The wave of rioting around the country was estimated to have cost retailers £80m in lost sales, because of store groups closing shops early and suffering low footfall as people stayed away.

Retailers and insurers face a total bill of £141m, including expenses such as stock loss, according to calculations by the Centre for Retail Research Research on behalf of shopping comparison site Kelkoo. The extra costs come at a tough time for many retailers.

Paul Lawrence, partner at loss assessor Harris Balcombe, expected store groups’ material damage claims to run into the “high tens of millions” as a result of the riots so far.

Material damage claims cover items such as stock, fixtures and fittings, while business interruption claims can be made to recoup lost turnover and profit.

He said most big retailers will have insurance to cover the riots, but warned they must lodge their claims with police within 14 days of an incident, and inform insurers as soon as possible. He feared smaller retailers may not have adequate insurance because of the costs involved.

However, those retailers that closed stores as a precaution, without having suffered damage, will not be able to claim for lost sales.

Lawrence said some claims will be dealt with “in a matter of weeks” but many could take longer. He advised taking “plenty of photos and footage” of the damage as evidence for insurance claims.

Insurance companies are unlikely to demand better security in light of the attacks, according to Lawrence, but he thought that insurers could decide to put up premiums in those areas worse affected. The overall effect would be small, however, because of “stiff competition” in the insurance sector keeping prices stable.

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