With Hurricane Ophelia signalling the start of what may be a wet and windy winter for Louth and the rest of the country, AA Home Insurance is warning homeowners to take the time to carry out any home repairs that had been ignored over the summer months.
While recent research from the home insurance provider found that just 1% of homeowners intend on having flood resilience work carried out on their home this year, there are a number of steps homeowners can take to minimise any risk to their property in the coming months.
In advance of Hurricane Ophelia homeowners are being advised to ensure any loose items in their garden, such as chairs and tools, are properly secured, while also ensuring that their car is parked in an area away from trees or buildings to prevent it being damaged by debris.
Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs at AA Ireland warns, "This year the winter season has kicked off a little early with Hurricane Ophelia potentially bringing significant winds and rainfall in the coming days.
"Unfortunately for homeowners, in part because of how mild the past few months have been, these conditions may catch them by surprise and they may not be properly prepared,” he continues.
“With wet conditions to be expected over the coming months it’s important that homeowners take the time to clear out their gutters and check their roof for loose tiles or leaks.
"Every year water damage is a major cause of home insurance claims in Ireland, particularly between the months of October and January, but taking the time to prepare your home now can help you avoid any hassle at a later stage.”
Should weather conditions worsen significantly in the coming days, however, homeowners are advised to exercise additional caution before carrying out any repairs.
“Sometimes it takes a storm or extreme winds to remind us of some DIY work that we had previously forgotten about, but if your home is damaged in any way by freak weather conditions it’s important that you wait until conditions have improved before beginning repairs,” Faughnan added.
“Your primary concern over the coming months, if serious weather events occur, should be the safety of yourself and your family.
"If your property is seriously damaged by water or debris contact your home insurance provider as soon as possible as they will be able to advise if alternative accommodation costs will be covered in the event of significant damage and also give you advice on how to proceed with the repair work", he concludes.
Separately, in advance of an expected busy winter season, the organisations breakdown assistance service AA Rescue has planned to increase the number of patrols it will have available to assist drivers in the coming months.