Can I make an insurance claim after Storm Ophelia?
October 18, 2017
Have you been affected by Storm Ophelia? If your car or home has been damaged, or if you have missed a flight as a result of the storm, you may be thinking about what you need to do to make a claim.
What should I do first?
- Check your policy – The first thing you need to do is check your full insurance policy (not just the summary) to see what you are covered for. For example, if you have home insurance, find out exactly what coverage you have for storm damage. Some policies will exclude damage to fences, gates, hedges and garden furniture. If you have comprehensive car insurance, you are usually completely covered for any storm-related damage.
- Notify your insurer – Call your insurance company. It’s a good idea to take photographs and videos of the damage to show them. Give them details of the claim and request a claim form.
- Get their advice – Your insurer should give you advice on what to do next. For example, if your home has been damaged, they may suggest you get some emergency repairs done. Double check that your insurer will cover the cost of these repairs. Make sure you keep receipts for anything you replace.
- Larger claims – For larger claims, such as a buildings claim on your home, you may want to hire an assessor. An assessor works on your behalf and will negotiate with your insurance company to settle your claim. Assessors’ fees are not covered by your policy, so you will have to pay for this service yourself.
Will I have to pay anything towards the damage?
- Before making a claim, check the excess on your policy – this is the portion of any claim you have to pay yourself. The amount varies, but is generally between €100 and €300. You won’t be able to claim for amounts less than the excess.
If I make a claim, will my insurance premium increase next year?
- Making a claim can lead to an increase in your premium when you next renew your policy. Depending on your policy, if you make a car insurance claim, you can lose your no-claims bonus. If the cost to fix the damage is low, consider whether it is worth making a claim.
What if I missed a flight because of the storm?
- If your flight was cancelled because of the storm, then the airline should have offered you a choice between the following:
- Re-routing as soon as possible
- Re-routing at a later date at your convenience
- A refund
- If you chose the first option, the airline is obliged to provide you with care and assistance while you wait for the alternative flight.
- It’s unlikely that you will be entitled to compensation, as flight cancellations and delays due to weather conditions are exempt under passenger rights legislation. More information can be found on flightrights.ie.
How will the insurer deal with my claim?
Under the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code, insurance companies must:
- Have a written procedure in place for dealing with claims
- Help you if you need to make a claim, and fill you in on any new developments which affect your claim within 10 business days of knowing about them
- Let you know their decision on your claim within 10 business days of making the decision. When a claim is not settled in your favour, they should explain the reasons why in writing, and provide you with details of how you can appeal the decision
How long should it take to settle my claim?
- There is no definite length of time to settle an insurance claim – it tends to depend on the type of claim. Some claims might need the input of several people before it can be agreed.
- Your insurance company will consider your claim and decide whether your policy covers you for the costs or damage. It is your choice to accept their settlement. You can negotiate with your insurance company or broker if you are unhappy with their offer.