• Property owners nationally lost approx. €6 million due to under-insurance in 2015
  • Up to one in five people mistakenly reduced home insurance policies in recent years

Householders are missing out on thousands of euro and in some cases tens of thousands when settling an insurance claim due to the under insurance of their property. In the wake of the economic downturn, this is one of the major problems encountered by Loss Assessor Sean Manicle of Manicle Property Claims.

Mr Manicle says, “We have found in our dealings with homeowners that up to 1 in 5 people are underinsuring their property for two main reasons:

  1. A common belief when speaking to clients that their home insurance is related to the market value of their property. However, this is not the case. The insurance value of a property should be related to the demolition and rebuild value including removal of debris and Professional fees (Architect’s/Consulting Engineers etc.)
  2. Some property owners are deliberately underinsuring their property believing they will save on premiums. However, in reality the savings are often minimal but the serious financial consequences are a lot more severe than envisaged.

There are no official statistics available for the level of under insurance in the Irish market, however figures published by Insurance Ireland Fact file 2015 reveal that there were some 52,373 Household Claims made in 2013 costing insurers €180.2million. A further 20,356 Commercial Property claims in the same year cost €109.7 million. Therefore, it can be conservatively estimated from these figures that property owners nationally lost out on over € 6million in claim settlements due to underinsurance.

Manicle Property Claims recently dealt with an oil leak claim outside Dublin where a domestic oil tank leaked and travelled under the entire house. The property was insured for €300,000. The cost of the works to clean up the oil leak was a staggering €200,000 due to the major earth and structural works required. In this case insurers inspected the property and valued it at €400,000 and considered it was underinsured by 25%. This meant the home owner was liable for over €50,000 of the cost of the oil clean-up themselves! Manicle Property Claims successfully managed to have the insurer’s valuation revised to €300,000. It finally worked out, but it did cause a lot of additional stress and anxiety for the home owner dealing with the potentially crippling bill from insurers.

Mr Manicle says, “There is help out there to easily calculate the demolition and rebuild value of a property. We recommend that home owners use the rebuild calculator on the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland website. You need to know the floor area of your property and follow the instructions outlined to calculate the costs. It is important to note that insurers would argue that the SCSI values are the minimum values that you should use in calculating your insured sum of your property.”

Manicle Property Claims offers a complete independent claims management service providing invaluable support, professional help and advice at a time of crisis. Acting on behalf of the home owner, Manicle Property Claims will ensure any claim is settled fairly and as quickly as possible. It’s never too late to contact a loss assessor, as a settlement can be taken over even if an individual has already begun proceedings, or if the person is unhappy with a settlement receive. www.mpclaims.ie

Sean Manicle t/a Manicle Property Claims is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
For further information, consult the Irish Society of Chartered Surveyors rebuilding costs guide.