AA encourages homes and businesses to give their properties the pre winter once over
AA Ireland, one of Ireland’s largest insurers, with more than 200,000 customers is reminding households and businesses nationwide to go over their properties with a fine tooth comb and review their level of insurance cover to make sure they’re prepared for another potential harsh winter. Last December burst pipe related household claims in Ireland cost €173.1m, while commercial claims amounted to €50.6m.
In an AA Home Insurance poll conducted this time last year 34% of the 6,000 participants said they had reduced their buildings contents insurance within the last two year. 15% also indicated they had reduced their house contents sum insured while 3% said they had no insurance cover what-so-ever.
“While it can be tough to manage household outgoings and difficult decisions have to be made, we would urge homeowners and businesses to be cautious when it comes to their building and contents insurance especially during winter.” Says John Farrell, Director of AA Insurance. “Repairing the damage done by burst pipes can be a huge burden if uninsured.” AA Home Insurance reports that the average cost of an individual burst pipe claim during December 2010 was close to €7,000.
Overall the Irish Insurance industry processed 30,000 claims relating to damage to homes and businesses caused by burst pipes during December 2010. “During December 2009 and January 2010, 19,000 home and business claims were made as a result of frozen pipes and this was followed by 30,000 claims during December 2010.” Says Farrell. “Last year businesses faced disruption and thousands of households were left miserable by damaged pipes something which could have been avoided with better preparation.” believes Farrell.
To help businesses and homeowners to do a comprehensive check of their properties AA Ireland offers the following tips:
AA pre-winter home checklist:
Interior of the home
• Get your boiler serviced regularly by a qualified Gas Safe-registered engineer – if it’s due its annual service soon, get it booked in before the weather gets really cold;
•If you regularly use an open fire or log-burning stove, get the chimney swept;
•Familiarise yourself with the location of your mains water stop valve (it’s usually under the sink or stairs), in case you need to shut it off in the event of a burst pipe;
•If you know how to, bleed your radiators, as air pockets reduce their efficiency;
•Check pipes and water tank for missing insulation and arrange replacement if necessary;
•Check windows and doors for draughts – fit draught excluders or repair seals as necessary;
•When required, wipe condensation off windows to help prevent build-up of mould and damp – consider buying a de-humidifier if the problem is persistently bad;
•If your home is going to be empty for a while (for more than a few days) or if you have a second property, keep the thermostat set to low, to stop temperature dropping too low;
•Keep a torch and spare batteries in a convenient place.
Exterior of the home
•Walk round and do a visual check of the roof for any missing tiles or damage;
•Check guttering from ground level by looking for signs of water overflowing during heavy rain. Get someone in to rectify if you’re not confident on a ladder;
•Check exterior walls for any damage that could let water in and inspect windows for cracked panes – arrange repair work as necessary;
•Make sure that brick air vents are clear from obstruction;
•Clear as necessary any drain gratings and pathways;
•Consider purchasing sand/salt and shovel to clear driveways and paths;
•Turn off and drain external water taps and store garden hoses in a frost-free place;
•Lubricate external locks and padlocks with WD-40;
•If in any doubt, seek professional advice and assistance.
Notes to the editor;
1. The claims information referred to in the above release has been sourced from the Irish Insurance Federation. For further details on the home insurance claims made in Ireland during December 2010 please visit www.iif.ie/LatestNews/tabid/74/language/en-GB/Default.aspx
AA Home Insurance survey results (Autumn 2010)
Fig. 1 Whether or not the residents surveyed in the last 2 years, have you changed the amount covered by their Home Insurance? (Based on 6,081 responses)
|Yes, have reduced the amount of the buildings insurance||34.0%|
|Yes, have increased the amount of buildings insurance||5.4%|
|Yes, have reduced the amount of contents insurance||15.4%|
|Yes, have increased the amount of contents insurance||9.2%|
|No, have not made any change||38.1%|
|Do not have home insurance||3.0%|
|Don’t know / don’t recall||2.7%|
|Not applicable to me||12.3%|