Insurers should cover riot damageIndustry braced for car and home insurance claims

09 August 2011

Homeowners and drivers should be able to lodge insurance claims stemming from the riots in London and other major cities.

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), damage caused by fire, looting and theft should be covered under home insurance policies. 

Many policies will also cover people for accommodation costs if they cannot remain in their home due to the damage incurred. Businesses will also be able to claim under commercial insurance policies.

Check insurance coverage

Nick Starling, director of general insurance and health at the ABI said: 'We have every sympathy for residents and business owners who have suffered damage to their properties. This is a time of enormous stress for them and their insurers will be on hand to answer any questions that they may have.'

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: 'If your home or car has been damaged, contact your insurer immediately to check if you're covered and make a claim.'

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Car insurance claims should be covered

Car insurance policies will also cover losses, although the level of cover will depend on whether the policyholder has third party only, third party fire and theft or comprehensive insurance, which will cover all losses, including malicious damage. 

The ABI has told Which?: 'The insurance industry is currently receiving claims, and payouts will be made as soon as possible. Consumers should contact their insurer and the police as soon as possible, so that advice can be given on how to make their property safe.'

RBS, one of the UK's biggest insurers, told Which?: 'All home and motor insurance policies underwritten by Direct Line, Churchill, and UKI (Direct Line, Churchill, Privilege, RBS, NatWest, One Account, BMW, Mini, Ulster Bank, Virgin Money, Lombard, MBNA, Prudential, Royal London) offer cover for damage caused by riots and civil commotion within Great Britain, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Customers should contact their insurer as soon as possible so that their claim can be processed in the most efficient way.'

Aviva told us: 'Home and motor customers are covered as standard for any damage caused as a result of riot or civil commotion and malicious damage.'

Do not delay lodging claims

Meanwhile, Graeme Trudgill from the British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA) told us: 'The insurance industry has stepped up and is addressing consumers' concerns. Most operate 24-hour claim-lines, which can help people arrange for emergency repairs and for damage to be inspected as quickly as possible. 

'Consumers should not delay lodging claims as some insurers will impose limits on how soon after an incident claims need to be made.'

Premiums set to rise

One ramification of the rioting will be an increase in premiums, as insurers struggle to cope with claims that are believed to run into the tens of millions of pounds. It will make it all the more important to shop around for cover when current policies expire.  

Visit the Which? Recommended Provider reviews on home insurance and car insurance for more information on policies.

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