The Irish Brokers Association are advising Tipperary homeowners to take the necessary measures to protect their homes following the stormy conditions experienced over the last week & the cold conditions that could be en route.
The representative body have warned that claims could rise as a result of recent flooding in some parts of the country, and that this could have a knock on effect on premiums in the medium term - though it may depend on whether or not Ireland is hit with further weather related catastrophes during the winter.
According to Ciaran Phelan, CEO of the Irish Brokers Association, “The storms may be over but wintery conditions are still going to affect the country for the foreseeable future. Households should act now to safeguard against the damage that can be caused by flooding & freezing pipes. The risk of expensive, disruptive and upsetting damage can be minimized by households taking a few simple steps to protect their homes”.
As a general rule of thumb the Irish Brokers Association have outlined the following steps for any homeowners affected by the floods:
1. Immediately isolate the electricity supply, keep extension cables out of water and wear rubber boots
2. If necessary, arrange for emergency repairs to be carried out to stop any damage getting worse. If possible, remove items on the lower levels of the property to upper levels.
3.Leave the property if the levels of flood water are rising or if your health will be affected by staying in the damp and/ or dangerous conditions.
4.Make every effort to keep evidence of damaged goods for inspection by your insurers. Keep receipts of everything that you replace and catalogue all the items damaged or lost. Take pictures if you can.
5. If you need to move out of your home, fully secure it and take any valuables with you. . Check with your insurance broker – most policies will cover the cost of alternative accommodation (up to a specified limit) while your’s is being are being repaired
6. Early communication with your Insurance Broker will help them to help you in the immediate notification to the Insurer of the damage suffered and the subsequent preparation and negotiation of your claim.
7.Ensure you get professional advice where detailed, lengthy repairs are needed. Beware of bogus tradesmen and always check references. Ensure the tradesman has adequate insurance to carry out the work at your premises. If you use a loss assessor make sure they are registered with the Central Bank of Ireland
8. Mark the water levels on the walls for reference and take photographs or video all flood damage.
9.Flood water may be contaminated – do not let children play in floodwater.
10.Have an expert check the power and gas supplies before turning them back on.
11.In aftermath, rent a humidifier and an industrial heater to assist in drying out your property.
Burst Pipes as a result of freezing
The Irish Brokers Association is advising households to take the following precautions to save a lot of inconvenience and cost:
- Keep your home well heated during cold spells
- Leave the heating on at a low temperature or alternatively make use of a thermostat to ensure that the temperature is maintained above 4ºc
- Make sure that water pipes and water tanks in the attic are insulated with good quality lagging
- Open the attic door to let heat circulate
- Know where the stopcock that turns off the water is located and make sure it works
- Repair any dripping taps as this will help prevent water freezing
- If you’re going to be away from home at any time during the winter be sure to ask a neighbour/friend to visit your house daily.
Ciaran went on to say, “If pipes do freeze, don’t panic but take the following steps
1) Turn water off at the main stopcock and thaw the pipes as best you can with a hair dryer
2) If a pipe has burst , turn off the water at the stopcock, switch off central heating and any other water heating installations and open all taps to drain the system
3) Act to mitigate your loss as much as possible. Remove wet or damaged materials from the home but retain all property for inspection by Insurers. Secure goods stored in the open.
4) Contact your insurance broker for help and advice, how to make a claim and have the necessary repairs carried out”
The Irish Brokers Association says that if your home is affected by bad weather the absolute first port of call is to contact your insurance broker or company as soon as possible. If you have a broker, they will advise you on the steps needed to minimise your financial loss.