People affected by Storm Gerrit urged to contact insurers for help and advice

People and businesses affected by damage caused by Storm Gerrit should contact their insurer as soon as possible for help and advice, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has said.

Wind warnings have been put in place across swathes of the UK and those making their way home after the Christmas break have been warned to watch out for potentially hazardous conditions as well as delays.

The ABI said that the priority for insurers will be to support customers affected by the storm to recover as quickly as possible.

ABI spokesperson Malcolm Tarling said: “Whenever and wherever bad weather strikes, insurers are ready to help their customers.

“Storm Gerrit could be a nasty, expensive and inconvenient experience for some, and the priority for insurers will be to help affected homeowners, businesses and drivers recover as soon as possible. If you suffer damage to your property, contact your insurer as soon as you can for help and advice.”

Anyone needing to travel should regularly check and follow transport advice, leave as much extra time as they can for the journey and drive with care – for example, in heavy rain and wind allow sufficient space from the vehicle in front, the ABI said.

Comprehensive motor insurance policies will cover storm damage to vehicles.

If someone’s home is affected by storm damage, they should contact their insurer as soon as possible. Many insurers have 24-hour emergency helplines.

If necessary, people may arrange temporary emergency repairs to stop any damage getting worse, but the ABI said they should speak to their insurer first.

If someone has to arrange emergency repairs themselves, they should tell their insurer and keep any receipts, as this will form part of their claim.

The ABI said people should not be in a rush to throw away damaged items, unless they are a danger to health, as these may be able to be repaired or restored. Insurers will be able to advise their customers on this.

If someone’s home is uninhabitable while repairs are being carried out, their insurer should arrange for, and pay the cost of, any alternative temporary accommodation.

Commercial polices will cover damage to premises and stock. Business interruption cover (which may be included or purchased separately) will cover additional trading costs, such as hiring temporary alternative trading premises if necessary.

The ABI recently released figures indicating the average cost of a home insurance payout has surged by 64% annually.

In the year to September 30, the average sum paid out by home insurers was £4,096 – a 64% increase on the average cost of £2,491 for a claim in the previous year.

The general increase in the cost of living has had an impact on the costs borne by insurers, with higher prices of raw materials, energy, fuel and labour playing a part.

Shortages of both materials and labour have also been a factor.

On top of this, extreme temperatures have triggered claims, with a surge in subsidence claims being seen by insurers following hot summer weather as well as a spate of burst pipe claims following last winter’s cold snap.

Higher costs for insurers also have an impact on the prices paid by consumers.

The ABI’s property insurance premium tracker, which is based on the prices customers actually pay for their cover rather than quotes, indicates that, in the third quarter of this year, the average price paid for a combined home buildings and contents policy was £350.

This is a 15% or £46 increase, compared with the third quarter of 2022.

The ABI also recently estimated that insurers will pay out approximately £560 million to cover the damage by the recent storms Babet, Ciaran and Debi.