Households lost out on £364 million last year because they were inadequately insured, according to the broker trade body Biba.

Overall there was a 28% rise in the value of uninsured losses thanks largely to bad weather. Uninsured weather-related claims jumped from £95m in 1997 to £166m this year Biba has just launched a consumer campaign to highlight the costs that would have been met by insurers had householders been properly insured.

Naturally the role of brokers gets centre stage. "Your broker will make sure that your current policies are up to date and that you are fully insured against a potentially horrific bill," said chief executive Mike Williams.

"Furthermore, the broker will shop around on your behalf to ensure you get the best deal to suit your needs."