This guide is intended to assist you in insuring your home and briefly explains some of the more important aspects of house insurance.
It also seeks to emphasise the importance of adequately insuring what is probably your most valuable possession.
Remember that home insurance policies differ, some covering more than others; hence the importance of examining your policy carefully and insuring for the correct amount.
The costs included in this guide are a guideline to the MINIMUM value for which you should insure the structure of your house. Applying these rates to the area of your house will give you a base, which you should add to in order to cover other costs, such as boundary walls, garages, fitted kitchens, etc.
The insurance value for houses varies greatly depending on the type of house, i.e., Georgian, modern, with or without basement, etc.
The costs in this guide are intended to cover typical, speculatively built estate type houses in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Waterford and Limerick and the North West and North East regions, which were built since the 1960s.
If you have another type of house, for instance a Georgian or Victorian house, the costs in this guide will not be appropriate to adequately insure your house. If you have a house of this more unusual type, you should have a reinstatement cost assessment carried out by a Chartered Quantity Surveyor. The costs are calculated on a total loss situation, i.e., the house has been totally destroyed and has to be demolished and totally rebuilt. In addition to demolition and reconstruction, the costs also allow for Building Surveyors’/Architects’/Quantity surveyors’ fees, and for Value Added Tax (VAT) at the correct rates at the time of printing this guide.
The costs do not include any allowance for contents such as carpets, curtains, loose furniture and domestic appliances. A separate insurance policy for contents is required. The guide should not be used for assessing liability for Local Property Tax.
It is sometimes thought that the market value of the house, in other words the price achieved when the property is sold on the open market, is the value for which the property should be insured. This is, however, irrelevant as the market value of a property generally has little relationship to the reinstatement value.
The average clause
Unless your property is insured adequately, you may be penalised under your policy by having to pay a certain proportion of the reinstatement costs. It is therefore extremely important to have the property sufficiently insured. Where, for example, the insured sum is only 75% of the total reinstatement cost, you will only receive 75% of the agreed cost of reinstatement, whether the claim is made for partial replacement or total loss.
For example, in the case of a house insured for €270,000, where the total reinstatement cost was €360,000, the insured party would receive only €270,000 to reinstate the house in the event of the total loss. The insured party would thus be obliged to provide the balance of €90,000.
Similarly if there is a partial loss, which costs €60,000 to repair, the insured party would only receive €270,000 - €360,000 X €60,000 = €45,000 and would have to provide the balance of €15,000.
Most insurance is intended to leave you in substantially the same positionafter the damage as before. Therefore, in order to avoid problems withdeductions for wear and tear, you should make sure that your policy includescover for full reinstatement, or “new for old”.
How to use measure your house
■ If your house conforms to the standard types in the included in the calculator menu, you can use the following method to give a broad indication as to the amount for which you should insure.
■ You should calculate the total floor area of your house by measuring the internal length and breadth of the house and multiplying these measurements together.
■ Normally the upper floor is the same size as the ground floor. However, if it is different you should calculate each area separately. The area of the ground and upper floors should be added to give the total floor area of the house.
■ You should add for higher than average kitchen fittings, built-in wardrobes, finishes, etc. You should also add for fire alarms and security alarms, and for any outbuildings, walls, fences, patios, etc.
It is essential that you re-assess your level of cover every year, based on current rebuilding costs, making allowance for any improvements or extensions that you may have made since your last renewal date.
The reinstatement costs outlined will cover the cost of rebuilding your home in compliance with current building regulations.
In case of doubt concerning any aspect of your policy, you should contact your insurance company or broker.
1. The figures shown in the table are a MINIMUM base cost guide for your house insurance.
2. The figures are based on estate-type houses built in the Dublin, Cork, Galway, Waterford, Limerick, North West and North East areas since the 1960s. They exclude: (a) properties with more than two storeys or with basements, (b) ‘one-off’ houses with special design features or period houses; and, (c) apartments/residential flats. The insurance of apartments is covered in the block service charge. Owners should confirm with their management companies/agents that their apartment block has been valued for insurance purposes, and that the insured value is current.
3. The figures assume a basic quality specification with normal foundations, brick/block walls, concrete tiled roof, concrete ground floor and timber first floor, softwood flush doors and hardwood double glazed windows, painted plaster to walls, plastered ceilings, standard electrics and central heating. The sum insured should be increased to allow for better than average kitchen fittings, built-in wardrobes, finishes and any other items not normally included in an estate-type house.
4. House contents such as carpets, curtains, furniture, etc., are not covered by the figures.
5. No allowance has been made for the cost of outbuildings, patios or boundary walls. The figures do, however, allow for a concrete path around the house, for driveway repairs and regrassing.
6. The figures allow for demolition costs, professional fees incurred in reinstatement and VAT at 13.5% on building costs and 23% on professional fees.
7. The amounts included for professional fees have been calculated to cover the following services:
Building Surveyor/Architect: prepare working drawings and specification, and administer the building contract.
Quantity surveyor: invite and examine tenders, process payments and agree final account.
Engineer: advice on structural issues.
Fees associated with the preparation.
Provision has not been included to cover the cost of a structural engineer,who might be required in some cases. Fees associated with the preparation of insurance claims are not included.
8. The costs are based on building rates ruling in March 2014.
This house rebuilding guide including the cost calculator (“the Guide”) was produced by the Quantity Surveying Professional Group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (“SCSI”). Whilst all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in the Guide, the SCSI does not accept any liability of any kind whatsoever in respect of, or arising out of the Guide, or any error or omission therein, or from the reliance by any person on the Guide for any purpose.
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