They say that the only problem with insurance is that you do not know what you have bought until you really need it, and it is then, if you have not been advised correctly or you have failed to comply with the small print, that you might find you have nothing at all.
Burke Insurance offers the following advice based on the team's experience and where they have sometimes seen problems arise for their clients.
A common problem at claim time with commercial property insurance risks, and indeed in property owner's insurance where someone has a rented house, is non disclosure of the use of the premises or the type of tenant in the building. Examples in these area would typically be a unit in a commercial premises which changes from a floor retailer to a tyre centre, or in a domestic case where the tenants change from family to a group of five students.
Failure to advise insurers of changes like these means a problem at the time of claim for the landlord, and pleading innocence is of no value when it comes to the insurers paying a claim. It is better to face up to the problem before the claim arises and not be living with the prospect of your claim being declined and your money wasted.
In the property insurance area also, and indeed the liability as well, but less so, is the issue of non disclosure of claims from prior policies. The problem is that in most cases the insurers do not check your history before you take out your policy – but they do when you have a claim, and even a claim that you had on a different policy will be relevant and may cause your claim to be thrown out if you have not disclosed all in advance.
Burke Insurance advises that you shop cautiously and buy your insurance with your eyes open. Do not rush, and make sure you disclose everything to avoid finding out there is a problem when a claim presents. Find out early and have it right, and as is often the case, the cheapest is not always the best.
Sean Burke FCII is managing director of Burke Insurances Ltd, Woodquay, phone 091 563518 or see www.burkeins.ie
Burke Insurances celebrates its 50th year in business this year.