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17 - 23 SEPTEMBER 2010

When north winds blow get covered for winter AS SUMMER turns to autumn anyone who owns property or who runs a business should check that their insurance policies are up to date so that they have cover against damage that may be caused by extreme weather conditions.

by

Michael Olmer

Solicitor, Link Point Legal and Business Services

THE “CONSORCIO” At times of extreme weather and other natural events which cause damage to property you will often hear that claims are being dealt with by the “Consorcio”. This is a body managed by the Spanish government which deals with claims for the cost of repairing such damage to which all insurance companies issuing cover in Spain contribute. You must have a current insurance policy for the Consorcio to deal with your claim. FLOOD The risk that causes most damage in Spain and which is dealt by the Consorcio, is flood. This is defined as flooding of ground, as distinct from buildings as a result of rainfall or

thawing snow, from rivers and lakes bursting their banks, or battering of the sea along the coast. However, the Consorcio does not cover damage caused by rain which falls directly on to property which is insured, or that collected by its roof or roof terrace, its drains, gutters, or its patios. So if your roof or balcony leaks because of heavy rain the cost of repairing that damage is the responsibility of your own insurance company and not the Consorcio. Check your insurance policy carefully, as what may seem to you like a deluge may not fall within its definition of heavy rain. Many insurance policies define heavy rain as being a fall of at least 40 litres per square metre per hour. This equates to 40 millimeters, or just over an inch and a half per hour as measured by the nearest official rain gauge. WIND STORMS The cover for damage due to high winds storm includes, amongst others, gusts, tornadoes and extraordinary winds greater than 135Km/hr (84 mph)

GARDEN STRUCTURES Outhouses, greenhouses, gazebos, fences and pools are not normally covered by domestic insurance policies. You have to take out specific cover for these items. UNDER INSURANCE Being under-insured can have unpleasant and unexpected consequences, especially where it is difficult to value the item being insured. When times are tough, under-insurance is a false economy as in the event of a claim you will not receive the full value of your claim and you may not be able to afford to repair or replace your damaged property. If an item is under-insured the insurer will only pay out in the same proportion that the sum insured actually bears to its true value. As an example, if your car is worth €10,000.00 but the sum insured under your policy is only €5,000.00, you have only insured the car for 50% of its true value. In the event that your car

Link Point Legal and Business Services www.linkpointlegal.com - michaelolmer@linkpointlegal.com

is written off and you need to claim for full amount under the policy, the insurer will only be obliged to pay out in the same proportion; that is 50% of the sum insured under the policy - in other words €2,500.00. OVER INSURANCE On the other hand, over-insurance is money wasted as you will pay a higher premium than necessary for cover you do you not need and will not benefit from. Do not be tempted to inflate an insurance claim. Insurance fraud is a serious crime which can result in imprisonment. Before it’s too late, check that your insurance policy has not lapsed and that you have sufficient cover should the worst happen this winter.

RTN South Edition 570  

RTN South Edition 570