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Police to foot riot bill

Insurance companies under the terms of the Riot Damages Act of 1986 have the right to ask the metropolitan police to pay for damages, if it can be proved that they 'failed to keep law and order.' Grahame Trudgill, head of corporate affairs for the British Insurance Brokers' Association (Biba), said that its members would respond to claims from victims of looting, vandalism and arson before attempting to reclaim the money from the police.

Damages after three nights of rioting are predicted to total over £100m. Most insurers have pledged to honour claims made for damage caused by the rioting. Nick Starling, the director of general insurance and health at the Association of British Insurers, said policies: 'should cover people for fire, looting or damage caused, adding: 'Many policies will also cover people for accommodation costs if they can’t stay in their home.'

The thing to do if you have been affected is to contact your insurer as soon as you can. Under the Riot Damages Act there is usually a 14 day window to make a claim to police, so most insurers will want you to contact them in a maximum of seven days.

The Insurers Direct Line and the AA have said that they will cover claims made by riot victims. A spokesperson said: 'Direct Line home insurance customers with either standard or home plus policies are covered for riots and civil commotion and should call us in the first instance, so that we can help them process their claim in the most efficient way.'

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