by BRIAN MOORE
WEST CORK homeowners may lose their no claims bonus and face paying higher premiums for up to four years, if they make a storm-related claim.
While most home insurance policies cover storm damage, one local provider has advised people to weigh up the implications of making a claim.
Ger Reynolds of O’Leary Insurance in Clonakilty explained: ‘If your home is damaged by a fallen tree, or any other part of your property is damaged by the storm, then you are covered.
‘However, just as with car insurance, most home cover is based on a bonus system these days. If, for example, you lose a freezer full of food worth say €300 because of a power outage, you have to weigh up the cost against the implications of losing your no-claims bonus and facing higher premiums for a number of years.’
However, with Cork County Council receiving over 600 calls in relation to fallen trees throughout the city and county, the question a lot of West Cork homeowners want answered is: ‘Am I covered for the costs of removing trees that have fallen into my garden or driveway?’
‘No, you’re not covered under your home insurance policy,’ Mr Reynolds clarified. ‘If a tree falls into your property and causes no damage to your home, then any costs associated with its removal are not covered. Nor is any damage to fences or gates.’
The general post-storm advice from Insurance Ireland, the organisation that represents the insurance industry, is to contact your local insurance providers to establish what their policies cover.
A spokesperson said: ‘While storm cover is a standard provision in home cover policies, we would urge policyholders to contact their local insurance providers to confirm exactly what their individual policy covers.’
Insurance Ireland also pointed out that motor insurance cover applies as normal and is not impacted by weather conditions.
‘Damage to cars caused by the storm is covered by comprehensive motor insurance policies,’ the statement continued.
Meanwhile, for any State-run schools that have been left damaged because of Hurricane Ophelia, Minister for Education, Richard Bruton TD has confirmed that an emergency fund is available.
‘Regarding emergency funding, for any State-owned school buildings, the school authorities are free to apply for funding under the Department for Education’s Emergency Works Scheme,’ Minister Bruton said.