Here’s The Information We Need To Quote For Home Insurance – And Why We Ask For It

When we’re putting together a home insurance quote for you, we only ever ask for the information we need. Even if our questions might seem a bit odd on first glance, we need every single one to put together your quote.

If you click to get a home insurance quote through QuoteMe.ie, you might be wondering:

  • Why does my insurance company need to know how long I’ve lived at my property?
  • Why does it matter for insurance if I live in a Neighbourhood Watch area?
  • How does the number of smoke alarms at my property affect my insurance?

You wouldn’t tell a stranger intimate details about your property, but when it comes to home insurance these details are key to keeping you, your loved ones and your possessions safe.

Your details

This is the first thing you see when you request a quote. Put simply: we need to get in touch with you! We also ask for your date of birth because some insurers give a discount for proposers aged 50 or over. Generally speaking, most people settle down by this age. Any kids will tend to be older, so there’s less chance of accidental damage (your twentysomething son coming back at the weekend and raiding your fridge is not, we have to tell you, an insurable risk).

Your age is also a possible indicator of daytime occupancy – which in turn is why we need to know your employment status and occupation.

If you’ll definitely be out at 6.15pm on a Tuesday – or if you work night shifts – this could make your property more vulnerable.

Are you a first-time buyer? Mortgage lenders require you to buy buildings insurance to protect their investment. Knowing if this is your first house helps us get you the best product.

House Insurance details

Next, we ask what kind of home insurance you need. We need to know the start date to make sure there are no gaps in your cover and your insurance won’t run out. Your property type determines the kind of insurance you get. Terraced houses tend to be a bit safer than isolated rural properties because you have closer neighbours, for example.

Deciding your cover isn’t complicated.

Most people need “owner-occupied” – this is your standard house, occupied most of the time. Got a holiday let or log cabin? We need to know if you rent it out. This is because irregular guests may not have your best interests in mind, bring unwanted friends, forget to shut the gate or leave the taps running before they pack up and leave.

Your property

We need your address to send your home insurance paperwork to you – but most importantly knowing where you live can also be an indicator of risk level in terms of theft and flood.

The age of your home is important because it may affect break-ins. According to MoneySuperMarket, the claim rate for thefts at older properties is higher per 1,000 than for newer houses. Art Deco houses have the most claims of theft, with 31.3 instances per 1,000 houses.

Why? Well, older houses are more vulnerable. Homes with glass panels in the doors like those on Art Deco houses are easy targets, while protected or listed structures may have single-glazed windows out of necessity.

And if you have a fancy old house, thieves might believe there could be valuables inside – even if that’s not the case.

The number of bedrooms and bathrooms lets us know the general size of your house, and how much you might need to protect.

And by the way, a felt or flat roof isn’t going to mean good news for your home insurance: these kinds of roofs are easier for burglars to navigate and find ways into your property.

Previous house insurance

Asking for your previous house insurance gives us a rough guideline of what you’re looking for. It also gives us an insight as to what may have changed in your circumstances.

We also need to make sure there are no gaps in your cover throughout the switching process. Getting caught without home insurance is just tempting fate!

Buildings and contents

We need to know how much it would cost to replace all the items in your household if the worst should happen. This is the “contents” part of your home insurance.

Please be honest here: it helps us do our job to know exactly what’s in your home, and realistic costs, so we can get you back on your feet as soon as possible. We can’t reimburse you for the Picasso if you never had it in the first place – and while inflating the cost of your partner’s engagement ring might impress them, it won’t cut mustard with us.

Buildings cover is essential for disasters like burst pipes and fire. A lot of people only think about the impact on their loved ones and possessions when something bad happens, but fixing smoke damage and replacing floors, windows and ceilings will add up to a hefty cost if you aren’t insured properly.

Don’t worry if these amounts look intimidating – it’s more important that you give us accurate information than try and skimp on cover to lower price of your quote. We will always give you the best price, guaranteed.

Accidental Damage is also good to have if you have children or pets who may knock over your TV or damage the carpets, for example.

Additional details

Finally, to wrap it up, we just need you to let us know what safety measures you have in place to protect your house. Having a Neighbourhood Watch in your area can drive insurance discounts of 5%! These are common in residential areas, where thieves can’t operate easily in secret.

Heating systems are one of the leading causes of fires and water damage: letting us know if your system is old or outdated can affect how much you pay for home insurance. Solid fuel, for example, is pretty dangerous and is likely to up the cost.

Smoke alarms, cigarettes and security locks also raise or lower your risk of break-ins or fire damage. But be careful: some insurers insist you turn on your alarm whenever your house is vacant – even if you are just popping down to the shop for five minutes. This is fine if you remember to do so, but your spouse or your kids might not be so careful.

If you haven’t thought about it already, consider investing in better locks, more smoke alarms – and even a Quit Smoking programme – before you buy insurance.

In summary, we need to know all these things about you and your property to keep you safe and get you the best insurance quote for your needs.

Thing is, if your home insurance isn’t right, a headache can quickly turn into a nightmare.

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

If you have any questions regarding home insurance please call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051 and talk to one of our home Insurance experts. They are on hand to answer all your questions. You can also get an instant home insurance quote online. We compare the market to get you the best cover.  We look forward to hearing from you.

How To Decide On The Boiler System That’s Right For Your Home

Replacing a boiler is one of those big, messy jobs you never want to start – but a more efficient heating system can really make a difference to your home, and your wallet.

There are a lot of boiler systems on the market: combi, heat pump, or conventional tank included. Which one you choose is determined by a number of factors you need to take into consideration before you start shopping around for the latest model.

How large is your house?

Not only do you need to factor in how much space you have available, but you also need to think about how much hot water you are likely to use in the future. Big homes often come with big families, so you’ll need a boiler that can cope with the extra demand.

If you have very young babies you may need to keep the house warmer, but if you have older children they may take more showers or baths.

Combi-boilers take up the least space, so are the most practical solution for most households. An average house with one bath and one shower will be comfortable with a combi-boiler of between 24-30 kW. If you have an additional en-suite bathroom, a 30-35 kW boiler might be a better choice.

Do you have efficient insulation?

Back in the day, it was common practice to “oversize”: that is, choose a much bigger boiler than needed to compensate for heat loss, or how much heat escapes your home when it’s cold.

An expert can calculate your home’s heat loss by taking into account your floor area and number of radiators, as well as insulation, window glazing and other factors. They can then advise on the best boiler to compensate.

In the past, homes were a lot less efficient and most people installed boilers that were a whopping 30% bigger than needed to compensate for heat loss. Now, with more advanced technology and awareness of climate change, this isn’t necessary unless in rare cases and oversizing “just in case” will only cost you money.

As combi-boilers are sized for their hot water performance, you should be aware that this means they are typically oversized when it comes to your home’s heating demand.

How old is your heating system?

Replacing your boiler is all well and good, but if your home’s heating system is too old to use it properly, you won’t see any savings.

As daunting as it may seem, replacing your entire heating system – pipes and all – may be more efficient in the long run, especially if you have a very old property.

Your heating system, depending on the fuel you use, may consist of a boiler, pipes, radiators, water storage tanks, and heating controls.

If you change from a conventional boiler to a combi, you will no longer need a cold water tank in the attic or hot water tank in the linen cupboard, and can free up that extra space.

What fuel type do you want?

You may have a bit of a choice when it comes to fuel, but depending on your location it might be easier to go with what’s available. You should also think about renewable sources of energy for your new boiler.

Mains gas is a common fuel type, with most homes already connected to the network. With a gas boiler there is a constant supply, and is more environmentally friendly than other types of fuel.

Oil is an alternative for properties not connected to the gas network, and oil boilers tend to be non-condensing and floor standing, which means you’ll probably need more space. They also tend to offer a lower hot water flow rate.

What kind of future do you expect?

It sounds like a big, vague question, but boilers are a long-term investment and you need to think about what the next few years will hold.

Do you plan on starting or expanding your family? Are you going to spend the rest of your lives in the house? Or do you want to sell it quickly?

It’s also wise to take the environment into account, if you’re in a position to do so. Some new boilers can run on alternative energy sources such as solid fuel like wood pellets, chips and logs. You’ll need storage space and a suitable area to install a flue – and it may impact the sale of your house, since buyers may be unwilling to take on the commitment.

Gas boilers are now available which are compatible with solar energy. Oil systems can also run partially on bio-oil mixes, making them future-proof as well as environmentally friendly. How you take advantage of these systems is up to you.

Choosing a boiler isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, but it doesn’t have to be too difficult. It’s important to take enough time to choose the right one for your household.

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

If you have any questions regarding home insurance or any specific queries regarding heating systems and boilers and how they may impact your insurance, please call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051 and talk to one of our Insurance experts. They are on hand to answer all your questions. You can also get an instant home insurance quote online. We compare the market to get you the best cover.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Going Keyless? These Are The Most Popular ‘Smart’ Locks On The Market Right Now

Forever forgetting your keys? Or just want to secure your home in the most tech-savvy way possible?

You may want to consider a smart or keyless lock – a modern innovation that keeps your home safe from intruders and puts you ahead of the curve. And just like your alarm system, it’s always important to confirm with your Home Insurance broker that the lock you are buying is acceptable to your Home Insurer. Do this before installing – not after!

Smart locks offer a range of benefits when it comes to security, such as advanced access settings, facial recognition, monitoring activity on your doorstep while you’re away, and – most importantly of all – negating the need for a spare key in a fake rock (or even worse, under the mat).

Here’s a few products to get you started.

August Smart Lock Pro

The Smart Lock Pro from August is a great smart lock to test the waters, but will still provide formidable security to most homes.

It works with your existing deadbolts, so it’s easy to install even for a novice. This lock provides secure entry via unlimited virtual keys, and it’s up to you who you share these keys with: friends, family, neighbours, and you can even create temporary keys for ten minutes or so to let in the delivery guy or pet sitter.

The August phone app is intuitive and easy to use, and comes with a lifesaving auto-lock feature that keeps your home safe on the go. It’s not as cheap as some of the models listed here, but the August Smart Lock Pro is a solid choice.

Schlage Sense

You may not have heard of Schlage, but this brand is a time-tested favourite in the world of smart locks.

While it doesn’t come with many bells and whistles, this lock offers a minimalist solution with exceptional security. The Schlage Sense will allow you to review who comes and goes from your property, and whether they use a PIN number or a key. It also looks really nice on your door.

There’s a physical override for emergencies, which is an important feature missing in a lot of its competitors, and its method of fuss-free keyless entry makes it perfect for those with a holiday home or who rent out their property on Airbnb.

Ultralock ULC

This is a sleek, modern smart lock which offers access to your home via smartphone app, code or fingerprint as well as a physical key for emergencies. It has a swish “knock to open” feature, which lets you tap your phone to the lock to get in.

This lock has up to 95 codes, which can be 4-7 digits long for extra protection. The fingerprint sensor is quick but not always reliable, which can be a problem in the rain or if you’re juggling a lot of shopping. It also has a very good battery life, and is painless to install.

Yale Conexis L1

The granddaddy of locks and security systems gives us a strong contender in the smart lock game with the Conexis L1. Sleek and aesthetic, it comes in five colours to suit any door, old or modern.

Installation is straightforward, but not the most intuitive on this list. You’ll get to send virtual keys to friends and family you trust, as well as time-limited keys restricted to a certain schedule, for pet-sitters or cleaners.

It’s a solid solution if you know a little more about installing smart locks than your average man on the street.

Yale Keyless

Another option from this trusted lock company is an advanced lock with a ton of options.

It looks simple, but is deceptively powerful. The Keyless comes equipped with touchscreen PIN access, as well as key card, key tag, remote fob, and app entry.

Neatly designed and easy to install with a built-in tamper alarm, incorrect pin code alert and bank level encryption, the Keyless will keep you safe as houses.

What smart lock you choose depends on your type of property and how you use it: if you have a large family who need to come and go, if maintenance needs temporary access, if you feel safe with a PIN entry or prefer fingerprints.

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

If you have any questions about your home insurance or if certain locks are acceptable to your insurer, please feel free to contact us any time. One of the benefits of using a home insurance broker is that you can call us with any of your questions and we can give you expert advice. So, if you have any queries call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.  Our Home Insurance team are on hand to answer all your questions.

You can also get an instant home insurance quote online. We compare the market to get you the best cover.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Am I Still Covered If Something Happens To My Home During A Gap In Cover?

Mind the gap – because it could mean the difference between getting compensated for damage to your home and being left out of pocket.

Gaps in home insurance cover may occur if you change or renew your policy and it doesn’t take effect immediately, or if you miss an insurance payment. For example, if your old policy ends on Monday and you don’t renew or initiate a new one until Wednesday, it could be a big problem if anything happens to your house on Tuesday when you aren’t technically insured.

Read on to discover more about coverage gaps, and what you can do to avoid lapses.

When do gaps in cover happen?

Coverage gaps occur when you miss a payment (or multiple payments, depending on the terms and conditions of your contract), or when your policy expires without having a new one in place.

So in a situation where your renewal date occurred on a Friday and you forgot to renew it, you are ‘off-cover’ for the weekend. You can of course arrange a new policy on the following Monday – but the cover only commences from the time you pay the new premium.

Is it dangerous to have a cover gap?

Absolutely!

If you don’t pay attention to when your policy expires, you’re taking a big risk because your property won’t be covered in the event it is damaged or destroyed and you may lose items of sentimental and/or monetary value.

If anything happens to your house or contents during a gap in cover, you probably won’t be able to claim and even if you can, you may incur a hefty fine for doing so. It’s always best to avoid a headache and ensure you have insurance at all times.

Will a gap in cover affect future policies?

It might. If you miss your renewal date, your old policy may be cancelled – and while a replacement policy might be available, it could be at a higher premium.

It’s important to remember that a late payment is a late payment, no matter the reason – it doesn’t matter if you expected more notification, are having financial difficulties or just forgot.

What’s worse, other insurance companies might refuse to cover you depending on the small print in their policies.

The myth of the “grace period”

Many people believe that if a gap in coverage occurs, they may still be covered by the original provider. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

The fact is, if your insurance provider accepts a late payment that does not mean you have a grace period. Just because you pay them what you owe, doesn’t mean they’re obligated to cover you after the policy ends, and paying late will most likely result in a gap in cover.

It’s easy to renew cover

Avoid a home insurance cover gap by making sure that your policy is renewed or your new policy is in place before the expiration date. If you miss the deadline even by a day, your policy will break and you’ll have to buy a new policy instead of renewing.

If you’re having trouble with payment at renewal date, call your provider and explain the situation. Insurers are human, and will help you any way they can so you remain covered. They may be able to offer you monthly payment plans or automatic direct debits.

Once it’s gone, it’s gone

Well, with one (possible) exception.

If you have a relationship with your broker and forget to renew your policy, a phone call explaining the circumstances will often – but not always – lead to the broker giving you credit and paying on the insurer to renew the policy. If you’re insured directly with an insurance company, this would not be the case; once the renewal date passes, you are off cover

But that is the exception – not the rule.

The main thing to remember is the answer to the question at hand here: your home will not be covered during a gap in insurance.

“Grace periods” are at best an informality that can’t be replied upon – and at worst, a myth. Even if your insurer accepts a late payment this does in no way guarantee your home is covered in case of an emergency.

Gaps or breaks in your home insurance cover can turn into costly and potentially devastating mistakes.

If you can, always set your policy to auto-renew, or talk to your broker about your options in this regard.

If you’d like to switch policies make sure this happens well before your old policy expires to keep your home and possessions safe.

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

One of the benefits of using a home insurance broker is that you can call us with any of your questions and we can give you expert advice. So, if you have any queries regarding your home insurance please call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.  Our Home Insurance team are on hand to answer all your questions.

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

Low-Hanging Fruit: The First Changes To Make If You Move Into A House With A Low BER Rating

A BER (Buildings Energy Rating) measures how energy-efficient your house is.

According to SEAI, most houses built before 1990 in Ireland score a D rating or worse – which is bad news for the environment, as well as your pockets.

The good news is that a little bit of work goes a long way – particularly if you’re starting with a low rating – and you can vastly improve the efficiency of your home just by focusing your energy (no pun intended) on a few tweaks.

Replacing your boiler

The warm, beating heart of your home might need some serious surgery – or perhaps a transplant. Choosing the right boiler for your house is critical.

Conventional boilers are heat-only, which means you’ll normally find a cold water tank in the attic and a hot water tank in the airing cupboard. These tanks feed the boiler, which heats up the water before it reaches the tap – which isn’t a particularly efficient approach.

Combi boilers provide rapid hot water by firing up as soon as you turn the taps on, heating only what you need as it comes through the pipes, and using less fuel as a result.

These boilers are expensive upfront – usually starting at around the €1,750 mark – but a good one will save you money in the long run. They’re also often found in kitchens and can be disruptive to replace, so they’re worth looking at before you plan any other renovations.

Installing (or updating) your thermostat

Most houses have a little box with a dial on the wall that lets you decide how warm your home should be – but if not, and you’re just using your radiator TRV’s (valves) to control the heating, you could be losing money.

Thermostats let you regulate temperature, and automatically shut off radiators when your home is cosy enough. Most models also allow you to create heating schedules.

Better still, more modern ‘smart thermostats’ also come with an app that let you monitor your usage, switch off the heating if you’re away from the house unexpectedly, or stick on the heating while you’re on the way home from work.

Imagine: between your smart thermostat and your combi-boiler, you’ll forever be spared the fear of going out and leaving the immersion switched on. Isn’t the future great?

Adding attic insulation

As you’ll know if you paid attention during Junior Cert Science – or if you ever singed your eyebrows after opening an oven – heat rises.

For most houses, that means the heat from your rooms travels upwards into the attic or loft – and if this space isn’t treated, you could be pumping heat into the sky, wasting energy and money in the process.

According to SEAI, a non-optimised home loses an average 20-30% of its heat through its roof.

Attic or rafter insulation is generally one of the most cost-effective energy efficiency upgrades, and grants may be available to help you improve the insulation of your home. Typical insulation materials used are semi-rigid insulation boards as well as glass/mineral fibre; the material may depend on the depth of your joists or rafters, and it’s always best to get professional advice even if you install insulation yourself.

Of course, to hark back once more to science class, every action has an equal and opposite reaction – and while your house will get warmer, your attic will get colder.

So if you have a cold water tank, you’ll need to insulate it to prevent freezing in cold weather – another reason why it might be best to install a combi boiler and get rid of the tank altogether.

Resealing windows

Like the attic, a home can lose a lot of heat out of its windows, even with double glazing (particularly for older installations). And while a full replacement of all your windows might not be affordable, there are short-term fixes available.

If you notice condensation on an internal pane of glass, draughts from the window, or noticeable wear, tear or gaps around the seal, it’s time to freshen it up.

You might be able to feel where a draught is coming in if it’s bad enough. Plug up the gap for now, then call in the professionals, as resealing windows isn’t best attempted on your own.

Installing ‘smart’ bulbs

Lighting accounts for a good chunk of a typical household’s electricity bill, so swapping out your bulbs before you get settled is definitely a bright idea.

LEDs are the most efficient light bulb on the market. They are available with varying degrees of colour, brightness and temperature – from warm white to cool white – and are available in almost all fittings.

For the ultimate in energy-saving savvy, try smart bulbs. These are more expensive, so try and think what rooms would benefit most – you probably won’t need to remotely dim the light in the garage, for example, or change the colour in the front porch.

For the most part, though, smart lights will save money in the long run by being easier to switch on and off – and they’ll also provide home security while you’re out [link to security article].

These small changes might not be the cheapest in the short term, but they’re always best done just as you move in. By optimising your heating system, insulation and lighting, you’ll keep your home safe and comfy for years to come.

Potential Impact on Home Insurance

When you are undertaking any significant home renovations it’s important to talk with your home insurance provider or broker to discuss the impact that they may have on your home insurance. It also gives you peace of mind of knowing you are covered if something goes wrong. Feel free to call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051 and talk to one of our Home Insurance experts. They are on hand to answer all your questions. You can also get an instant home insurance quote online. We compare the market to get you the right cover for your specific requirements. We look forward to hearing from you.

7 Smart Home Gadgets That Will Make Your Home Safer, More Secure – And More Comfy

We haven’t quite managed to invent futuristic robot butlers to cater to our every need – but here in the real (not movie-version) year 2020 you can buy a range of affordable, impressive home gadgets to automate tasks and make living easier.

Most require no technical knowledge to install and no specialist equipment except your smartphone. Here’s seven clever solutions that are worth checking out.

Smart Home Alarms

Cheap to buy and easier to install than a hard-wired alarm of old, these new security systems are wireless and come with a range of features to suit every budget and property.

Choose one with motion detectors if you have windows or other entry points in vulnerable locations, or with video and imagery capability if you want pictures of possible intruders sent directly to your phone.

Although not essential for it to work, many smart alarms come with dummy boxes that you mount on the exterior of your house to deter criminals.

As an added bonus, approved (and properly maintained) alarms will get you a discount off your home insurance – ask your broker what’s on offer!

Video Doorbells

See who’s knocking at your door even while you’re out of the country with smart doorbells from Ring and Aquarius.

It will notify your phone when someone’s at the door, and some send you live video while others can alert you even if the doorbell is not pressed by using an in-built motion sensor.

Google’s smart doorbell even has facial recognition, so it can recognise friends and relatives (subject to their permission, of course! You always have to comply with GDPR).

The Nest Hello includes pre-recorded messages – like an answer machine – that mean visitors get a response even when you can’t access your phone. This provides extra security, as it will seem like someone’s at home at all times.

Smart Lights

Lightbulbs from Philips Hue, LifX and now even IKEA make it easy to control your home’s lighting on the go. You can set up groups for rooms with multiple lights, and create a romantic mood without even getting up to dim the switch.

Smart lightbulbs can also display a rainbow of colours and cycle from cool to warm light, unlike traditional bulbs. While a little pricey they will last a lot longer than traditional bulbs, and you can set up routines to make it look like someone’s in the house – or just wake up to a gentle (simulated) sunrise.

Smart Thermostat

The Netatmo thermostat is one of several smart solutions on the market that make it easy to control your heating from an app or virtual assistant. It interacts with your boiler to control when your radiators turn off and on, and can send you energy reports.

Netatmo also make smart radiator valves which display the temperature of each radiator in your home and can be controlled by the main hub, making it easier to keep your home above freezing while you’re away.

Plug-in Heaters

The Lloytron stay warm heater plug is a super little device that’s very useful for unoccupied homes during cold spells. Plug it in, and the little ceramic fan assisted heater provides instant heat and acts as a thermostat feature for maintaining a minimum ambient temperature.  This retails for only €39 – much cheaper than burst pipes!

Whether you just need a little extra heat in a cold home office or need to keep plants happy while you’re away, you can combine the heater plug with a timer plug for maximum control on the go.

Smart Plugs

Why invest in smart devices when you can make all your existing home gadgets smart with one purchase? Smart plugs plug into mains sockets, and can themselves be plugged into – letting you switch it on and off from your phone or virtual assistant.

An update of the old clock-type timer plugs, smart plugs make it possible to turn lamps on and off, or even your television or Christmas lights. Better yet, you can swap the plugs and don’t have to commit to making one device “smart”.

Motorised Blinds and Curtains

Yes, even your window fittings can now be smart – providing the ultimate in remote home security. Motorised blinds and curtains you can control with a remote have been around for a little while, but now you can find ones that work with apps as well as Google Home and Alexa.

Set up routines for morning and evening, and you’ll never have to worry if your home looks “lived in” again. And when you’re back from holiday, you’ll be able to wake up well-rested and see the sunrise with just a simple voice command, without ever leaving the duvet.

Smart home technology needn’t be intimidating, and while most solutions are geared towards modern comforts they will make your home more secure. Whether deterring burglars with voice messages or making your home appear occupied, these gadgets are a smart investment to keep your property and loved ones safe.

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

If you have any questions regarding home insurance and whether using any smart appliances affects your home insurance cover feel free to call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051 and talk to one of our home Insurance experts. They are on hand to answer all your questions. You can also get an instant home insurance quote online. We compare the market to get you the best cover.  We look forward to hearing from you.

What Does Home Insurance Cover – And What’s Left Out?

Every home needs to have home insurance, just in case the worst happens.

Without it, if your property or possessions are damaged or destroyed, you face the second blow of not receiving any compensation for the loss.

But it’s not always clear what a so-called “standard policy” includes and what kind of cover you can expect – particularly as it can often differ from one home insurance provider to another.

In this guide, we’ll strip it back to the ‘core elements’ and let you know what to look out for when organising cover for your home.

What’s covered in typical home insurance?

When a standard home insurance policy includes buildings and contents, you can expect the following to be covered:

  • Your house – walls, ceilings, the structure and any fixtures or fittings that can’t be removed from the house
  • Its contents – furniture, carpets, appliances, TV, ornaments, etc
  • Your personal effects – clothing, bags, jewellery, sports equipment, bicycles, etc

The maximum value of the items you can claim on (contents up to a certain amount, e.g. €100,000) will be stated clearly in your policy. Most policies carry an excess, which means that you won’t be covered for the first few euros of a claim. A typical excess may be between €150 and €250.

Most policies offer new for old cover, which means you get the full replacement cost of items that are lost, stolen or damaged. However, some policies will only offer you the amount that your items are worth at the time of the claim.

What’s usually not covered?

You’ll have to pay extra to cover possessions that you regularly take out of the home, like cameras or jewellery. This is  known as ‘All Risks’ Cover, which is designed for higher-valued items.

Your home insurance policy may not cover the contents of a freezer or pantry, or damage caused by a computer virus. These may be insurable, but they will not typically fall under a standard home cover policy.

What kind of events are covered?

Any damage to your home or possessions caused by fire, flooding and storms, as well as theft, is usually covered, as well as damage from subsidence or burst pipes.

Always check your policy, especially if you live in a high-risk area like a flood plain.

You cannot claim through your home insurance if your contents are stolen through deception – for example, if you give your keys to a tradesperson who then steals from your home. Any damage caused by general wear and tear will not be covered, such as your carpet wearing thin over the years, and most policies will restrict and reduce cover if your property is unoccupied for a long time (typically 40 days).

Buildings insurance will not normally pay out for damage due to acts of war or terrorism.

Optional extras for home insurance policies

Many home insurance policies offer extra cover for an additional fee, but some may be already included.

Accidental damage can include spilling wine on your carpet or knocking over your TV and it’s one of the most common insurance add-ons, but bear in mind that if you have children or pets your cover may cost more.

You can also take out extra cover for your garden, to insure your plants and ornaments.

Bicycles are only normally covered by house insurance if they are stored inside the house: extra cover will insure your bicycle while it’s in a garage or chained up outside, as well as out and about.

Things you might not know you needed to insure

Some companies now offer separate ‘download insurance’ if you’ve purchased games, music or other digital downloads that you aren’t able to recover if you lose your laptop or device.

Home insurance generally includes liability cover, should a visitor be injured in your home and you’re deemed negligent – remember to check if this is the case when you review your policy.

But if you store money at your property – in a savings jar, for example – in all likelihood you have personal money covered, but you should check the limit of this with your insurer, particularly if you are keeping large amounts of cash in your home.

Don’t forget to make sure the cost of your food is covered if you have expensive ingredients or a large family. If your freezer or fridge breaks down and you lose a month’s worth of food, that will be expensive to replace.

This, of course, is just a top-level broad guide to what to expect (and not expect).

Always read your home insurance policy carefully, and if you find the small print impossible, ask your broker to explain it to you.

A good idea is to ask yourself: if the worst happened, what would I be most upset at losing? Make sure that is covered in your policy first, then check off anything else you can think of.

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

If you have any questions regarding home insurance please call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051 and talk to one of our home Insurance experts. They are on hand to answer all your questions. You can also get an instant home insurance quote online. We compare the market to get you the best cover.  We look forward to hearing from you.

White Christmas? 6 Things To Do To Keep Your Home Safe As Soon As It Starts To Snow

The kids may be in a festive mood, but grown-ups know all too well the holiday season can spell home insurance nightmares if things go wrong.

Burglaries are enough to worry about during the winter months – but complications from bad weather is also an increasing concern as climate change means our winters are more intense.

Luckily, there are many things adults can do to keep things running smoothly so they can feel like a kid at Christmas.

Prevent freezing pipes

Water expands as it freezes, and if your pipes get cold enough the ice inside will make them crack and burst. This also happens if pressure builds up behind a chunk of ice – for example, if a pipe develops ice outdoors but runs into your home where it’s warmer.

Burst pipes cause massive damage and potentially catastrophic claims, so keep taps dripping in very cold weather to prevent ice build-up. Drain water from outdoor taps and cover them with foam insulation (or an old sock), and disconnect and store hosepipes 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.

Stop ice dams

Ice dams form when heat escapes through your roof and melts any settled snow. This water flows to your roof’s edge and refreezes, usually at the eaves. Those pretty icicles? They’re a sign a nasty ice dam is forming underneath – and slowly melting snow can’t properly drain, potentially causing a leak in your roof and water damage in your home.

Clogged gutters and downspouts are the number one cause of ice dams, so clear them of autumn leaves soon before the first snow to keep things flowing as they should. Insulate your attic well so that snow isn’t melted by escaping heat, and you’ll enjoy the added benefit of lower energy bills.

Clean fireplaces and chimneys

If you’re lucky enough to have a wood-burning stove or real fireplace, check it’s clean and free of birds’ nests before you before you light up your first cosy fire of the season.

One danger of an unswept chimney is that soot and debris may catch fire. Get in a professional chimney sweep to do the job, and keep your home’s warm air from escaping out the chimney when you’re not using it by keeping the flue closed all the way. If it’s working properly, you shouldn’t be able to feel any cold air coming down the chimney.

Stock up on winter essentials

We don’t mean chocolate oranges and Baileys (although, ‘tis the season) – there are several inexpensive household items that are even more important to keep around if you see a heavy grey sky this winter.

Snow and storms bring power cuts, shut shops and slips and falls. You’ll need candles and plenty of matches or lighters (with enough fuel), a well-stocked first aid kit including personal medication to last a couple of weeks, non-perishable food for a minimum of three to five days (including baby formula if you need it), bottles of water, toilet paper, soap, lots of blankets, torches plus extra batteries. It’s also good to have a working, fully charged fire extinguisher, as well as sand, road salt, and a shovel.

Clear paths and walkways

Even if you don’t plan to venture outside in the snow and ice, you may still be liable if someone injures themselves on your property and it’s best to keep walkways clear in case of emergency.

Road and path salt is readily available from many shops, and you should sprinkle this at the first sign of snow. You may have heard that cat litter makes a cost-effective solution – it does not, and the clumping kind is especially useless for traction.

You should also shovel driveways and the pavement outside your house – or ask the kids to do it for a bit of extra pocket money.

Inspect your security

You don’t need to be going away on vacation to be vulnerable over Christmas. It’s a notoriously high-crime time of year, and even occupied houses are more likely to be hit – so secure your house now to make it unattractive for opportunists.

Lock all garden gates and entry points you’re unlikely to use over winter, such as garages or outbuildings if they contain tools that are valuable or easy to grab – a burglar may use them to force entry. Make sure outdoor lights are working, consider investing in a home alarm system, and don’t leave packaging from large or expensive gifts outside: stuff it down into the appropriate recycling bin, covered by less attractive rubbish.

Use these tips and you’ll be able to enjoy a stress-free Christmas without having to worry about the weather, intruders, or emergencies.

What to do when something goes wrong?

That’s why you have home insurance in place.  It gives you peace of mind, knowing when something happens, that you are covered!  Remember, it’s important to check with your insurer what level of cover you have in place for your property and contents. You can do this anytime not just at renewal time.

Talk to Us in QuoteMe.ie with any of your Home Insurance Questions

If you have any questions regarding your home insurance please call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051 and talk to one of our Home Insurance experts. They are on hand to answer all your questions. You can also get an instant home insurance quote online. We compare the market to get you the best cover. Enjoy the festivities and Merry Christmas to you and your family. We look forward to hearing from you.

How To Keep Your Home Safe If You’re Heading Away For The Festive Season

If you’re on holiday for Christmas or New Year’s, you’ll be aware this can be a particularly dangerous time when it comes to theft and burglary.

Not everyone has enough Christmas spirit, and if you don’t protect your home well enough you may come back to a nasty surprise.

Read our handy guide to keeping your home and treasured items (as well as those gifts) safe this festive season.

Tell a trusted neighbour

If you have a neighbour or loved one that you trust nearby, let them know you’ll be gone and ask them to keep an eye on your property. Give them your phone number in case of emergency, but let them know to always call the police first in case they see anything suspicious.

If you feel comfortable, you can also give your neighbour a spare key and ask them to visit every so often to show a presence, switch lights on and off, and open and close curtains, or take the bins out.

Get rid of giveaway boxes

Large or expensive items such as new TV’s, computers, luxury clothes or designer jewellery can come with a lot of large, flashy packaging. If you leave this out for kerbside recycling, a thief can simply walk along and check your bin for evidence that your home is worth breaking into.

This is a particualrly pertinent point at this time of year – so remember to break down this kind of packaging, and cover it in the bin with plain cardboard or household recycling.

Better still, do a run to the dump or recycling facility before you go. And never, ever leave large boxes that are too big to be broken down behind your bins!

Install smart lights

Smart lights make it easy to set up an “away” routine so it looks like the house is occupied, even when it’s not.

Systems like Philips Hue or LifX are incredibly simple to set up – no wiring is required – and they work with remote assistants like Google Home and Alexa.

Smart lights can be controlled by an app wherever you are, so if you’re worried about a savvy burglar working out the lights are automated, you can switch them on and off at random – or even set them to a randomised schedule.

Nothing will deter a watching burglar more than seeing the toilet light come on at 2.34am, then going off again three minutes later…

Buy a video doorbell

If a thief is bold enough to knock on the door to determine whether your property is occupied, a doorbell with a video and speaker function will let them know someone is watching.

These doorbells allow you to view whoever is at the door from your phone, wherever you are, and ones with speaker functions let you hear and speak as well.

Tell them you’re home, and they’ll be none the wiser. Though most of them are savvy enough to avoid houses with these devices altogether, and look elsewhere for some easy pickings.

Set up an alarm system

Home alarm systems are now highly secure, and some of the most modern solutions come with smart technology that alerts you to suspicious activity wherever you are.

Some are discrete, while others are large and brightly coloured to deter would-be intruders. More importantly, though, many are able to send still images or even video of the intruders to your phone, and automatically alert the alarm central monitoring station, or indeed the guards – and the added security will generally reduce your home insurance premium.

Pause the post

If you’ll be away for a long time, guard against post piling up in plain sight by asking the postal service to pause delivery and keep your mail safe until you’re back.

If you’ve got a glass door or external postbox, too many letters are a dead giveaway your home is unoccupied. If you’re only away for a few days, consider investing in a letterbox cage to keep them off the floor – and at very least, add it to the checklist for your visiting neighbour.

Lock, lock and double-lock

It’s common sense – to the point where we need hardly say it – but you’d be surprised how often these things get missed.

When you leave, lock every possible entry into your home, including deadbolts. This isn’t just common sense; it has a real and material impact on the amount you can expect to pay for your home insurance premium.

You might not consider a second-floor window left ajar when you leave for work, but if a burglar spots it – or notices that no one comes to close it after a couple of days, particularly in the dead of winter – it could be both a giveaway and a point of entry.

Get rid of the ‘hidden’ keys in the garden

While great in an emergency, spare keys hidden in the garden can let a burglar into your house as easily as possible – and even worse, your insurance cover may be affected if you’ve left keys in plain sight.

Ideally take the keys with you, or lock them up inside the home, if you’ve not given them to a neighbour or house sitter.

At the very least make sure they’re not hidden anywhere obvious like a fake rock or under the mat. We’ve heard of people burying them in flowerbeds, in small tupperware boxes or cling film – which may not be particularly convenient when you’re returning home from the Christmas party at 1am without your keys, but might just keep your house that bit more secure.

Taking these simple measures will give you peace of mind to enjoy the festive season. Opportunistic thieves take no holidays, so make sure you make your property the hardest one possible to break into.

How to protect your home and contents

It’s essential that you have the correct level of Home Insurance in place for your house and contents. You may also have valuable items that you would like covered such as jewelery or home appliances. You should talk to your insurer to ensure that these items are covered. There may be an additional cost on your Home Insurance to cover these items.

Talk to Us in QuoteMe.ie with any of your Home Insurance Questions

If you have any questions regarding your home insurance please call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051 and talk to one of our Home Insurance experts. They are on hand to answer all your questions. You can also get an instant home insurance quote online. We compare the market to get you the best cover. We look forward to hearing from you.

Second Car Insurance in Ireland – How to Insure Your Second Car

So you have a second car and wish to get second car insurance. This is very straightforward.

You need to take out a separate car insurance policy to cover your second car.

Multi-Car Insurance Process

However, you can only insure one car per policy. Because of this, you can only use one no claims bonus per policy.

As a result, you must have two no claims bonuses if you are insuring two cars. If you are taking out second car insurance for the first time you will have zero no claims bonus on your second car.

No Claims Bonus Second Car Insurance – One Per Car

Unfortunately, you cannot use your no claims bonus on your second car. So, when you are insuring a second car for the first time you start a zero no claims bonus for your second car. You then build this up on the second car over time.

Benefits of Having Second Car Insurance

You can get the same benefits as the car insurance policy you have on your first car such as breakdown assistance, European cover, step back no claims, windscreen cover.

How to Get Cover

If you have any questions at all regarding your car insurance call us on 0818 224433 and talk to our qualified insurance advisors who will help you find the best cover for your second car insurance policy. You can also use our quote engine get an instant Car Insurance quote online in seconds. We compare the market for you to find the best car insurance cover for you. We look forward to hearing from you today.