically make your valuables safer.  Burglaries, theft of equipment, agri-vehicles and even livestock are real problems in the countryside.

Burglaries increase in the winter months, as do other instances of theft. You should install a home alarm system, but it’s best to consult your insurance provider beforehand to ensure the system will help reduce your premiums. Certain systems can get you a discount on your home insurance premium.

Other factors also play a part

Ultimately, it all depends on the type of claims that have occurred in your area or your individual property. Crime plays a big part, and so does geography and previous weather events, but when it comes to other factors you may be surprised.

Tall trees in close proximity to your home or a stream in or running adjacent to your garden may also impact on your premium.

All in all, your address matters more than you think. Where your home is located will have the biggest impact on how much you pay for your home insurance, and what cover you’ll be eligible to receive.

Talk to the team at QuoteMe.ie with any of your House Insurance questions.

One of the key benefits of using the services of an insurance broker for your home insurance is that you can consult us with any questions you have regarding your home insurance policies and get immediate advice from a certified trained professional. So, if you have any queries regarding your address 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.

How The Right Plumbing System Could Help You Cut Your Home Insurance Premium

How The Right Plumbing System Could Help You Cut Your Home Insurance Premium

Plumbing systems don’t affect your BER rating, but home insurance companies still want to know what’s lurking behind your walls and inside your pipes. Why is that?

As it turns out, your plumbing is one of the most likely causes of a disaster in the home. Leaky pipes, water damage, flooding – all of it can be compensated for by insurance companies. So, before they give you a quote, they want to know what they’re dealing with.

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

  • What’s the best house plumbing system for me?
  • Will plumbing affect my home insurance?
  • Why do home insurance companies want to know about my plumbing?

Ripping out your entire system and starting anew isn’t always a feasible option. In this article, you’ll find tips on optimising your existing plumbing to lower your home insurance.

Types of plumbing systems

The cost of your home insurance will take into account the kind of plumbing you have. It’s important to know what system you’re using before you begin to make modifications. You’ll have two systems – for hot, and cold.

Direct water system

This plumbing system brings cold water in from outside and distributes it around your house. This feeds cold taps in the kitchen and bathroom, and sometimes (but not always) a cold water storage tank in your attic.

Direct systems have high pressure from the mains. Great for power showers, but this can lead to “water hammer”. That banging you hear is the pipes rattling in the walls, and against each other. This can lead to leaks, burst pipes, and a higher cost of home insurance.

Indirect water system

Only the kitchen cold water tap and the cold water storage tank are fed by the mains. Other outlets are then fed by gravity from your cold water storage tank in the attic.

Indirect systems have disadvantages. The tank takes up space and as it contains standing water, may not be 100% safe to drink from. But they give you a reserve if the water is ever shut off, which means in cold weather you can easily stop pipes from freezing.

Types of fuel

What fuel you use to power the heating source for your plumbing will greatly impact your home insurance. Put simply, some fuel is more dangerous than others.

Got oil? Old tanks can leak into the soil and concrete floors and foundations. This is a disaster not only for your garden and the environment, but also for your home insurance. Oil spills are no joke, and lead to very large claims. All contaminated soil must be removed, including excavating under the house and rebuilding from the ground up.

Solid fuel is good for the environment, as long as the wood you use is from a sustainable source. Natural gas and electricity are safer options, but your house may not be connected to the mains gas network.

Biggest risks – and how to avoid them

According to Claims.ie, pipes and plumbing are the biggest causes of insurance headaches in Irish households. Escaping water and leaky systems top the list, ranking higher than water damage from storms, subsidence or even natural floods.

In cold weather, the water inside pipes can freeze. When the ice expands, this can lead to burst pipes, which you may not notice until it’s too late. Always lag (insulate) pipes in the attic where it’s colder, and in very cold weather turn all taps on just enough to drip. This keeps water flowing through pipes, and less likely to freeze.

If water hammering already gives you a headache, it may be time to update your system before the headache turns into a nightmare. High-pressure systems can lead to pipe bursts, so consider switching to an indirect system if it’s a big problem.

Plumbing and home insurance

Always tell your home insurance broker about any changes you plan to make to your home and what the potential impact has on your insurance. Also, ask their advice: they’ve seen it all before, and your broker will be able to give you professional advice to keep your home insurance premiums to a minimum.

Also, bear in mind that for older homes that were built before 1920, some insurers may insist that the house has been re-roofed, rewired and re-plumbed in the past 30 years before insuring the property.

Talk to the team at QuoteMe.ie with any of your House Insurance questions.

One of the key benefits of using the services of an insurance broker for your home insurance is that you can ask us any questions you have regarding your home insurance policies and get immediate expert advice from an independent trained professional. So, if you have any queries regarding your heating or plumbing systems and how they 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 the market to get you the right cover for your individual circumstances.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Insulating Your Attic

Here's Everything You Need To Know About Insulating Your Attic

It’s one of the most important energy-saving tips you can do around the home. But updating your attic insulation is a project that’s often misunderstood, treated as an afterthought, or worse – never done at all.

Read on for a complete lowdown on the surprisingly simple world of attic insulation, and along the way we’ll answer these questions:

  • What’s the best type of attic insulation?
  • How to install attic insulation?
  • Is insulating your attic expensive?

Insulating your attic isn’t too expensive, there are grants available and it is always important to make sure you use a certified professional.

What is attic insulation?

It’s kind of like putting a hat on when it’s chilly outside. Heat rises, so if your roof is a weak spot you’ll end up turning on the radiators to compensate, wasting money and energy. Good, cosy insulation traps heat inside your home.

Does your attic need new insulation? You can tell by going outside. If yours is the roof all the seagulls and pigeons sit on because it’s toasty warm, you need new insulation. Likewise, if there’s snow on everyone else’s roof but yours, it means heat is escaping – and you could be losing money.

Do I need to insulate my attic?

Yes, unless you love a freezing cold house and wasting money on heat escaping from your roof.  By insulating your attic you can lower your heating bills, keep your house warmer, improve your BER rating and reduce your energy emissions.

There are also grants available in Ireland through the SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland). For attic insulation, there is up to €400 available. Do make sure you comply with regulations to ensure you can avail of any grants available. Beyond your attic, there are also other insulation grants available so check these out as it may make sense to insulate other parts of the home whilst doing the work.

If your attic insulation is under 100mm, it’s a good idea to thicken it to the recommended 270mm to improve your home’s BER rating.

Types of attic insulation

There’s a range of insulation materials available, which do different jobs and are suitable for different houses and budgets. Here’s the most common ones:

Batt or blanket loft insulation

The most common type of insulation, batts are available in rolls of foil-backed felt, rock, glass or mineral fibre. Batts are easy to install yourself, but some materials can irritate the skin, so watch out and wear gloves and goggles. You can buy recycled sheep’s wool batts, which are a little more expensive, but non-irritant and good for the environment.

Batts can be bulky, so you need an open attic space you can access. If you plan on flooring your attic, there’s unlikely to be enough space between the joists for the recommended 270mm thickness. This means you may have to raise the floor, or buy insulation-backed flooring.

Loose-fill loft insulation

If you have irregular joists or a small, inaccessible space to insulate, loose-fill is a great option. It’s made from a variety of granular or lightweight materials such as cork granules, mineral wool, cellulose fibre or even polystyrene. It involves getting a pro to blast the fill up into your attic space.

Loose fill is great for oddly-shaped attics, or if you have obstructions. It’s great for topping up existing insulation, and installation only takes a couple of hours. But it can come loose in draughty lofts – which means either you need to spend more money sealing your roof, or splash out on an environmentally friendly fill such as recycled newspaper or cork. You don’t want to find polystyrene balls all over your lawn after a storm!

Sheet insulation

Designed for insulating the sloping sides of a roof, this insulation comes bonded to firm boards. Available with fire-resistant, moisture-resistant or even decorative covering, you can order it precut to the exact size you need for an extra cost.

Greener sheet insulation options include cork, straw and wood, and it can be covered with plasterboard for loft conversions. It’s one of the most effective forms of loft insulation but also more costly, and synthetic sheet insulation materials use a lot of energy to produce.

How you use your attic after insulation

What happens in your attic can greatly affect how you insulate it. Don’t go up there, and never plan to? Great, you can add as much insulation as you like and not worry. Plan on storing your Christmas decorations or suitcases? You’ll need to board your attic, which means laying a plywood floor over the joists as a platform. However you probably won’t be able to fit 270mm of insulation underneath – so you’ll need to raise the floor, or use insulation backed boards.

Plan on converting your attic into a bedroom or study? Don’t put insulation in the floor, or the heat won’t rise through it and you’ll be freezing. Instead, use sheet insulation on the sloping walls, stopping the heat from escaping and creating a surface you can wallpaper or paint.

Final tips and tricks

Don’t forget about your hatch! Make sure it fits snugly, and apply draught-stripping between the hatch and frame. Seal up any other holes going up into the roof – above pipes, for example – before you insulate your attic.

Insulating your attic floor (versus putting sheet insulation in the slope of the roof) will make it colder. If you have pipes or a cold water tank up there, you’ll need to install lagging to make sure they don’t freeze in winter.

Got damp? Effective insulation will make it worse, as it cuts off ventilation. If you have damp in your attic you need to sort that out first with the help of a professional.

Installing attic insulation is easy when you know how, and with a little planning ahead you can keep your home cosy for years to come.

Talk to us at QuoteMe.ie with any of your Home Insurance queries.

One of the key benefits of using a home insurance broker is that you can ask us any questions you have regarding anything do with your home insurance policies. You will get immediate expert advice from an independent trained professional.

If you have any queries about insulating your home and the impact that it may have on your insurance, call us today.  You can call us directly on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get an instant home insurance quote online. We compare the Irish insurance market to get you the right cover for your specific circumstances.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

 

Solar Power for the Home – Does it Really Work in Ireland?

Solar Power For The Home – Does It Really Work In Ireland?

Famously, we don’t get a lot of sun here. Does that mean that solar power is a waste of time and money – or can it really make a difference on energy costs and even home insurance premiums?

In this article, we’ll cover questions like:

  • Is it worth getting solar panels in Ireland?
  • Will solar power save money on energy bills?
  • How does solar power affect home insurance?

Solar panels are among the most common and affordable forms of renewable energy available in Ireland. If saving money, doing your bit for the environment and harvesting a bit of free energy sounds good, they might be for you.

In Ireland, yes, they’re definitely still worth it – but it helps to know a little more about them first.

What are solar panels?

Solar panels are devices that fix to the top of your roof which absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity. Solar panels ensure you always have hot water on tap, will speed up dishwashers and washing machines with a hot feed, and it will raise the BER rating of your house.

Because sunlight is free, there are no running costs and solar panels often pay for themselves within just a couple of years.

Solar panels cost €5,500 on average to install in a standard sized family home, including VAT and labour costs. Grants are also available, including €1,200 from SEAI to assist with your solar thermal installation.

Does solar power work in Ireland?

Yes, very well. The latest systems are able to work in daylight, so you’ll have hot water even on an overcast day in Ireland.

At the beginning of the solar revolution, solar panels were not amazingly powerful or efficient. Now technology has moved on, solar panels are able to harvest energy even in the winter months.

Although you can expect your energy production to drop when it’s grey and rainy, the effects shouldn’t be noticeable. It’s safest to have a backup, just in case.

Saving energy for a rainy day

You can use solar energy immediately, or store it in large batteries. They are charged by excess solar energy so you can use your renewable energy source at night.

The downside to this solution is that it’s quite expensive. You’ll be using 100% renewable energy, but the batteries are an extra investment.

A more cost-effective solution is to use solar energy during the day, and take energy from the grid during the night. Connecting your solar system to the grid is ideal because you probably use more energy during daylight hours. When you’re sleeping, the grid can keep your home ticking over.

Solar panels and home insurance

The good news is, most home insurance providers consider solar panels as part of the permanent fixtures of your home. This means getting insurance shouldn’t be a problem. Always make sure before you buy, and consult an expert if you need.

However, you do need to confirm solar panels are okay with your insurance provider, as they may affect the cost of your insurance. This is because your home will be more expensive to rebuild.

Generally speaking, solar power is very safe and solar power poses little to no risk in your home. However, damage can happen through no fault of your own. If you want peace of mind that they’ll be protected, consider spending more on accidental damage cover.

It’s also possible that installing solar panels may change the value of your home. This may also affect the cost of your home insurance. Lower electricity bills and improved energy performance is an attractive idea, so you’re looking to sell, solar panels might be up your street.

Solar power is a great solution if you care for the environment and want to save some money on energy bills. The good news is, solar panels are unlikely to affect your home insurance more or less than any other modification to your home.

Talk to the team at QuoteMe.ie with any of your House Insurance questions.

One of the key benefits of calling an insurance broker for your home insurance is that you can ask us any questions you have regarding your home insurance policies and get immediate expert advice from an independent trained professional. So, if you have any queries regarding your solar panels and how they may affect you home insurance please call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

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