But rates tipped to fall as claims volumes lower than 2012

AA Insurance has received 1,000 home insurance and 130 car claims as a direct result of the Christmas gales.

The majority of home claims were for dislodged roof tiles, windows broken by debris carried on the storm, damage caused by trees, and flooding.

Despite the end-of-year spike in claims, the total number of home claims is expected to be 5% lower than 2012.

Director Simon Douglas said: “Although thousands of homes and businesses have been damaged by flood water during the December storms, the scale of devastation is nowhere near as great as 2007, which cost insurers £3.3bn.

“There’s no doubt that investment in flood defences has helped and I hope that the recent weather will encourage the government to continue to boost its programme of coastal and inland flood alleviation measures.”

The number of car insurance claims has not significantly increased, the AA reported, although a greater percentage of the total claims were for weather-related damage.

Douglas said he expected the downward trend of home insurance premiums to continue.

Similarly, the number of car insurance claims has not significantly increased, although there is a greater percentage of the total that are for weather-related damage.  

“There are a lot of claims for flood damaged cars, but not sufficient to halt the current downward trend in car premiums,” he said.

Car rescue

The AA’s Special Operations team, which uses Land Rovers specially adapted to operate in flood water, rescued more than 1,100 vehicles from flood water since 23 December.

A disproportionate number of the rescued vehicles were 4x4s, as drivers erroneously believed their vehicle was capable of anything and ignored ‘road closed’ warnings.

Douglas said: “Many of those our Special Operations patrols – who have been working flat out over the Christmas period – have rescued have been 4x4 drivers under the misapprehension that their vehicle can cope with anything.

“They discover the hard way that ‘off road’ capability doesn’t include flood water.”

Water damages a car engine if it is ingested through the air intake. This can happen by driving in deep water or driving through shallow water at speed.

“Our own statistics show that nearly three-quarters (70%) of cars stranded in flood water are written off,” he says.

Douglas warned that insurers would be unlikely to pay claims if a driver ignored warnings not to drive through flood water.