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The ABI (Association of British Insurers) said standard home insurance policies should cover fire, looting or damage caused, and that many policies would also cover accommodation costs for those unable to stay in their homes.

Most commercial insurance policies would cover businesses for damage to their premises, it said, including interruption to their business.

Some policies also cover businesses which were not damaged, but whose trade is affected by the aftermath. Owners of businesses which were not damaged but are losing income due to denial of access should check their policies.

The ABI said business owners should act quickly, as many insurance policies required claims to be made within a set time period – often just seven days.

Hilary Osbourne