Storm damage accounts for 1 in 5 claims

Homeowners urged to check they are not underinsured and to take preventative action around the home

Burst pipes and water leaks were the main reason homeowners claimed on their house insurance in 2023, with two in five (41pc) claims made last year arising on foot of such damage, new figures[1] from Peopl Insurance show.

The figures, based on Peopl Insurance’s internal data, reveal that the three most common reasons for house insurance claims in 2023 were escape of water, including burst pipes and water leaks from household appliances (41pc of claims), storm and flood damage (20pc) and fire damage (11pc).

Commenting on the figures, Paul Walsh, spokesman for Peopl Insurance said:

The figures are evidence of the toll that bad weather is having on homes across the country. Towards the end of 2023, Ireland experienced a series of back-to-back storms, with a total of nine storms hitting Ireland in the last four months of 2023[2]. The flooding and destruction left in the wake of these storms is becoming all too common and it is no surprise to us that storms now account for one in five of home insurance claims – and are the second most common reason behind home insurance claims today.”

The Top Ten Reasons for Home Insurance Claims in 2023, according to Peopl’s figures, were:

  1. Escape of Water (41%)
  2. Storm and Flood (20%)
  3. Fire (11%)
  4. Accidental damage (5.5%)
  5. Subsidence (4.5%)
  6. Oil[3] (4%)
  7. Theft (3%)
  8. All risks[4] (2.5%)
  9. Impact[5] (1%)
  10. Lightning (0.5%)

Mr Walsh added:

“As well as the violent storms which have battered the country in recent years, Ireland has had its fair share of freezing weather and it is then that burst pipes often arise. Homeowners should not underestimate the extent of the damage that can be caused by this.

A burst pipe could cost tens of thousands of euro worth of damage if water is left running for a few days. The bill for the damage could even be more if a pipe bursts while you’re away as you’ll likely have to replace plasterboard, walls, wardrobes, kitchen units and so on – and you’ll probably have to repair electrical damage too.

The damage caused by storms and fire can also be substantial.

This all highlights the importance of home insurance – as without it, many homeowners could face sky high repair bills which they might not be able to afford.

One of the most pressing “dangers” when it comes to home insurance is not just the reason behind the claims – but underinsurance itself.  While there have been huge improvements in the area of underinsurance in the last 24 months –  as a result of new rules brought in by the Central Bank, we still continue to see a significant number of instances where people simply underestimated the value of their home and the contents within. Or in many cases, people don’t reevaluate their sum insured for many years, meaning that increases in building costs and improvements made to the home over the years are not factored in.

To ensure you don’t get caught out by underinsurance, make sure the buildings sum insured – which is the most your insurer will pay if your home is damaged or destroyed and needs to be rebuilt – is right. Also make sure the contents sum insured – which is the most your insurer will pay if the contents in your home are damaged or destroyed – is correct.”

Peopl is also urging homeowners to step simple steps around their home so they can protect themselves from, and prevent, some of the most common problems arising. This includes:

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and test these alarms regularly.
  • Ensure there is a working fire extinguisher or fire blanket on every level of a house.
  • Be careful of candles – never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Make sure the water tank and pipes in your attic are properly lagged or insulated. Don’t forget any pipes in unheated or draughty places, such as basements or garages – or outdoor pipes. Should your home have a well, make sure you have insulated any outdoor well pipes.
  • Insulate or wrap a towel around any outside taps to prevent them from freezing.
  • Repair leaking or dripping taps or pipes.
  • Cut down – or top – large trees which are very close to your home.
  • Check all your gutters and drains are clean and clear of any leaves or other debris – as this could cause blockages and lead to flooding.
  • Check your flat roof for any wear and tear or damage – and address any issues before bad weather hits.
  • Protect your home against floods if you’re in a flood-prone area.
  • Install an intruder alarm and get it serviced and checked regularly.
[1]Based on Peopl Insurance’s internal data. See below for full figures.
[2]As per info from Storm Centre Ireland
[3]Such as leaks from an oil tank or other fixed heating installation
[4]All Risks is an optional extension of cover under your home insurance policy which protects you against loss or theft of, or accidental damage to, personal valuables. These could include jewellery, clothing, photographic or sports equipment to name but a few. This cover is for both inside and outside your home. It can also cover you for items you take abroad – up to a certain amount of time.
[5]Includes damage caused by the impact by aircraft or other flying objects or articles dropped and which then hit the home.
TOP TEN HOUSE INSURANCE CLAIMS IN 2023


Type of damage claimed for


Percentage (%) of overall household claims for 2023


Escape of water (burst pipes and water leaks in the home)


41


Storm (including floods)


20


Fire


11


Accidental damage


5.5


Subsidence


4.5


Oil


4


Theft


3


All Risks


2.5


Impact


1


Lightning


0.5


Source: Peopl Insurance internal claims data. The above claims add up to 93% of household claims for 2023, with the

remaining 7% falling into the ‘Other’ category.