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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Insuring against Acts of God ]

Insuring against Acts of God

IF NOTHING else, the recent spate of storms and torrential rain has proved how important it is to fully insure our homes and cars.

Pancyprian Insurance, for example, plans to pay out a total of around €280, 000 to compensate homeowners for the recent flood damages. Whilst most of the claims are small a couple, which are still under consideration, are very large totalling €130, 000 in the case of a private residence where the damage to contents was particularly expensive and €85, 000 in a separate case where a clothes warehouse located in a basement was filled with water to a depth of 1.80 metres.

Allianz has so far received 60 claims for damages to houses/buildings and contents from the recent flooding and the cost of these is being estimated at around €500,000.

Markos Christofides of Allianz said that the big pitfall of home insurance is that the compensation which will be received is subject to what is known as ‘the average clause’, which is used by all insurance companies on the island. This clause means that the compensation you will receive for damage to your house will be assessed at the house’s current price (to rebuild it), not the price you initially paid for it. The technical details of it will be explained by any insurer on the island upon enquiry, but what it amounts to is that the indemnity you receive for damages will be reduced.

The big benefit of ordinary home insurance is that it normally includes coverage for “Acts of God”, referring to floods, earthquakes, tornados, storms and the like. This meant that, after the recent floods, most found that they were covered by their home insurance policies.

Insurance companies are fast when assessing damage. Most claims result in an assessor being sent out the same day and small payouts, such as for limited damages, are usually made within a week. When a payout is large or a claim complex it often takes longer to agree on the amount being claimed. “However, once the amount is agreed it is paid immediately.” said Michalis Bibis, director of Pancyprian Insurance.

Jimmy Mavroudis from Lymba, who lost his roof to the storms, said he was very happy with Pancyprian’s overall service.

“We made a claim last week and they sent an assessor the same day,” he said. “The assessor said ‘I might spot stuff you haven’t noticed.’ instead of trying to avoid paying.”

Car insurance, by contrast, does not ordinarily include coverage for “Acts of God”. Third party liability is compulsory by law – and this is what most people opt for – but comprehensive coverage including damages to your own car obviously costs extra. On top of this comprehensive cover a special premium will ordinarily have to be paid to be insured against Acts of God, such as a tree falling on your car due to a tornado. Some higher-end comprehensive insurance packages do, however, include Acts of God coverage as standard without an extra premium being needed. Again, it is something to ask about specifically when choosing an insurance package.

“Unfortunately the majority of insurance customers are not insurance minded,” commented Markos Christofides of Allianz. “They arrange an insurance policy because it is compulsory (motor insurance) or house insurance because the bank from where they have borrowed the money is asking for insurance.” This in turn means that many of them are not clear about the sort of policy cover they have bought and paid for and so, if the time to claim does come, end up simply getting what they can.

Most insurance companies offer basic packages, usually around four, in each field such as home or car. Beyond that, packages can be adjusted by paying additional premiums for extra cover and tailor-made packages can also be arranged.

When shopping for insurance Christofides recommended to have in mind not only the premium you will pay but what your needs are. Then compare the coverage which the different insurance companies are offering as well as how reliable the insurance company is and how fast they say they will pay for damages.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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