Insurers pick up the tab for nights of riots

Insurers have confirmed property owners in cities hit by riots that they will pay out for damage to their homes and businesses.

The cost of arson, looting and vandalism in cities across the UK is still being totted up, but insurance company expect the bill to run in to tens of millions.

At a time when premiums are already increasing as claims rise, the bill is only likely to add to the financial woes of home insurance customers.

London has seen several successive nights of riots – although the public disorder is not officially a riot until the Home Secretary proclaims the troubles as one.

Many owners and tenants  fled their homes in neighbourhoods across the capital as masked, knife-wielding gangs of thugs have smashed and burned homes, businesses and vehicles.

 Many have looked on as flames destroyed their homes and possessions.

The violence also spread across the UK to Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham and Bristol.

“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. We urge people to contact their insurer as soon as possible to check what they are covered for and arrange for immediate help,” said Nick Starling, of the Association of British Insurers.

Riot victims should contact their insurer through their 24-hour claims lines, and the ABI confirms policies will cover losses due to fire, looting or vandalism, plus alternative accommodation if they cannot return home.

“Most commercial insurance policies will cover businesses for damage to their premises, including the interruption to their business as a result.,” said Starling. “Some policies will also cover those businesses which are not damaged, but whose trade is affected by the aftermath. Insurers are working as quickly as they can to deal with claims.

“However, access to dangerous buildings which are also crime scenes is a serious issue. It is too early for us to have an accurate picture of total costs, especially business interruption costs, but insurers are expecting significant losses of at least tens of millions.”

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