THE impact of week’s severe storms across Limerick is only now being fully realised as property owners begin to add up the cost of the damage.
By far the most severe destruction was caused by falling trees which damaged not only properties themselves, but cars, commercial vehicles and power lines.
John Lenahan, an insurance loss adjustor with Lenahan Keyes and Associates in Annacotty, said that the fact that the ground was saturated as a result of heavy rain throughout January combined with the high winds last Wednesday caused a huge number of trees to fall.
“A lot of properties were damaged by falling trees and unfortunately insurance policies exclude gates, fences and hedges,” he explained.
“Nonetheless, if a tree falls on a house, the damage is covered and the cost of removal of the tree,” said Mr Lenahan.
He added that there was “widespread damage to roofs” with tiles, slates and roof tiles as well as copper flashing having to be replaced after trees and branches fell on them.
In suburban areas, a large number of flat roofs were damaged, while in rural areas, there was a lot of damage to farm outbuildings such as large haybarns, lean-tos and cattle sheds.
“All that has driven a massive number of claims that is probably unprecedented in terms of storms in the Munster and South Leinster area,” he added.
The storms also resulted in some 30,000 homes and businesses across Limerick being left without electricity for varying periods of time.
Many householders subsequently had to throw out the contents of their freezers which had thawed as a result of the prolonged power outages.
“With the major outages there have been and with the delays in getting power back, there have been a lot of spoilages of food,” he said.
In this instance, Mr Lenahan recommends that they check their home insurance policy to see if this loss is covered.
Where cars have been damaged by trees and other debris, he recommends contacting the motor insurer. Comprehensive insurance should cover this type of damage.
The severity and widespread nature of last week’s storms – following on from severe flooding earlier in the year –means that many insurers are having difficulty processing the volume of claims. “This is leading to massive delays and a lot of pressure on the system and frustration on the part of people,” said Mr Lenahan who provides a professional loss assessment service to the public. People who have suffered damage are advised to check their insurance schemes to find out the extent and type of their cover.