Storm damage could increase premiums

Karrie Gillett/PA Wire

Both home owners and motorists should be prepared for an increase in insurance premiums after storms battering the country over the last few days have caused significant damage.

AA Insurance says the extreme weather has led to 200 percent increase in calls to claim lines compared to the same time last year.

Increased claims

Motor insurers reported a big increase in claims, particularly from owners whose cars had been damaged by flying tiles, fallen trees and branches and other debris. Meanwhile the AA Home Emergency Response said it has seen a twelvefold increase in the number of roofing claims it deal with.

The AA is expected to publish data imminently showing that motor insurance costs remained flat over the last quarter of 2011, while home insurance premiums rose by about 3 percent.

Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance says: "Last year it was snow and ice, this year high winds and heavy rain: both bring a sharp increase in home insurance and emergency claims."
He said that common claims were for windows broken by falling tree branches or roof tiles as well as falling gutters and aerials. "Comparatively minor damage to a roof can be significantly worsened by high winds and we are seeing claims of this kind, too" he said.

Getting worse

AA Insurance says that it is important to ensure that damage isn't allowed to get worse but acknowledges that repairs are also being hampered by the weather conditions.
"The conditions expected across the UK and especially in the North, Scotland and South Wales over the next few days will make it difficult for roofing contractors to get out to customers and carry out repairs," said Mr Douglas.
"But insurance companies will be trying their best to help customers avoid additional damage being caused by prioritising those who are in vulnerable situations and worst affected."

Ian Crowder, a spokesman for AA Insurance told the Telegraph: "Major weather events like this, causing widespread damage are not going to help insurance costs come down."

He said although there wouldn't be a sharp increase in premiums, the cost of building insurance in particular was likely to continue to rise this year, as insurers expect "extreme weather" conditions to become more frequent and will want to ensure they have sufficient reserves to meet future claims.
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