In first nine months of 2013 there were 1.2m claims on policies – a 23% drop compared to same period last year Gales have battered Britain over the past month and householders are still mopping up from the floods that swept parts of Kent and Surrey…
Gales have battered Britain over the past month and householders are still mopping up from the floods that swept parts of Kent and Surrey. Yet 2013 has turned out to be one of the quietest years on record for home insurers, with claims down by nearly a quarter compared to 2012.
Experts are now predicting that home insurance premiums are likely to fall by around 5% in the new year, cutting around £12.50 off the typical £250 cost of building and contents cover for the average UK home.
There were 1.2m claims on home insurance policies in the first nine months of 2013, a fall of 23% on the 1.5m claims in the same period of 2012, according to an analysis of Association of British Insurers figures by accountants Deloitte.
The fall in claims – which means insurers have enjoyed one of their best years since 1994 – comes despite the big freeze at the start of the year. Snow blanketed Britain in mid-January, while March saw record low temperatures in many parts of the country, in the coldest winter since 1962. But despite the extreme weather conditions, and the recent gales and floods, the number of claims has been relatively low.
Recent flooding in areas such as Yalding in Kent has affected around 1,300 homes, but the scale of damage is far less than the 2007 floods that hit Tewkesbury and other parts of Gloucestershire or the 2009 devastation of Cockermouth in Cumbria.
James Rakow, insurance partner at Deloitte, said: “The weather in the first nine months of 2013 has been benign with relatively few storms and floods. Although bad weather swept across the country over Christmas, the numbers of claims are unlikely to significantly affect home insurers’ results. If there are no major floods or storms in the first few months of 2014, it is quite feasible that premiums could fall by at least 5%.”
But car insurers are braced for a surge in claims after storms and heavy winds on the night of 23 December caused chaos on Britain’s roads ahead of the Christmas getaway. The AA said that on Christmas Eve it rescued 603 cars deep in floodwater, often after motorists failed to heed warnings.
Darron Burness, head of special operations at the AA, said: “Our teams rescued drivers who attempted to drive through deep flood water and come to grief, in some cases having ignored ‘road closed’ warnings.
“Don’t think that if you have a 4×4 you are immune from becoming stranded. We had to pull a number of vehicles that have so-called ‘off road’ capability out of water. Floods don’t count as ‘off road’ terrain.”