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

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

Caeva O'Callaghan | February 4th, 2020

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.