Posted: Monday January 31 2011, Blog Tags:
Massive increase in home insurance could be on the way....find in your area to try and negotiate a better deal.
HARD-pressed consumers are set to be hit in the pocket yet again after insurers announced plans to raise house premiums by 15%, significantly reduce coverage and force customers to pay up to €1,000 of their claim costs.
In the immediate aftermath of the VHI cost increases, new budget levies hitting pay packets for the first time this week and a surge in petrol prices, the Irish Brokers Association (IBA) has revealed the worst is yet to come.
The umbrella group’s director of general services, Brian McNelis, has warned that as a direct result of winter weather-related house insurance claims, premiums are set to rise by up to 15%.
Policy coverage will also be significantly restricted due to the large pay-outs caused by the separate water, flood and snow crises, with "certain benefits" due to be excluded from future deals.
Worse still, premium excesses are predicted to rise, meaning people will have to pay more of the overall claim sent to insurance firms for problems with their home — with rates rising from €150 to over €1,000.
"We anticipate significant price increases from individual insurers, though this will vary considerably," Mr McNelis confirmed.
"Policy covers will be restricted... and in some instances certain benefits will be excluded," he said.
The planned move comes after a spate of up-front and hidden cost rises imposed in recent weeks.
They include controversial coverage cost increases of up to 45% at struggling health insurer VHI on policies due for renewal from tomorrow, with as many as 60% of VHI customers seeing their premiums rise by as much as 15% from the same date.
New taxes linked to last December’s controversial budget announcements are hitting pay-packets for the first time this week, while petrol and diesel costs are continuing to surge towards first-half of 2008 levels.
A recent survey by AA Ireland found 47% of drivers will travel less this year as a direct result of the costs involved.
The series of cost increases hitting ordinary Irish people has been described as "the realm of the ridiculous" by Consumers Association of Ireland chief executive Dermot Jewell.
"There’s no doubt that not one household in the land hasn’t suffered from reduced incomes and new costs. It makes sense that service providers start to acknowledge this.
"The entire situation needs to turn back on the industries involved because this is entirely implausible.
"It defies logic and it is no more than the industries looking after themselves at our expense," he said.
The latest price hike situation comes after hard-pressed consumers faced a significant rise in the cost of living last month despite claims the recession is pushing down prices.
According to the latest consumer price index from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), Irish people witnessed a series of prices rises in December.
This included 1.6% for health insurance premiums, 2.3% in motor insurance, 7.1% in petrol prices, 6.3% in the cost of diesel and a 5.5% jump in hairdressing costs.
Overall, the cost of living in Ireland increased by 1.3% last year, a reality small business group ISME has said is undermining cost-competitiveness and risking more jobs at smaller firms being lost.
Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Irish Examiner