Page last updated at 00:07 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Winter weather insurance claims hit 650m

Snow puts van in ditch
The weather made driving conditions tough for motorists

Insurers paid out £650m from 335,000 claims made as a result of damage caused by the wintry weather in the UK, figures show.

The biggest chunk of the payout was to motorists who damaged vehicles on the slippery roads, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said.

January was the eighth coldest on record and the UK's worst since 1987.

The bad weather hit businesses and consumers with sectors including retail and the housing market suffering.


The ABI said that the winter weather cost insurers £650m for claims made in the UK from 18 December to 13 January.

I have not had an accident for a lot of years, but now this is a black mark against my name
Motorist David Balfour

Homes, vehicles and businesses were all damaged as a result of the winter weather.

Specifically, £395m has been paid out to motorists. Many of the 268,400 motor insurance claims were for accidental damage caused to vehicles.

They included a claim from David Balfour, of Grangemouth, central Scotland, who suffered two accidents in the space of a few days.

The IT engineer, who has completed an advanced driving test, said he was travelling at 15mph when he lost control of his van which slid off the road and hit a small wall.

He was disappointed that he could not claim against the local authority which he believed had not done enough to grit the roads.

"I have not had an accident for a lot of years, but now this is a black mark against my name," he said, fearing a rise in premiums.

A few days later he was driving, with his wife and one-year-old daughter also in the car, when their Jaguar was damaged by potholes.

This time they decided to pay for the repair themselves rather than claim on insurance.


The ABI said that there were also 66,600 claims from homeowners and business owners for damage to property - double the number of weather damage claims insurers said they would expect during this period.

This led to a payout of £255m, of which £194m was for damage to homes. Many of the 60,200 claims came as a result of roof damage.

"Insurers have paid out nearly £1bn to customers following bad weather this winter, as the heavy snow came weeks after the flooding in Cumbria," said Nick Starling, of the ABI.

The ABI speaks for 90% of the insurance market in the UK.

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