The recent riots in England have undoubtedly got many thinking about who will pay for the millions of pounds worth of damage that has been caused. It seems likely that Insurers will be footing the majority of that bill.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) estimates that insured losses and damage suffered by individuals and UK businesses are likely to be well over £100 million. The ABI recently issued guidance on the legal position of riot compensation. Whilst the ABI has re-assured customers that they are covered for riot damage under the home and business insurance, as ever, people need to read the small print in their insurance policies.

Of course, insurance policies vary, with different requirements and exclusions. Here are a few common traps that people fall into when they fail to read the detail:

Time Limits

Most insurance policies provide the insured with a certain amount of time within which to make a claim. Those wishing to make a claim should therefore check the wording of their policy carefully in order to ensure that they comply with all its requirements. Any claim made outwith the requisite time frame is likely to be rejected.


Insurance policies will often have certain exclusions. Most insurance policies will not cover you for floods (as opposed to storm or water damage) which many people found out to their cost following the floods in recent years.  A standard exclusion is also for prior claims or circumstances – bear in mind that the insurance contract is one of utmost good faith, and relevant information ought to be disclosed at the time the proposal form is completed. 


Remember that, notwithstanding the fact that you have dutifully paid your premiums year after year, Insurers may still decline to cover you for a claim or loss (and, in extreme cases, may void the policy). Common reasons for withdrawal of cover are failure to disclose information that ought to have been disclosed at inception, or failing to observe certain policy conditions, such as not admitting liability or offering to settle without insurers consent, or subsequent failure to provide insurers with information when it is sought. Again, the small print of the policy should be considered in detail in order to ensure that all requirements with regard to disclosure and the level of assistance that is required from you are met.