An estimated 50% of apartment dwellers are without cover

An apartment complex fire like this could cost tenants thousands in lost and damaged property

In the wake of the devastating fire in the apartment block in Blanchardstown last month, the hundreds of thousands of people living in apartments across Ireland are being urged to ensure they have adequate insurance in place to protect them from significant financial loss on the back of accidents like the one that has discommoded hundreds of residents of the Dublin development.

Online insurance brokers Insuremyhouse.ie have reported to being “inundated” with calls from concerned apartment owners all over the country following the news of the Blanchardstown fire.

Home insurance expert and managing director of Insuremyhouse.ie, Jonathan Hehir contends that based on his experience on the ground, half of those who live in apartments do not have insurance cover in place – in stark contrast with people who live in houses,

As the damage has been assessed and calculated in recent weeks, the tenants affected by the fire who did not have contents insurance in place but whose property was damaged will have found themselves significantly out of pocket. Apartments are generally insured under a block policy regardless of whether the apartments are rented or owned. However, while the block policy typically protects the building and structure from perils such as fire, flood and storm damage, it usually doesn’t extend to contents. 

So, it is imperative that people living in apartments, whether they rent or own them, take out contents cover – which typically covers loss or damage to items such as furniture, electrical appliances items, clothes, jewellery and money, amongst other things. Otherwise, you’ll get nothing from an insurer towards the cost of repairing or replacing a damaged item. The entire value of the contents in an apartment could easily run into the €10,000’s, possibly even up to €100,000.”

Insuremyhouse.ie says this brings forth a wider issue of lack of insurance for tenants in general. Recent figures from the CSO show that there are more than 600,000 tenants in this country, and about one in three rental properties in Ireland are apartments.

Mr Hehir believes that many tenants of both apartment and houses are unaware of their potential shortfall in contents cover,

While a landlord is required to have insurance in place for the property, this is in respect of the structural dwelling only. A landlord is not required to have insurance in place to cover a tenant’s personal belongings.

Tenants therefore need to arrange their contents insurance to cover their possessions and belongings. Otherwise, they leave themselves hugely exposed – not just in the event of a fire but in the event of burglaries or floods too”.