ABI: Snow chaos – the insurance position

With widespread disruption to the UK’s travel network, and heavy snow having the potential to damage property, the ABI (Association of British Insurers) has issued the following consumer advice:

Travel insurance

Delays at snowbound airports are usually covered. Typically, cover begins after passengers have been delayed for a period of time specified in their policy (typically eight or 12 hours). The policy will then pay a cash amount, typically of around £50 for each subsequent eight or 12 hour delay, up to a maximum limit. Some policies may pay for flights missed because the passenger is unable to reach the airport due to bad weather. Cancellation of flights due to bad weather is unlikely to be covered – insurance typically only covers passengers if they have to cancel their flight due to events like illness or redundancy. Travellers should check the details of their own policy, as cover does vary, and if there is any doubt, talk to their insurance company, which will be able to explain what is covered.

Household insurance

Snow damage may be covered under the ‘storm’ provision within buildings insurance policies. Policyholders should contact their insurance company for information and advice – most companies have 24-hour emergency helplines for customers.

Motor insurance

Accidents caused by snow or ice will be covered under comprehensive motor insurance policies. The cost of breakdowns or vehicles that fail to start is not covered – motorists should contact their breakdown or roadside assistance provider, which is often bundled with motor insurance policies. Claims against other motorists will only be valid if negligence can be proved.

Nick Starling, the ABI’s Director of General Insurance and Health, said:

“Severe weather conditions cause great disruption and inconvenience, and insurance is there to help soften the blow. People who have suffered flight delays or damage to their home or vehicle due to the weather should contact their insurance company for advice.”

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Notes for Editors

1. Enquiries to:
Jonathan French 020 7216 7392 (Mobile: 07958 330 480)
Malcolm Tarling 020 7216 7410 (Mobile: 07776 147 667)
Erfan Hussain 020 7216 7411 (Mobile: 07712 841 184)
Kelly Ostler-Coyle 020 7216 7415 (Mobile: 07968 364 302)

2. The ABI is the voice of the insurance and investment industry. Its members constitute over 90 per cent of the insurance market in the UK and 20 per cent across the EU. They control assets equivalent to a quarter of the UK’s capital. They are the risk managers of the UK’s economy and society. Through the ABI their voice is heard in Government and in public debate on insurance, savings and investment matters.

3. An ISDN line is available for broadcasts.

Copies of all ABI news releases, together with other information from the Association, can be seen on our website http://www.abi.org.uk