Unoccupied properties - Consumer advice for the Christmas holiday season

Leitrim Observer reporter

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Unoccupied properties - Consumer advice for the Christmas holiday season

People are urged to take the time to secure their properties .

As many head away over the holiday season Brokers Ireland today urged people to take the time to secure their properties and follow a number of simple steps so that holiday joy is not ruined.

Brian McNelis, Director of General Insurance Services at Brokers Ireland, which represents 1,300 firms throughout Ireland, said theft, water and fire damage are issues that typically give rise to insurance claims, with theft per property on average at just under €3,500 and 30pc of claims involving water damage.

“Incredibly 65pc of people don’t activate their alarm systems when they are away from home,” he said.  “And when it comes to water damage, it’s worth remembering that 30 drips of water per minute amounts to five gallons per day and that can create a lot of damage to a property, and neighbouring properties in the case of apartment blocks.”

Mr McNelis also advised that consumers and investors with unoccupied properties over the Christmas holiday season could be at risk of having their insurance cover compromised, unless they alert their insurance companies. “The fact that a property may become unoccupied is considered by most insurance companies to be a material fact that could impact cover.  The thinking is that should a problem arise – be it from fire, water or whatever - damage tends to be more extensive and, therefore, more costly to remedy.”

Brokers Ireland is issuing the following check list to help people avoid the distress associated with such eventualities:

·         Check that your alarm system is working and properly activated. Smoke alarm also

·         Don’t broadcast your plans on social media

·         If you have automatic light switches set them to operate in accordance with your normal schedule

·         Ensure all windows and doors are securely locked

·         Cancel all deliveries

·         Consider asking a neighbour to collect your post

·         Store away securely any garden furniture or heaters

·         Unplug all electrical appliances

·         Consider turning off the water supply

·         At minimum check the area under sinks for any leaks