What Types of Water Damage Are Covered by Home Insurance?

Home Insurance policies don’t always cover every type of leak or flood. Find out how you’re covered before you’re left high and dry.

I left my taps running – am I covered?

The bad news is, accidents happen and sometimes your floors and ceilings suffer for it. The good news is, your home insurance will cover these floods if you or your kids left the taps running.

Home insurers consider taps left on as flood damage, just like cases of natural flooding, even though you might personally feel guilty. If your overflowing bathtub or sink is a result of negligence on your part, your insurance will cover you just like if it happened because of mechanical failure. After all, we’re all human.

If the tap’s only been running for a few minutes, your structure and possessions may be fine and a couple of hours with the mop will prevent having to make a claim.

But if the taps have been running for a couple of hours or more? You’ll have to say goodbye to your no-claims bonus if you need to pay for ruined flooring, peeling wallpaper, new electrical wiring or equipment like dehumidifiers or carpet cleaners. And if your property hasn’t been maintained properly, your insurer may reject your claim.

Burst and frozen pipes

Your home insurance will cover you if one of your pipes bursts and causes water damage in your home. However, as always, it’s best to prevent these kinds of accidents and avoid making a claim.

Water expands as it freezes, and pressure builds up behind chunks of ice if the pipe is warm and cold in different places. Burst pipes are a big risk in winter. Keep taps dripping in very cold weather to prevent a potentially catastrophic claim. Drain water from outdoor taps and cover them with foam cladding (or an old sock), and disconnect and store hoses and sprinkler systems.

Also, make sure to insulate water pipes that run through unheated areas of your home, such as the loft, cellar, or garage.

Something else you need to think about is paying for water lost through a burst pipe. Do you have a water meter? If you do, this could mean you pay higher bills for water that did nothing but damage your home. For example, Allianz states that while it pays claims involving leaks, cover for lost water will be capped at €1,000.

Storms and floods

Good news – many home insurance policies cover storm damage, flooding and subsidence. But you should always check your policy, especially if you live in a high-risk area like a flood plain.

A recent study by location intelligence company Gamma shows that over 60,000 Irish homes are at risk of flooding due to climate change. While the Irish Government is working on a new law to force insurance firms to provide cover in areas at risk of flooding, they aren’t obligated to do so at the moment.

Many insurance companies refuse to offer cover on homes that have been flooded in the past. Some won’t even give you cover if your home has never been affected, but your neighbour’s has.

While many home insurance policies do include flooding, some only cover structural damage to your property. Not all policies cover the contents of your home. It’s vital you read the small print if you live in an at-risk area, to find out how you’re covered.

As always, prevention is better than cure. So, if your home is at risk of flood, invest in sandbags. You can also move your car to higher ground if needed and keep up to date with flood warnings from Met Eireann.

What’s not covered

What’s not covered

Checking your policy carefully will let you know if your flood-damaged contents are covered by your home insurance policy. Or, you can get your broker to check your policy for you. Some policies only cover the structure of your property, and won’t replace your waterlogged belongings.

Insurance is there if the worst should happen, but it’s not a maintenance contract. If flooding or water damage occurs as a result of natural wear and tear, you won’t be covered. Similarly, your insurance will not look kindly on poorly maintained or neglected properties.

It also matters whether you put preventative measures in place if you had adequate warning of a flood. For example, if a storm in your area hit the national news, but you failed to put down sandbags. That would affect your insurance.

What Kinds of Structural Damage Are Covered by Home Insurance?

Your home, essentially, is four walls and a roof. Your buildings insurance will cover all of these, as well as the permanent fixtures and fittings. But what kind of damage can you expect, and what will your home insurance not cover?

Contents make your house a home. But lots can go wrong with the roof over your head – and when it does, you want to have confidence in your insurance.

The main structure of your house is covered under home insurance. But what exactly does that mean, and what happens if your building is damaged and insurance won’t pay out?

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

  • What kinds of structural damage will my home insurance cover?
  • Will my home insurance pay for a damaged roof?
  • Does home insurance cover cracks in the wall?

Put simply, your insurance will cover some kinds of damage and not others. Read on to discover what’s what.

In a nutshell

Need a quick, at-a-glance key to understanding your buildings insurance? Here’s what it covers:

  • Subsidence or ground heave of land (unfortunately, you probably won’t be covered if you live in Cork or other affected areas)
  • Flying or falling objects (trees, aerials, etc)
  • Falling trees and branches
  • Riots and civil commotions
  • Malicious damage (if it is not caused by people who are allowed to be in your home)
  • Falling aerials, masts, satellite dishes or security cameras
  • Leaking or overflowing of water or oil from any heating, plumbing or drainage system

Foundations and groundwork

Your house sits on foundations, which are hopefully solid. But many things can go wrong which compromise the integrity of your foundations, and unfortunately you may not always be covered.

This is because it can take a long time to detect structural damage. This means insurance companies consider foundational damage a maintenance problem, and won’t cover it. The purpose of insurance is to cover sudden peril. It’s not a get-out-of-jail-free card for not looking after your property.

However, once you’ve discovered what’s gone wrong and taken steps to repair it or prevent future problems, your insurance policy may cover ensuing loss. For example, if cracks in the foundation let water seep into your home, your insurance won’t cover the cracks but may replace your soggy belongings.

Walls and ceilings

Again – definitely maybe, but possibly not. As with foundations and groundwork, the focus is not so much on the damage but on the cause of it. Does your wall have a crack due to a sudden and unexpected event, such as a lightning strike? You’re likely covered. But, is there a crack in the wall because, year after year, you failed to make necessary repairs? Insurance won’t cover your mistake.

Your insurance considers subsidence, heave and landslip unforeseeable events. As such, most household insurance policies cover loss or damage caused by subsidence. But while they usually cover the cost of repairing the damage, they won’t stretch to preventing further subsidence. If you don’t like your chances, you’ll have to pay to shore up your defences or move.

As subsidence is an insurable risk, premiums may go up for you if you claim. Also, if you live in an area which is prone to subsidence, you may be paying more for it.

The roof of your house

You guessed it. If external, unusual events damaged your roof, your insurance will cover you. But if you did it yourself, you’ll have to pay for it yourself.

The biggest threat to your roof is storm damage. Unfortunately, the Irish climate isn’t always exactly calm. If a storm is responsible for a hole in your roof, you can expect to see damage such as many missing tiles, tree branches, and debris. If that’s the case, you should be covered by your home insurance. Your insurance provider will check Met Éireann data to find out if a storm occurred, and if it was bad enough to cause the damage.

If the weather wasn’t very strong, but the wind was able to dislodge a tile because your roof has prior wear and tear, you won’t be able to claim. It’s your responsibility to maintain your roof, and watch out for loose tiles and potential holes.

Got a flat roof? Bad news. A flat roof surface will wear out quicker, meaning more regular maintenance. There’s a higher chance of you making a claim on your buildings insurance, which means they’re more expensive to insure. If you haven’t kept up with the demands of your flat roof, you may be in for a nasty shock.

Outbuildings, doors and windows

Your home insurance policy will also cover everything which could be considered a permanent part of a property. This includes doors, windows, locks and security measures. This also includes bathroom and kitchen fixtures such as sinks, showers and toilets: anything which you wouldn’t take with you if you moved.

Many policies cover outbuildings, like sheds and garages, but some will require you purchase additional cover. Your insurance typically won’t cover things like outdoor swimming pools or saunas. You can usually arrange cover with your insurer, but it will cost more than a standard policy.

If you have any queries on what is covered for structural damage to your home, just call us in QuoteMe.ie

If you have any queries about what is covered for structural damage to your home call us and talk to our home insurance experts. We know all the angles when it comes to home insurance. We have seen all eventualities and will guide you accordingly. We are available for direct phone calls between 8.30am and 5.30pm each weekday on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get a home insurance quote online on our website directly. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurance providers to get you the right cover for your situation. 

Is My Jewellery Covered Under Home Insurance?

Is My Jewellery Covered Under Home Insurance?

Everyone has one or two pieces of jewellery in their home. But are they covered by your standard home insurance policy? Or should you consider getting specialist jewellery insurance? Find out more inside.

Yes it is, in most cases.

Watches, jewellery, and other small valuables will usually be covered under your home insurance policy. Contents insurance should cover you for loss or theft of these personal (and often sentimental) items, however you can take out specialist jewellery insurance.

This is the best option if you don’t want to leave anything to chance. But, like the jewellery we own, insurance policies come in all shapes and sizes. It’s worth being aware of the facts before you take out a policy.

In this article, we’ll answer questions like:

  • Is my jewellery covered by my contents policy?
  • What jewellery isn’t covered by my home insurance?
  • Do I need specialist jewellery insurance?

The type of cover you need will depend on the type of jewellery you own. If you’re a collector, you may need different insurance to cover loss or theft of your precious items.

Jewellery and home insurance

Most people own a bit of jewellery here and there. Even if you’re not a “jewellery person”, most people have a pair of earrings, a watch, or a wedding ring. And if they don’t, it’s possible they’re holding onto such items that have been inherited from a loved one.

This is why most jewellery is covered under a standard home insurance policy. These are usually kept in the home, and as such will be just as much at risk from fire or flood as everything else.

However, jewellery can be pricey. It could also hold incredible sentimental value. It’s one of the first things burglars look for. This means your jewellery is at risk. So, if it’s particularly important to you, you might want to consider taking out specialist jewellery insurance.

All Risks insurance does exactly what it says on the tin. Taking out an All Risks policy on your jewellery will insure it against most any risk you can think of. Lose your ring down the drain? You’re covered. Your necklace gets damaged at the gym? You’re covered. You’ll need to itemise and value your jewellery to get it covered for all risks. But adding lists of jewellery to your home insurance policy for all risks cover is very expensive – about €10 per €1000 per year. But, items insured for all risks are subject to a much lower excess than other contents. Normally between €25 and €50.

Just don’t forget to update your home insurance every time you make an expensive purchase, or get a really nice present. It’s always a good idea to keep receipts for any jewellery purchases.

Everyday jewellery

Nearly all insurance companies take into account the fact that most people own jewellery. From heirlooms to a favourite old watch, wedding ring or necklace, nearly everyone has one or two items. Your standard home insurance policy will cover these items.

However, there’s usually a maximum amount that your insurer will pay out for one individual item. This usually varies from €1200 to €1500. So the maximum you can claim per piece of jewellery is between €1200 and €1500. Each policy is different, so check with your insurance provider to make sure you’re covered.

Your provider will ask you to give the total value of the items in your home. It’s important to make sure you know the true value of your jewellery, in case you lose it. Under-insuring will give you big problems later on.

If you’re even slightly in doubt about how much your jewellery is worth, get it valued by professionals. Pawnbrokers can do this, as well as many high street shops. You never know – you might be sitting on a rare find! Even better, you’ll have a chance of being adequately covered by your home insurance.

Valuables and collectors

For high value or antique jewellery it’s best to get a valuation certificate. You might want to get annual valuations on particularly fancy pieces, as the price of gold fluctuates often.

Some insurers offer policies especially for jewellery, although these are likely to raise your premiums. You may even have to approach a specialist insurer to find the cover you need. This is where having a broker comes in handy. At QuoteMe, we can help you find the perfect cover for your valuables.

When you’re looking for jewellery insurance policies, check that your items will be covered in the event of theft, loss or damage. Accidental damage cover – such as losing your wedding ring down the sink – should also be considered.

To make a claim, some providers will need you to show them a receipt of sale if you’ve bought your item within the last three years. They also might need a photograph of the item. On top of this, you should inform the Gardai if someone else steals, loses or damages your jewellery. Don’t forget to obtain a crime reference number if so.

If you have any queries your cover for jewellery, just call us in QuoteMe.ie

If you have any questions about what level of cover your jewellery has or needs please call us and talk to our expert insurance advisors. We know all the angles when it comes to home insurance. We have seen all eventualities when it comes to claims and can guide you accordingly. We are available for direct phone calls between 8.30am and 5.30pm each weekday on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get a home insurance quote online on our website directly. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurance providers to get you the right cover for your situation. 

Home Insurance Excess: What, Why, and How Much?

Home Insurance Excess: What, Why, and How Much?

A home insurance excess is a flat fee you’ll pay when you make a claim. Not all excess is created equal – find out more inside.

In a nutshell, your excess is a fixed amount that you have to pay out if you make a claim on your insurance. Think of it as the price of making a claim.

Your insurer will deduct your excess from the full amount. Excesses vary from policy to policy, so make sure you know yours well before you need to pay it.

In this article, we’ll answer questions like:

  • What is a home insurance excess?
  • Why do I have to pay an excess on my home insurance?
  • How do I find out my home insurance excess?

Thousands of people are caught out because they don’t know what the excess is, or why it has to be paid. So, before you make a claim, make yourself aware of the facts.

What is a Home Insurance Excess?

Excess is the amount you pay towards a claim before your insurance provider makes its contribution. For example if your excess is €250 and you make a claim for €1,000, your insurer will pay out €750.

There are two types of excess, compulsory and voluntary. Compulsory is a flat fee which is set by your insurance provider. Not every policy will have a compulsory excess, but a lot of them will.

On the other hand, you agree a voluntary excess with your insurance provider, and it usually means you pay a lower monthly or annual premium. It means that in exchange for your lower price, you’d pay more if you were to make a claim.

Increasing your excess may save you money on your premium. But you don’t want to be landed with an excess if the worst happens and you can’t afford to pay.

Why do I have to pay an excess on a Home Insurance Claim?

An excess is a typical home insurance fee. It’s simply the cost of doing business. An excess guarantees the insurance company will be able to pay for costs related to managing your claim.

An excess also deters customers from making claims when they don’t need to. In lots of cases, it’s easier – and cheaper – to manage the damage yourself and not involve your insurance provider. For example, if there’s a small flood in your bathroom it will be more beneficial to all involved if you grab a mop or call a plumber.

Tying things up in insurance claims is a lot of time and effort on everyone’s behalf, so make sure it’s worth it. Charging an excess helps to keep the cost of premiums down by reducing the number of small claims.

For instance, there’s no point making a claim to replace a €300 window if the excess is €800. Why? You’d be paying €800 to get €300 back – it isn’t worth it.

Typical amounts of excess

If you’re concerned you’re paying too much for your home insurance excess, you can give us a call and we’ll set you right.

The amount of excess you need to pay will depend on what’s covered in your individual policy. For example, Zurich’s standard home insurance policy excess is €250. • Excess normally varies between €250 and €375.

However, their personal money excess is only €50, while if a landslip damages your home the excess is €2,500. Excesses are usually much higher when there’s larger amounts of money involved.

Reducing the cost of your home insurance

Bigger excesses save money for insurance companies, but they can also save you money on your monthly or annual premiums.

You might be paying €100 a month for insurance, for example, when you have a house fire. The cost of repairing your home will be around €10,000.

If your excess is €500, it will be deducted from the final amount and the remaining €9,500 will be used to cover repairs. You need to make sure all costs, including the excess, can be covered by the amount you claim.

If you want to reduce your premium from €100 a month to €75 a month, you might be able to increase your excess to €1,000. It varies from insurer to insurer.

One insurance company, Aviva, offers a discount for an increased excess of €1,000 but only on its “value” policy. We do not recommend this policy, for many reasons.

As always, give us a call and we can discuss possible ways to lower the cost of your home insurance.

If you have any questions around Home Insurance Excess, Call us in QuoteMe.ie

If you have any queries at all regarding home insurance excess and what are the options for your home insurance policy, feel free to call us and talk to our trained insurance advisors. We are experts in all things related to home cover, and we have seen all eventualities and can guide you appropriately. We are available for direct phone calls between 8.30am and 5.30pm each weekday on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get a home insurance quote online on our website directly. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurance providers to get you the right cover for your situation. 

What Happens To My Home Insurance Policy If My Keys Are Stolen?

What Happens To My Home Insurance Policy If My Keys Are Stolen?

If someone steals your keys, you may not be covered by your home insurance. It all hinges on how they were stolen, by who, and when it happened. Find out more inside.

Stolen keys? Whether your home insurance will pay to cut new ones or change your locks will depend on how they got stolen. If it turns out you were at fault, you could be left out of pocket.

In this article, we’ll answer questions like:

  • Does my home insurance cover stolen keys?
  • What do I do if someone steals my keys?
  • Will my insurance cover it if someone I trusted with spare keys steals from me?

Losing your keys can be traumatic, especially if someone stole them. It can be tough to feel safe again – so in this article we’ll outline exactly what happens to your insurance.

I gave keys to someone and they stole from me

Moving to a new house? Giving friends, relatives and even trusted neighbours a spare key for emergencies seems like a good idea. Maybe you give one to your mother in law, and keep one aside to give to your neighbour or the cat-sitter when you go on holiday.

Unfortunately, giving spare keys to others can cost you a lot more than a new set. Your keys will not be considered “stolen” if you willingly give your keys to others, and they go and make a copy. Every person you give your keys to could, theoretically, go and have copies made in less than half an hour. You may not even notice if they were missing.

Taking care of your keys is a standard security measure. This means your provider will assume you’ve been careful with your keys, and won’t pay out if you haven’t. Home insurance policies usually exclude theft by family members, neighbours or ex-partners.

This is because insurance companies take into account your connection to the guilty party. No matter if they’ve let themselves in or helped themselves to your belongings, this counts as an act of deception and not theft, which typical policies don’t cover.

Burglars stole my keys

If you’re unlucky enough to have someone with a key burgle you, but you don’t have any connection to them – and you can prove it – insurers may look at the case ‘favourably’. This means they might consider your claim, but this is never a guarantee. All that matters is the circumstances that led to someone getting their hands on your keys.

For example, if someone stole your keys to make a copy, then replaced them before you noticed, this could work in your favour – but it would be very hard to prove. But if this is an acquaintance from the past you forgot had keys to your house, insurance won’t cover your negligence.

This is why it’s a good idea to change your locks whenever you move into a new house. You have no idea who could have spare keys, or copies.

What happens to your home insurance?

If you make a claim on your home insurance relating to lost or stolen keys, it will wipe out your no claims discount. Depending on how long you’ve had it, this could mean paying an extra 20%, 30% or even more on your home insurance when you renew.

Past claims also make it more difficult to get new home insurance. This is because if you’ve made a claim, insurance companies know you’re more likely to make one in the future.

If you’ve left a spare key outside and burglars take it, for example, your insurance company now knows you’re in the habit of hiding keys. And old habits die hard. Statistically speaking, if you’re the kind of person who likes to keep a spare key in plain view, not even a burglary will change that.

Instead of spare keys, consider investing in smart locks which recognise fingerprints. If you need a pet-sitter, you can program temporary access. Or, invest in smart lights so your neighbour doesn’t have to pop round to make the place look occupied.

And when you’re in your home, never leave your keys in sight of the letterbox. They can easily be “fished” out. Make sure you lock up sheds and outbuildings, too.

If you have any Home Insurance queries, talk to us in QuoteMe.ie

If you have any questions related to what is covered and what is not covered regarding losing house keys, feel free to call us and talk to our trained home insurance experts. We know home insurance like the back of our hands. We have seen all the possible scenarios and can guide you through choosing a policy that best suits your needs. We are available for calls between 8.30am and 5.30pm each weekday on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

If you would like a home insurance quote online, try our online quote system. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurers to get you the right cover for your situation.