Page last updated at 12:58 GMT, Sunday, 22 November 2009

Floods claims in Cumbria and Scotland could top 100m

Local resident Sue Cashmore: "You just think how many more times"

Flood claims in Cumbria and south Scotland could exceed £100m, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

The ABI say it is too early to say what the total damage bill will be, but indications are that insurers have already received up to 1,000 claims.

People in Cumbria are facing a massive clear-up operation after floods swept across the county.

More than 1,300 homes were hit and many were left without power or mains water.

The ABI is urging those affected by the floods to contact their insurer as soon as possible.

'Devastated'

"If you need alternative accommodation, that's usually covered in your policy so your insurance company will make sure you've got payments for any accommodation you may need," Kelly Ostler-Coyle from the ABI said.

Many insurance companies have set up 24-hour hotlines to help those in the flooded areas get in touch, as well as trying to contact homeowners directly.

"Events like this really do show the need for insurance and how much your life can be devastated if you don't have it in place," said Ms Ostler-Coyle.

She told the BBC that she didn't expect insurance premiums to rise generally as a result of the claims, saying that this type of damage was not unusual in any given year.

"We do have floods most years and we are used to paying these sorts of claims. 2007 was an exceptional year with £3bn worth of damage but at the moment this isn't on that level," she said.

Flood warnings

There are currently 19 flood warnings in force across south-western and northern parts of England, Scotland and Wales.

There is also a Met Office warning for localised flooding in western counties of Northern Ireland.

Four "severe" flood warnings - posing a threat of "extreme danger to life and property" - still apply to Cumbria.

Around 20,000 flood defence bags are to be handed out to people in Cockermouth and Keswick.

A safety review of all 1,800 bridges in Cumbria is being carried out as the flooding has already caused six to collapse.



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