Nick Starling, director of general insurance at the Association of British Insurers, said it was too early to assess accurately the extent of the damage to business and residential properties but that insurers were braced for “significant losses” running into at least eight figures.
Starling said: “Most commerical insurance policies will cover businesses for damage to their premises, including the interruption to their business as a result.
“Some policies will cover those businesses which are not damaged, but whose trade is affected by the aftermath.
“It is important for people to contact their insurer to check what they are covered for and arrange for immediate help.”
The Association of Convenience Stores said that “a significant minority” of retailers only insured against fire or business-threatening incidents, so it's possible that some won’t be covered for damage and looting.
It also advised retailers that insurance companies are likely to require a claim and supporting evidence within seven days for cases that fall under the Riot Damages Act of 1886.
The riots are likely to put increased pressure on insurance costs to businesses across the board.
The ACS said that premiums had already increased by 10% on average in the past year and some retailers reported rises of 20%.
It added that it had reports from 93 retailers affected by this week’s riots, either directly or because deliveries cannot get to them.