FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
This FAQ has been created to answer most of your queries. If you do not find the answer you are looking for
contact Travers 0402 32204
1. What discounts can I expect to get?
On Home insurance
We are often asked “How can I save money on my house insurance?”
• Sums Insured – always check that your buildings and contents sums insured are adequate for the risk on cover. Often customers over insure and therefore pay a higher premium than necessary.
• Security – advise your broker of any security you have on your home such as smoke alarms, burglar alarms standard or monitored and know if your installer is PSA approved as this can lead to a greater discount. Always be sure to check what warranties may be added to your policy in exchange for this discount and be sure you are happy with the restrictions that apply before accepting the discount
• Heating System – discounts are available for certain types of heating systems such as gas or oil
• Year Built – older houses can warrant higher premiums but remember to specify the year the house was originally built and whether it has in recent years been re-roofed, re-wired and re-plumbed
• First Time Buyers – can obtain a discount so let your broker/insurer know if it is your first ever property purchase
• Age – most Insurers will give a discount if you are over 50
• Claims Free – always disclose any claims you have had regardless of blame or timeframe and the longer you are claims free the better it is for your price
• Contents as % of Buildings – this calculation gives you a more preferential rate with some insurers just be sure that the sums insured are adequate for you
• Other Insurances / Supporting Business – let your broker/insurers know what other insurances you have either with your broker and/or with other insurers as a discount for multiple policies may often apply
• Voluntary Excess – all policies have a standard excess but some insurers are willing to give a discounted price for a higher excess – just be comfortable with the excess level before you go ahead with cover
Please note that all discounts applied are subject to a minimum premium by Insurers.
Call our expert house team today on 0402 32204 and we will gladly help guide you through the best suited policy for your needs.
On Motor Insurance
We are often asked “How do I reduce the cost of my premium without losing my cover?”
• Add Spouse/Partner – this can often lead to a reduced premium provided the driver is accident, claim, conviction and penalty point free
• Multiple Policies – advise your broker of where you hold other insurances as there may be a discount available for having more than one policy
• Low Mileage – if your annual mileage is less than 5000km per year, this will entitle you to a discount
• Homeowner – if you are a homeowner this some motor insurers will give you a further discount
• Vehicle Age – obtaining quotes on older vehicles for instance aged over 10 years can be difficult so having a newer car opens up the market for you leading to more competitive prices
• 2nd Car in Family – if you are named on your partner or spouses car let us know as this may also lead to a 2nd car discount with some insurers
• Claims Free – you can get a discount for each claims-free year you have generally up to a maximum of 5 years or 50% with most Insurers. If you insure more than one vehicle, you mustl earn a no-claims discount on each vehicle separately.
• Penalty Points Free – when you and your additional drivers are penalty points free you may be able to benefit from a discount on your motor insurance premium with some Insurers. To qualify for this, all drivers on the policy must be capable of incurring penalty points for driving offences in Republic of Ireland and must provide a valid Irish driver licence number which can be verified by the National Vehicle Driver File (NVDF).
• Driving Assessment – some insurers provide discounts if you hold an ‘Advanced Driver’ qualification through The IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) in the UK
• Voluntary Excess – all policies have a standard excess but if you avail of a higher excess the Insurer may give you a discounted price. In case a claim arises, just make sure you are happy with the increased excess you agree to for the relatively small discount in return. Please note this discount is only offered on comprehensive policies.
• Modified/Imported Vehicles – premiums on modified/imported vehicles can be heavily loaded by insurers so avoiding these cars can help keep your insurance costs down
• Engine Size – vehicles with lower engine sizes generally have lower premiums so bear this in mind before purchasing a vehicle
• Vehicle Type – always get an insurance quote on the vehicle before you buy it as different models of the same vehicle can be grouped and rated differently. Vehicles will not always be the same price just because the engine size is the same. High performance vehicles will always cost you a higher premium.
Please note that all discounts applied are subject to a minimum premium by Insurers.
Call our expert motor team today on 0402 32204 and we will gladly help guide you through the best suited policy for your needs.
2. What can I do if I am unable to obtain motor insurance?
For assistance, you will now need to contact the Insurance Information Service at Insurance Ireland by phone: 01-6761820, by email to: email@example.com or in writing to: The Secretary, Declined Cases Committee, Insurance Ireland, Insurance Centre, 5 Harbourmaster Place, IFSC, Dublin 1, D01 E7E8.
Insurance Ireland operates a Declined Cases Agreement, which is adhered to by all motor insurers in Ireland. Under the agreement, the insurance market will not refuse to provide insurance to an individual seeking insurance, if he/she has approached at least three insurers and has not been able to obtain cover from them. In general, the insurer first approached will be required to provide the individual with a quote. It is therefore important that the proposer keeps a careful note of the order in which he/she approached each of the three companies. Where an individual has held a policy within the previous three years, the insurance company concerned is obliged to provide the individual with a quotation. Again this is subject to the proviso that refusals have been received from three insurers (of which the previous insurer may be one). The only grounds on which an insurer can refuse cover are where to provide insurance would be contrary to public interest. The agreement is administered by a Committee made up of representatives of each of the companies who have signed the agreement. The Committee also includes a representative of the Consumers’ Association of Ireland and the Financial Services Ombudsman’s Bureau as external observers. If it is impossible to identify which insurer was the first approached for a quote, then a rota of insurers comes into effect and the Committee allocates the risk to the next insurer on the rota. The Committee can also decide whether a quote is so high or the terms so excessive as to make the quote tantamount to a refusal, in which case it will review the matter.
3. What happens if after I have purchased a personal insurance policy I do not think it meets my needs?
If you are unhappy with your new motor, house or travel insurance policy, you can cancel within what is referred to as the cooling-off period of 14 days by giving notice in writing to your Broker/Insurer and returning any relevant documentation within that time period including the motor certificate/disc where applicable. Brokers/Insurers will work out the premium on a pro rata basis for the period you have been insured plus any administration charge they apply and refund the balance from whatever you had already paid to your broker/insurer providing no claims have been made on your policy.
4. How can I be sure who can and cannot drive my vehicle?
Your motor insurance cover is restricted to persons named on the certificate of insurance, including the policyholder. The easiest way is to refer to Paragraph Six on your Certificate which clearly explains who can drive. Other drivers will be named or described. Open Driving is an optional cover which allows other drivers to drive your car. There are acceptance criteria to be eligible for this driver extension. If you have opted for open driving, any driver within a specified age range, which varies between insurers, normally persons aged 25-70 years with a full Irish or EU licence and who are accident, claim, conviction and penalty point free will be covered to drive your car.
5. What is a policy excess?
An excess is the first amount of any loss that you must pay for in the event of making a claim ie. the amount not covered by your policy. This amount is deducted from the total claim settlement figure and Insurers pay the balance. For instance, if your excess is €300 and you’re claiming for €1,000, the insurance settlement that you receive will be €700.
The standard policy excess may vary depending on who the insurer is, the type of loss and/or type of policy. Sometimes you can get a discount on your insurance by taking an additional voluntary excess, ie. increasing the standard policy excess. Please refer to your schedule of insurance and policy document for the excess amount applicable.
6. What should I do when I’ve been in a motor accident?
In the event of an accident you should obtain the following information:
• The names, contact details and car details of all parties involved.
• The insurance details including the policy number of all parties involved.
• Names, Addresses & Contact Details of any witnesses to the incident or members of An Garda Siochána /Police that attended the scene of the accident.
You must also:
• Not admit responsibility or liability for the accident, not sign any statement or negotiate the settlement of any claim, without the written agreement of your Insurer.
• Take details of all injuries and damage sustained. Note the accident location and draw a basic diagram of the location to include road measurements, road signs, markings, traffic signals and the vehicles involved.
• Take photos if possible of the damage to the vehicle(s), of vehicle positions and road layout.
• Complete any accident report form your broker/insurer may issue and return it to them as soon as possible.
• You should notify your broker/insurer immediately of any letters/documents you receive from a third party in connection with the incident before you reply to them.
• Give your broker/insurer as much information as possible and assist when required.
• Notify your broker/insurer immediately of any impending prosecution, inquest or fatal inquiry, writ or summons.
• Send your broker/insurer, as soon as possible, any writ or summons, letter or other documents you may receive.
• The registration and insurance details of your vehicle should be provided to any other party involved and also to An Garda Siochána/Police, if requested.
• Report the incident/accident to An Garda Siobhána within 24 hours. If any person is injured, you are required by law to report the accident to An Garda Siochána/Police, whether they attend the scene of not. If you do not do so, your Insurers may reserve their right not to pay a claim. Please note that Insurers are entitled, at any stage during any claim, to take over and conduct the defence or settlement of the claim, and, at their discretion, to pursue the claim for their own benefit in the name of any person insured.
7. What claims do not affect my motor no claims discount?
The following claim types will not affect your motor no claims discount with most insurers:
• Glass Breakage including windscreen, windows or scratches to paintwork from broken glass
• Fire Damage to Vehicle
• Theft of Vehicle
• Lost/Replacement Keys
• Legal Expenses
It is always advisable to first check with your broker/insurer before making a claim of any type as to how it might affect you in terms of your no claims discount entitlement, renewal premium and any potential claims loading applied thereafter.
If a small claim payment is met under your policy at the time of a loss and at a later stage, you decide it best not to have this count as a claim against your No Claims Discount, you could put in a request to repay the claim payment to the insurer and the insurer might agree to reinstate your No Claims Discount.
8. How do I calculate how much cover I need for:
It is very important that the sum you insure your buildings for is sufficient to reinstate your buildings should they be completely destroyed as a result of an insured event. It is not the market value of the house to a prospective buyer but the total rebuild cost of the house that the sum insured should represent. Please bear in mind that in line with the policy definition of Buildings, determining reinstatement costs of Buildings goes beyond the basic structure of the house itself and should include permanent fixtures and fittings, outbuildings, garages, driveways, patios, paths, fences, gates, fixed fuel tanks along with the other ancillary costs such as removal of debris and professional fees. For a good guide on how to calculate rebuilding costs for home insurance visit http://www.scsi.ie (“The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland”).
We strongly recommend that you review your Buildings Sum Insured on a regular basis (at least annually) to ensure that they remain up to date and adequate to meet your house insurance protection requirements.
Similarly, Contents Sums Insured should be adequate, by including provision for the replacement cost, as new at today’s prices, of all the items you would reasonably take with you if you were moving house. This should include all your personal possessions (clothes, jewellery etc), furniture (beds, sofas etc), electrical goods (TV entertainment items etc) household white goods (washing machine, fridge). We would recommend that you go through every room in the house and undertake an inventory of all your contents using a good Contents Calculator for guidance. Do not forget that there may be items in your loft or attic, your garage or garden shed that may need to be included under your contents sum insured.
Within your Contents, there is what every insurer refers to as Valuables or High Risk Items defined as items such as jewellery, items of gold, silver or other precious metals, timepieces, photographic equipment, binoculars, works of art, antiques, furs, musical instruments, collections of stamps, coins or medals, TV, video, audio and computer equipment. Please bear in mind that these items are not fully covered but limited to a certain maximum value.
On most policies, any individual item valued at over €2,000 should be listed individually. If you only want to cover these individual items whilst in the home you can specify them as high value items. If you would like to cover to be extended outside the home, you will need to specify the individual items as all risk items.
We strongly recommend that you review your Contents Sum Insured on a regular basis (at least annually) to ensure that they remain up to date and adequate to meet your house insurance protection requirements.
9. What is the advantage of appointing your own loss assessor on a house/property claim?
An insurance policy is easy to buy, but making a justifiable claim is now very time consuming and increasingly complex. The broker’s key role as an intermediary is to sell insurance policies and advise you on the types of cover you require and then arrange this cover at best possible terms. If you purchased your policy through a broker, when it comes to your claim they will assist and liaise between you and the insurance company. Unfortunately, very few brokers have the time, resources or expertise to dedicate to claims management on behalf of our clients, which is why many brokers recommend you appoint a loss assessor.
Many people don’t know the difference between a loss assessor and a loss adjuster. A loss assessor, sometimes known as a public loss assessor (PLA), acts on behalf of the policyholder who has suffered damage to their house/property and needs help making an insurance claim. Loss adjusters on the other hand, appointed by and sent out by insurers to evaluate the damage, work to protect the interest of and report to the insurance company (who pays their fees) and even if outwardly friendly and helpful, they will adjust your claim as economically as possible and won’t advise you if you forget to claim for something that you are entitled to under your insurance policy. As you know, the typical house or commercial policy contains hundreds of provisions and stipulations – various warranties, endorsements, extensions and exclusions that are constantly changing and complex details about your obligations in the event of a loss. Most people do not know or understand these policy provisions – and most do not realise that the burden of proof is on them, the policyholder.
The advantage of having your own loss assessor is that it takes the burden and stress away from having to handle your own insurance claim. Loss assessors provide a complete claims management service and can professionally advise, support, assess, prepare and negotiate the insurance claim from start to finish when you have suffered a loss, whether it be damage as a result of Flood, Storm, Water, Fire & Smoke, Theft, Oil Leak, Subsidence etc. They will also keep you updated at all times throughout the claims process.
Loss assessors do charge a fee, agreed, in advance with the Insured, normally based on a percentage of the final claim settlement value usually about 10%, so unlike most other professionals their fees are directly related to performance. The difference they can make more than offsets their fees. The role of the loss assessor is to ensure that you get the best possible settlement within the terms of your insurance policy, ie. that you receive everything you are entitled to and bring the settlement to a fair, cost effective and speedy conclusion on your behalf.
A fire in the home is a traumatic experience for the whole family. Physical damage from the fire can extend into areas not visible and the soot will find its way into every nook and cranny in the house. The soot is corrosive and will eat into the electronic components of TVs, Videos, DVDs and so on.
Many issues need to be addressed such as:
Where do you stay while repairs are being carried out?
How long will it take?
Do you have to use the insurance company’s surveyors and contractors?
Who decides what work has to be done?
How will you know if the work is being carried out correctly?
Who will prepare the contents and compensation claims?
How will you know you’re getting what you’re entitled to?
Who will co-ordinate the claims and deal with the daily telephone calls, meetings with the insurance company, loss adjuster, surveyor, contractors, suppliers etc?
Unless you appoint an independent loss assessor, you as the policyholder are responsible for all of the above and the preparation of the claim etc. Additionally, unless you happen to be an insurance expert yourself, you simply won’t know whether what the loss adjustor is telling you is correct or not, or whether you are getting what you’re entitled to.
You should call in professionaI help at the earliest possible opportunity particularly in view of the fact that what you do or say at the beginning of a claim may turn out to have serious implications for the eventual outcome. In some circumstances, the insurance company can reject a claim. An insurance policy is a contract, or agreement between two parties. As one of those parties, the insurer can deny the claim if for instance it considers you have not met policy conditions/warranties, if the claim is not covered by the policy, or if it suspects fraud. This does not mean they are correct or justified in doing so, and this is where a loss assessor would come in, to professionally represent you and fight for the claim to be properly settled. When dealing with rejected and other contentious or complex claims, they can make the difference between you receiving a payment or nothing at all.
10. What does Retention mean?
Retention is included in some claim settlement offers by insurers. Essentially it is money held back by the insurance company until the final work is completed and usually subject to a date by which the work must be completed. Once the final works are completed by the stipulated date, the final invoices for all the work carried out must be provided, so that the insurance company can verify these and that you employed registered contractors and that works are completed are to the requested standard. The insurance company are also well within their rights to request photographs of the completed works and/or an inspection of the property. Once satisfied, the insurance company will then release the retention amount and issue confirmation details of the full and final settlement.
11. What information databases do insurance companies share or have access to?
Claims Information is shared by insurance companies on Insurance Link, a shared industry database created by Insurance Ireland that allows (subject to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner Code of Practice for Insurers) Insurers to check disclosed claims information provided by policyholders/claimants when taking out a policy or making a new claim with recorded claims history information. The purpose of Insurance Link is to ensure that information about claims provided by policyholders/claimants matches with the information on the database. This is essential to protect policyholders/claimants by ensuring that correct information about them is held on the system and to protect policyholders against fraudulent claims. Information on the Insurance Link database is available on www.inslink.ie.
Integrated Information Data Service (IIDS)
Penalty Points and No Claims Discount Information is shared on a database that, by arrangement with the Department of Transport, allows Insurers confirm the accuracy of penalty point and no-claims discount information provided by customers when they are seeking to renew existing or taking out new motor policies.
Automatic Number-Plate Recognition (ANPR)
All Vehicles Insured Information is stored on a centralised database that allows the Garda Siochána to confirm the insurance status of any vehicle. The ANPR is already reducing the cost of motor claims in Ireland.