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Fair Weather Insurance

By Paul Walsh, spokesman for Peopl Insurance

With the first bank holiday of the summer almost here, many of us are already dreaming of warmer and sunnier days. However, before embracing the more outdoorsy lifestyle that the Irish summer should hopefully afford us, or embarking on anyway getaways to the sunny south-east, Wild Atlantic Way, or even further afield, it would pay to check that you are fully versed in and prepared for any fair weather insurance mishaps that the season might throw your way.

Garden furniture

Whether you’ve recently splashed out on garden furniture or a new patio or decking, or you’re planning to do so this summer, it’s important to know what insurance cover, if any, you have for these items.

Standard home insurance policies with buildings and contents cover will generally extend to insure your garden and certain outdoor structures – such as decking and patios. There are, however, limits to the amount of cover available as well as exclusions which you need to be aware of.

Some insurers will cover items such as garden furniture up a certain amount if they are stolen or damaged. The amount of cover given is usually in the range of €650 to €1,500 in any one claim, depending on the policy. But they may not cover accidental damage of outdoor furniture. Furthermore, as most garden furniture is stored outside, damage caused by frost or weather-related wear and tear is generally excluded.

Many insurers allow you to upgrade your cover for outdoor items for an additional cost, which would protect you for accidental damage and/or possibly the full value of your garden furniture. Bear in mind though that even if you take this extra cover, it might be a condition of your policy that you securely store or cover expensive items.

While most home insurers cover damage caused by a storm or fallen trees, that cover may be restricted to sheds and outbuildings – and may not extend to furniture and other contents left in the garden. So it’s important to check the small print of your policy here as cover often varies, depending on the insurer.

If you have spent or intend to spend money on an outdoor structure such as a patio or garden cabin, you should notify your insurer to check if it will be covered. Typically, structures like this are protected by your buildings cover (the part of your home insurance which covers the physical structure of your home against damage). Your buildings cover should reflect the cost of rebuilding your home in the event of damage – so failure to adjust this cover in line with any outdoor structures you have recently built could mean you’re underinsured.

Underinsuring your home and its contents could see you having to foot a big chunk of the repair bills, because your insurer will usually reduce its payout by the amount you’ve underinsured yourself by.


BBQ fires are a risk to be mindful of over the sunnier months. If there’s serious damage to your home because of a BBQ fire getting out of control, your home insurance will usually cover the repairs – but only if you’ve ensured your home insurance provides an adequate amount of cover.

With more people hosting barbecues in their gardens over the summer, a visitor to your home could become injured and then seek compensation. Most home insurance policies include public liability cover which protects you in such an event.

Green fingers

If there is ever a time of year that people become “green-fingered”, it’s the summer and some people spend a not insignificant amount on gardening tools and equipment to maintain their patch – no matter how big or small.

Many people don’t think of what’s “outside” the home when totting up their valuables to calculate their contents cover.

We always advise people to check their home insurance policy to see whether or not they could rely on it to cover damage to, or the theft of, garden maintenance equipment.

Be vigilant about where you leave your ride-on lawnmower, or any other expensive equipment. Some home insurers only cover theft of these items if they’re stolen from a locked shed. Even where a home insurer covers the theft of contents left out in the open, there may be a limit to the amount of cover available or there might be a requirement to list these items on your policy, depending on value.

Weather extremes

Ireland is not immune to the extreme weather events that are becoming so frequent now. There have been serious wildfires in Ireland in recent summers. Flooding and thunderstorms are also common and could cause severe damage to your home. This is another reason why it is so important to check that the buildings sum insured – which is the most your insurer will pay if your home is damaged or destroyed and needs to be rebuilt – is sufficient.

Accidents in the garden

Accidents at home or in the garden which involve a family or household member are generally not covered by house insurance. You normally must have personal accident or family personal accident insurance on your policy to be covered here  – and some insurers allow you to buy this as an optional extra on your home insurance policy, for an additional charge. Check your home insurance policy to see if you have this add-on – and if so, what exactly it covers. Bear in mind that even if you have personal accident cover on your home insurance, it may only cover certain injuries.

In the event you or a family member becomes injured at home, you may be able claim back some, or all, of the hospital bill through your private health insurance (if you have this cover).

Children jumping around bouncy castles and into paddling pools is a common sight in gardens across Ireland throughout the summer. While a happy occurrence for the most part, parents should remember that if another child is injured at your home, a stark reality is that the parents of that child could sue you for damages. Your home insurance may cover you in such an event – but this will depend on your insurer and the conditions of your policy. If hiring a bouncy castle, it is strongly advised to make sure the hire company has its own public liability insurance cover.


It’s not just us who spend more time outdoors in the summer – balmier weather means our pets also like to enjoy more garden time. Standard home insurance won’t usually cover you if your pet is stolen from your home or garden over the summer. You will need pet insurance to cover you here.

Summer break-ins

Summer can be a busy time for burglars as they will be aware that many people are away this time of year.

Again, this is another reason to make sure you have adequately insured all the contents of your home. It might be a few years since you looked at this – and you may well have bought a new tv, laptop or jewellery in the interim. So, make sure to review your cover.

If you’re going away for any extended period, it’s important to check the unoccupancy clause in your home insurance policy. This clause limits the amount of time you can leave your home unoccupied for before cover expires. This limit is typically between 30 and 60 days in a row, depending on the insurer so you may not be covered for any loss in, or damage to, your property if you return home from an extended holiday of a month or two, or more. So, check the number of days that your property is allowed to be unoccupied for before cover expires and if any trip abroad is longer than this, contact your insurer or broker and come to an arrangement to ensure you are covered for the entire duration of your trip.


For some people, particularly those living – or who own second properties – in a scenic spot in Ireland, the summer could provide an opportunity to earn extra money by renting out their properties, or part of them, to tourists.

Be aware of the limitations in your home insurance if doing so.

Under standard home insurance policies, you usually will not be covered for any damage caused by – or to – paying guests in your property, whether renting out a room in your own home through Airbnb or renting out a holiday home to tourists.

You will need adequate cover to protect yourself if a paying guest is injured on, or indeed damages, your property. Holiday home insurance or Airbnb insurance should offer adequate cover in such instances, though be sure to check the small print of the policy to ensure you are covered. It may be worth getting the advice of an insurance broker to ensure you get the most suitable cover and, that you don’t pay for cover that you already have elsewhere.