10 simple steps that everyone should take
A recent survey of 400 homeowners, by online home insurance broker www.insuremyhouse.ie, has revealed that Irish people take a very pro-active approach to minding themselves & their properties. The Insuremyhouse.ie survey revealed that 89% of people have checked their smoke alarm in the last few months - suggesting that many have a genuine fear of a fire in their home, while 78% reported that they have never allowed their home insurance cover to lapse.
21% say they know someone who has been burgled in the last 24 months. This comes just weeks after the CSO have released their updated crime statistics for 2017 – revealing a 3.3% increase in burglaries nationwide, from 18,478 in 2016 to 19,092 in 2017. However, figures in Co. Tipperary are bucking the trend, with a significant decrease of 15% in the no. of incidences of burglary - from 434 incidences in 2016 to 375 in 2017.
Speaking of the findings Deirdre McCarthy of Insuremyhouse.ie,
“When it comes to safeguarding our homes, it seems that as a nation we are pretty good at it. Our survey found that, on the whole, people definitely get the basics right. It’s very encouraging to see how vigilant people are toward smoke alarms, because the threat of fire in the home is always there and can have a devasting repercussions.
Over the years, we have certainly noticed that people have become more aware of the frequency of home insurance claims – this could well be down to the storms and extreme weather of recent years – the effects of which on homeowners have been well documented.
Also, it’s telling that 1 in 5 of our respondent’s say they have either been burgled or know of someone who has been in the last 2 years”.
Insuremyhouse.ie say that aside from home insurance being required by all mortgage lenders as a pre-requisite to securing a mortgage, the need for home insurance cannot be denied.
Ms. McCarthy went on,
“The stats are telling – fires and burglaries affect thousands of homes across the country every year. If you do not have the financial protections in place, then you could be left in a very precarious position. The Department of Housing & Local Government reported that there were 4977 recorded fires in domestic properties in 2016 – 674 of which were in Tipperary.
Ms. McCarthy continued,
“While our findings are strong, there’s always going to be a cohort of people who, for one reason or another, might not take action when they should – or who might not even know that there are some things they need to do. With these people in mind we have developed a “protect your home 101 guide – just 10 simple steps that everyone should take”.
Lock doors & windows whenever the house is vacant and when going to bed. This may sound like an obvious one, but you would be surprised how many people either forget or simply don’t bother checking these.
If you have a house alarm - use it. This is important for two reasons, the first of which being the obvious one that it will go off if someone is trying to trespass on your properties. But the second reason is that if, when taking out home insurance, you told your insurer you have an alarm, but subsequently fail to use it, then you could be in trouble if you need to make a claim.
Take care when installing smoke alarms – and ensure you have the correct number to service your home. The Dept. recommend 4 for an average house. Test alarms & check batteries frequently.
Never leave open flames or fires unattended. Even if you are just “running to the corner shop” - once a fire starts it will be a lot quicker at spreading, than you will be at walking or driving from the store.
Clear gutters and drains periodically. A build-up of debris can cause problems in many ways.
Have your gas and/ electrical heating systems checked regularly by a qualified expert.
If the house is going to be vacant for a period of time, for example, you are going on holidays, if at all possible, give a friend or neighbour a key so they can do things like pull up or down blinds, remove mail from the letterbox, if there is a period of cold weather they may need to run the taps to prevent them from freezing etc.
Take a home “Inventory” periodically so, if you do need to make a claim for whatever reason, you can easily identify the items that have been damaged or stolen.
Invest in some of the smart home apps that are now available on the market, these can control the heating, lights & alarm of a house just to name some of the functions. If you are away on holidays you can still turn on the lights or heating. If you leave the house without setting the alarm in error you will be able to switch it on from your phone.
Invest in security lights to light up the outside area of the property & to keep potential burglars from entering the property