UK riots: insurers 'will pay claims then recover money from the police'
Britain’s police forces could face a bill for tens of millions of pounds from insurance companies because property was damaged in the rioting while the “police effectively failed to keep law and order”.

The Telegraph | August 9, 2011
By Rosie Murray-West, Deputy Personal Finance Editor

Grahame Trudgill, the head of corporate affairs for the British Insurance Brokers' Association (Biba), said insurance companies had the right to reclaim the money under the Riot Damages Act of 1886.

He said members would “respond” to claims from householders and small businesses, and would then attempt to reclaim the money from the police. Biba’s brokers handle around half of the value of all home contents, motor, travel, commercial and industrial insurance policies in the UK.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI), the trade body for insurance companies, said damages from the three nights of civil unrest would cost “well over £100m”. Most insurers have said they will honour claims for damage caused by the rioting.

Nick Starling, the director of general insurance and health at the ABI, said home insurance policies “should cover people for fire, looting or damage caused". He added: "Many policies will also cover people for accommodation costs if they can’t stay in their home.”

Most commercial insurance policies will cover businesses for damage to their premises, including the interruption to their business as a result, while some policies will also cover businesses that are not damaged but whose trade is affected by the aftermath.

Those affected by the rioting should contact their insurers as soon as possible. Mr Trudgill said there was a 14-day window to make a claim to the police under the Riot Damages Act, and therefore many insurers would want any claims for riot or civil commotion damages to be made within seven days. This is likely to be a requirement in most insurance policies.

He said there were “technicalities” related to insurance policies that meant that people should check with their individual insurer to find out what was covered. Most people will be covered for damage to their properties, but if they are on holiday and have to come home because a property has been burned out, their travel policy is unlikely to cover them unless the police have requested that they return home.

Those who have third party, fire and theft insurance on their cars will be covered if their car is burned out, but not if someone puts a brick through the window.

Insurers Direct Line and the AA confirmed this morning that they would cover home insurance claims for the riots. ‘’Direct Line home insurance customers with either standard or home plus policies are covered for riots and civil commotion and should call us in the first instance, so that we can help them process their claim in the most efficient way,” said a Direct Line spokesman.

Direct Line includes the Churchill insurance brand.