Prepare for strong winds and cold temperatures this winter

Follow these tips to help prepare for high winds and freezing temperatures this winter.

When strong winds are forecast:

  • Make sure that the property is well maintained and drains are cleared regularly
  • Roofs should be inspected regularly for loose slates/tiles and poor guttering.
  • Trees should be maintained and dead/vulnerable branches should be removed.
  • Outdoor items such as patio heaters, furniture, barbeques, bins and animal feeders should be secured or securely stored.
  • Gates, doors, sheds and fences should all be closed and locked.

What you should do after a storm:

  • Contact Clearys Loss Assessors on 1850 28 1850 to register any claim for damage and any discuss repair work required.
  • Do not re-enter structurally damaged buildings until advised that it safe to do so.

article-2530915-1A586FB200000578-664_964x641Preparing for freezing temperatures:

A burst pipe in your attic, if unaddressed, can be as devastating as a flood through the front door. It probably represents the greatest risk posed to your home by freezing conditions. Freeze thaw action can also cause structural damage.

How to prepare for the freeze:

  • Lag/insulate outdoor pipes, attic tanks and supply pipes.
  • If a property is unoccupied, the water should be shut. Run the hot taps to drain the attic tank. If your home is unoccupied for any period during cold weather, leave the heating on to protect pipes from freezing and bursting.
  • Open the attic door to allow heat into your attic. This helps to prevent the pipework and tanks in your attic from freezing.
  • Leave the underside of the attic tank un-insulated to allow warm air to reach the tank.

In the event of a burst pipe:

  • Turn off the water supply immediately.
  • Turn off water dependent appliances including your boiler.
  • If the water leak is from the attic/above ceiling level, turn off the water supply and turn on all hot taps to drain remaining water out of attic tanks as quickly as possible.
  • Engage a professional immediately to stem any flow and make repairs to prevent further damage.
  • Report the incident to Clearys Loss Assessors immediately and do not effect any permanent repairs until all damage has been assessed and repairs are agreed with us.
  • If appliances are affected, turn off the power at the mains board if safe to do so.

In the event of a leak:

  • Retain all damaged material as it may be crucial to establishing the nature of loss, assessing damage and validating your claim.
  • Contact Clearys Loss Assessors on 1850 28 1850 to register any claim for damage and to discuss repair work required.
  • Ventilate, gently heat and dehumidify the property.
  • Do not re-engage utilities until they have been checked by a competent and qualified professional.

Drying up your home after the floods is a challenge

The Office of Public Works recently published a guide to restoring your home or business from the recent floods in Ireland.  We suppose that almost a month after the disaster the initial restoring works like cleaning are already done, but if you still struggle with the longest process of all – drying you place, then we can help you. Here is a short guide to how to deal with remaining water or moisture in your home or business building.

House Flood

Air circulation is the best way to dry out a property and clear the air inside. Be patient and make sure the property is completely dry before you move back in.

Some Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Do open your doors and windows to ventilate your home.
  • Do ensure your house is secure.
  • Do unblock airbricks and vents.
  • Do wash your hands with disinfectant if you came into direct contact with water.
  • Do check external walls and the roof for structural damage before entering a property.
  • Don’t attempt to turn on any services until they have been checked by an expert.
  • Don’t attempt to move any heavy or unstable objects by yourself – get help.

Drying the property:

  • You can allow your property to dry naturally, but that can take months. Forcing the drying process can speed it up so that it only takes a number of weeks. Whatever way you choose to dry your property, make sure that the moisture trapped within the structure of the property is removed. Sometimes the walls may feel dry on the outside but they are still damp internally. If in doubt get a professional in to ensure that your property is completely dry.
  • If your heating has been tested by a professional and is certified safe to use, it can be turned on to help dry the house. Keep the temperature at around 20 to 22 degrees celcius. Excessive temperatures should be avoided as rapid heating may lead to cracking of plaster work, etc.
  • Be aware that temperature alone will not dry your property. Air circulation and humidity are critical factors to consider.
  • Good ventilation is essential so keep windows and doors open during good weather and ajar during wet weather.
  • If you are using a dehumidifier leave external windows and doors closed, especially during wet weather.

If you haven’t still contacted you insurance company for a claim settlement, you can always first refer to an expert loss assessors company like Clearys Loss Assessors. Hence, you might get an additional advice and guidance for obtaining a better settlement.

Holiday season is here! Get your property ready!

Holiday season is the time when many people decide to leave their home and spend the Christmas vacation in the mountain or in their holiday home. Before you leave there are a couple of things which you have to take care of so that your primary residence stays in top shape. We have thought of everything. Take a look at these simple steps to follow when you have to winterize a house.

“Pack, lock and go”

But before that make sure:

  1. Make sure motion sensor lights and central station alarms are working and set before you leave home.
  2. Turn off water at the main shut-off valve, unless some household items require it to remain on. Such items may include an ice maker, an automatic sprinkler system that doesn’t have a separate shut-off, and a pool.
  3. Most newer water heaters are equipped with”vacation” mod setting. Turn it on. The water heater will run occasionally but not nearly as often as it does normally.
  4. Toilets can collect bacteria, which can cause stains. Pour a half cup of chlorine into the bowl (not the tank).
  5. A continually dark house, both inside and out, can be a signal to a burglar that no one is home. Turn off all lights except the ones you want as security measures. Put the security lights on variable timers
  6. Make sure to hide the keys to the garage in a safe and not visible place and to lock the door that leads to the garage. Do not leave any spare keys for the car in the house in case the car is parked in the garage.
  7. Make sure the fridge is empty or at least that the food left in there will still be good after the holidays.
  8. Turn all ringers off and the answering machine muted.
  9. This is the perfect time to spray the house for pest control.
  10. You have done a great job! Bravo! Now go and have fun!

Electricity -the major cause of accidental fires

Government statistics show that electricity causes more than 20,000 fires a year – almost half of all accidental UK house fires. Each year, about 70 people are killed and 350,000 are seriously injured due to an electrical accident in the home. Although many incidents are caused by faulty appliances rather that the electrical installation itself, a properly-installed and well-maintained installation could significantly reduce the possibility of an accident or injury. So, it is important that any electrical installation work is carried out only by people who are competent. This means people who have the knowledge, skills and experience needed to avoid dangers to themselves and others that electricity can create. It’s easy to make an electrical circuit work – it’s far harder to make the circuit work safely.

How old is your wiring?

Electricity is usually out of sight, out of mind because cables are conveniently hidden inside our walls and switches and sockets. So it’s not surprising that we forget to check our electrical installations for wear and tear. Faulty and aging wiring is one of the major causes of electrical fires in the home. You can avoid these by having regular checks carried out on the condition of your cables, switches, sockets and other accessories. There are clear signs that can help you tell the age of electrical installation in your home. These are:

  • Cables coated in black rubber (phased out in the 1960s);
  • Cables coated in lead or fabric (before the1960s);
  • A fusebox with a wooden back, cast iron switches, or a haphazard mixture of fuse boxes (before the 1960s);
  • Older round pin sockets and round light switches, braided flex hanging from ceiling roses, brown and black switches and sockets mounted in skirting boards (before the 1960s); and
  • Wall-mounted light switches in bathrooms (before the 1960s).

HELP!! I am a victim of a burglary! What to do now?

According to a survey of the national crime league, published in the Irish Examiner, each 19 minutes a burglary is committed in Ireland where the average value of goods stolen is 1,868 Euros. The Central Statistics Office indicates that there were a total of 28,706 burglaries or burglary-related offences in 2012 – an increase of 7.9 per cent on the previous year. These figures could be worrying for many homeowners, as a burglary can be costly, frightening and deeply upsetting.

We have prepared an emergency list of 10 steps to follow if you are a victim of burglary. They’ll help keep you and your family safe, while giving you the very best chance of making a successful insurance claim.

10-point burglary checklist:

  1. If you find that your home has been burgled, it’s important to call the Police straightaway.
  2. If you suspect that the burglar may still be inside your property, call the Police from a mobile or from a neighbour’s phone.
  3. Don’t start to clean up or move anything until the Police have had chance to inspect the scene, or you could be damaging vital evidence. They are likely to send specialist officers who will take a statement from you, as well as photographs and fingerprints.
  4. Ask for the reference number of the crime, you might need it later when filling in documentation .
  5. If your bank or credit cards have been taken, call their emergency number and have them stopped. These services are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so don’t delay. If any important documents are missing, such as your passport, report that too.
  6. Contact an insurance Loss Assessor, like Clearys Loss Assessors. This is the best way of ensuring you receive a full and fair settlement from your insurers.
  7. As their first priority, your loss assessor will send out approved contractors and locksmiths to secure your property. They will board up any broken windows and replace any damaged locks. They are your friends and will help you deal with the stressful situation.
  8. Check your home for damage and start to make a list of items that are missing. If possible include model and serial numbers, as well as any purchase receipts you have. Give this list to your loss assessor, who will assist you in preparing an inventory of all lost and damaged items for presentation to your insurers.
  9. Your loss assessor will then contact your insurance company on your behalf, making them aware of the burglary and giving them your crime number and inventory. They will then act on your behalf throughout your burglary insurance claim.
  10. Once the Police have concluded their enquiries, it’s worth reviewing the security of your home. If you don’t already have them, fit locks to your windows and security bolts to your doors. You might also consider installing a burglar alarm.

 

Here comes the sun…..

Protect Yourself from the sun..and if you are away from your home, protect yourself from burglary:

1. Secure your windows. In warmer weather, we are more inclined to leave windows or doors unlocked and this is an open invitation to thieves.  Even open windows on a second or third level put you at risk, as thieves can and will find a way up there. It’s also smart to keep obvious valuables away from windows, so as to not tempt thieves on the prowl.

2. Get a home security system.
It should come as no surprise that the number one tool for crime prevention in your home is a home security system. When confronted with a functioning alarm system, burglars commit crimes elsewhere. If you’re serious about protecting your home and family, purchasing a home security system should be your first move. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either; some companies will give you the home security system for free, you just have to pay for the monthly monitoring. 

3. Shed some light on the situation.
Keeping your outside entryways lit provides you with security when you return home late at night and also has a big effect on home security.

4. Protect your valuables.
A professional thief knows all the obvious hiding places – a freezer, under the mattress or in a biscuit tin. Avoid hiding your valuables in these places.   Nowadays, safes are easily affordable & available and can be secured making access harder for burglars.

6. Protect your identity:Thieves these days are after more than just your jewelery and valuables. Personal information and financial records that make it easy for a thief to steal your identity are also a target. Protect this valuable information by securing it in a safe, and use a shredder to limit the amount of personal information available to thieves.

7. Make your home look “lived in.”
Burglars typically steer clear of homes that are occupied. That’s why it’s important to set lights on timers and leave a radio or TV on when you leave the house. Make sure your timers have a random option that will turn lights on at different times on different days, making it harder for a burglar to detect an obvious pattern. 

8. Know your Neighbours.
A good relationship with your neighbours is a strong asset when it comes to home security. You can’t always be home, so it can be a great comfort to know that others are looking out for you. In addition to forming relationships with your neighbours, you may want to help form a neighborhood watch scheme

9. Keep a detailed inventory of the valuables in your home. If you have a burglary, having a detailed list of the valuable items in your home will help the gardai more quickly recover your stolen property. It will also help with making an insurance claim. If creating a list seems daunting, pick up your camera and take pictures of your valuables. Make sure you store copies of your photos on a DVD or hard drive, and keep these storage devices in a safe place. 


 

 

 

 

 

Leaked Oil seeps through to Neighbours Semi-D – A Case Study

What do do if you detect an oil leak from your tank or associated pipes.

The problem was discovered in the adjoining property and until detailed investigations took place, no one knew the source of the small or the extent of the contamination. The two neighbours had two different Insurance Companies which meant two different teams of people dealing with the event as if it were two separate and individual problems. The Insurance Companies made the whole issue more difficult because neither would accept liability initially. Both insurers argued that it was the others problem. Eventually, the escape of oil was deemed accidental and there was no negligence on the part of either paty and therefor no payment arose under the public liability section of the policy. At this point both insurance companies paid for the de-contamination work by the specialist environmental clean=up companies in the properties they insured. The clean up process must first involve sampling from the ground below the building, the building fabric itself and of course the air in the building. This process produces evidence of the measure of the contamination and the extent of the contamination plume. From this evidence, all parties may then agree the specification for the technical clean-up work and any demolition, removal and rebuilding work required to the building. Even in domestic situations, this clean up process may take 3-6 months where the property is probably unusable. At the end of the repair work, the premises will again need to be tested for any residual contamination (especially the air) for certification that the environmental measures are within acceptable limits i.e that the clean up has worked. Clearly the householder in this type of case requires specific specialised expert advice to avoid the many pitfalls that can arise. Call us today on 1850 28 1850

Is home insurance necessary?

Its 2012 and as the days and months go by, more and more people are considering more ways in which they can cut down on their monthly outgoings. There is a high percentage of people in the country wrapped up in a financial quagmire and may are really finding it difficult to make ends meet. And they look at all expenditure, including home insurance.

Our advice is this: Make Sure Your Home Is Insured – Cut No Corners  and here’s why:

1. We have worked with thousands of clients in the past 25 years and have helped them recover from flood, fire, property damage as a result of burglary, subsistence claims and leaking pipe damage plus many more. In the vast majority of cases, we were able to help the client recover their loss by working with them and their insurance company. All these clients were insured.

2. The emotional and financial pressure experienced by clients in the face of an event is immense. Having insurance eases some of this pressure in the immediate aftermath and makes it all so much more bearable as time goes on and the recovery process starts.

3. If you are suffering financially right now, neglecting your insurance and subsequently suffering a loss with massively increase your pain and suffering. Its a gamble that you may be considering but no good gambler takes unnecessary risks.

Working with a loss assessor like Clearys will ensure that if you do suffer a loos, your claim will be managed professionally, promptly and with empathy at all times. Call us today to discuss your claim…

Recovering after a Burglary in your home

If you have suffered the trauma of a home burglary, you will have experienced the emotions of anger, fear, indignation, disgust and a sense of loss and invasion of privacy. It can take some time for the recovery to even start to begin. There are a few things that you can do. Not it may seem like you are locking the door after the horse has bolted, but why tempt fate and allow it to happen again. A quick return to normality is the best route to take, blended with taking some preventative measures.

In the immediate aftermath of the burglary, you will need to prepare a loss and damages report. Clearys Loss Assessors will complete this work for you in a thorough and professional manner, taking the headache of your insurance claim away and expediting your claim through the system as quickly as possible.

You may already have printed photos of your belongings, or receits for their purchase, or evidence of you using the items such as jewellery. Please make these available. Create a list of all items stolen and be as descriptive as you can. Your home and contents will cover you for replacement of same items. Clearys will assist you through this porcess.

Carry out a full security audit of your home ensuring all windows have locks and are locked. Do the same with doors. If you have a habit of leaving doors unlocked while indoors, then it may be time to learn some new habits.

Check your alarm system – is it being used all the time. Check your home insurance policy in relation to alarm

Check your routines – are you and your family predictable in your movements – Would someone be able to predict your movements.

Develop a security conscious mindset and also begin to focus on your future. Reliving moments from the burglary will only keep you there and that’s not good. Call Clearys on 1850 28 1850 today to discuss your burglary

 

Retention in Property Damage Insurance Claims

We are finding more and more that insurers are holding in excess of 30 – 40% of a property damage claim settlement until the client can prove that the work specified in the settlement has been carried out and that invoices are available up to and exceeding the value of the settlement. Retentions are “assumed” to be the difference between insurer’s liability on an indemnity basis and that of reinstatement (i.e. effectively New for Old). The levels of retention however are in our view far in excess of a realistic and fair measure of indemnity – particularly in cases of relatively new residential properties, where actual wear and tear could be argued as extremely nominal.

 

Many issues arise in this area but firstly why is this happening and who benefits. Clearly the insurer benefits from the retention of cash-flow initially. The issue becomes much more significant I believe when one considers that many retentions are ultimately never actually pursued by the client because of the various unfair aspects of the system being applied. For example Loss Adjusters are setting deadlines to have works completed which in many cases do not consider the clients ability to manage a small building project (this is despite the fact that the client is actually entitled to professional fees to have this work done for them) once the deadline passes and works are not complete insurers close the file and make a big deal about re-opening the case. We see many cases where contractors VAT registration is not current – when this happens payment is not made to the client – so the client suffers again.

 

If the client pursues the retention but has not completed all of the work agreed in the settlement for whatever reason again the retention is withheld. This position also applies if the full amount of settlement is not spent on repairs and this may apply to “parts” of the settlement such as Professional Fees or VAT for example.

 

This may be a risky game for insurers as the amounts being held could be argued as being excessive and therefore insurers are not actually paying their true liability under the terms of the policy. This could be a big area of concern in these days of consumer protection and questionable banking and finacial practices.