"Insurers are expected to pay for the damage"
Insurers have reassured landlords with rental properties in riot-hit cities that their homes and businesses are protected.
Shocking images of burning buildings, cars and buses have lit up the news reports as gangs of rioters smash their way into shops and homes.
Key targets for the rampaging thugs are pubs, off licences and electrical goods stores.
Many owners and tenants have fled their homes in fear of masked, knife-wielding gangs, while others have watched as their homes and belongings burn to the ground leaving them with nothing but the clothes they stand in.
London has seen the worst arson, riots and looting in Tottenham, Walthamstow, Brixton, Hackney, Peckham, Ealing, Croydon and Clapham Junction. The violence has also spread 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.
Many insurance firms have 24-hour claims lines, and the ABI confirms most home insurance policies should cover riot victims for losses due to fire, looting or vandalism.
Anyone who has lost or fled their home should have cover for alternative accommodation.
“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.”