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Is it only a matter of time until insurers exclude riots?

Burnt car in London riots

I’ve seen heart-warming images of local communities taking to the streets to clean up the UK cities affected by the riots. But how do you start to help those whose homes, cars or businesses have been destroyed?

This support from helpers must give the police, firebrigades and local councils a remarkable boost. And their actions offer a much-needed restoration of faith to those who have suffered incredible losses over the past few days.

I’ve been touched to see pop-up donation points spring up across the cities. Requests for clothes, bedding, toys and kitchenware have been flooding across Twitter today.

Insurance in extreme circumstances

For those who lost their cars, homes or businesses as a result of arson, burglary and vandalism, the healing process will take some time to take effect. The very thin silver lining is that those with buildings and contents or car insurance should be covered for the damage.

This might come as a surprise – and perhaps you’d take it for granted that your policy would cover you – what else is insurance for if not for extreme situations like this?

Well, we had to do a quick rummage through insurance polices to check that most would not exclude damage as result of riots. Our findings, and correspondence with the Association of British Insurers, showed that most would cover you. However, several exclude riots in Northern Ireland, and some in the Channel Islands.

Will riots be covered in future?

The prospect of future exclusions rang alarm bells for our insurance expert, Dan Moore:

‘When something becomes a ‘known risk’ it’s often just a matter of time before exclusions seep into insurance policies. We’ll be on the look out in the upcoming months to see whether some insurers exclude riots from their cover.’

Reports today suggest the claims on insurance will reach over £100 million, and premiums for those affected by the riots are predicted to increase by 15%.

If you do need to lodge an insurance claim, we’ve outlined the steps and put together some template letters to ease the process. It’s worth noting that you need to act quickly if your property or car has been affected.

Many insurers offer limited period in which to make a claim – sometimes just seven days. And you’re likely to need a crime reference number (available from your local police service) to support your claim. Do you know if your insurance covers you for riots? I’ll certainly be digging out my policy to check.

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Profile photo of Patrick Steen
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In a statement to the House of Commons, Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed compensation would be available under the Riot Damages Act for homeowners and businesses with properties destroyed by the violence and looting of the past few days.

You can read more about this on Which.co.uk here: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2011/08/uninsured-can-claim-compensation-under-the-riot-damages-act-262334/

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Sophie Gilbert says:
16 August 2011

I can’t say that riots are something I’ve ever worried about when it comes to my insurance policy, but I’m not surprised to hear that insurances companies will probably look to exclude them from your cover. Their sole aim is to make as much money as possible, not to help people as best they can.

Profile photo of richard
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Well as riots only occur under Tory “governments” The answer is simple – Get rid of the Tories.

Profile photo of richard
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One last swipe – If the government covers riot damages already – why should an insurance cover it anyway.? They are very rare occurrences