An estimated £266bn worth of household possessions across the UK are not insured against risks such as theft, fire, flooding and accidental damage, according to insurers.

The calculations were made by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), which said the average UK household contains £35,000 worth of possessions.

The ABI said the typical contents of a home are worth more than the average annual salary, which stands at £27,000.

The total value of possessions owned by all UK households are now worth an estimated £950bn – which is more than the combined value of all homes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, at £630bn, the ABI said.

But more than a quarter (28 per cent) of households do not have home contents insurance – meaning around £266bn worth of possessions could be at risk according to the ABI, which based its calculations on the Office for National Statistics’ Wealth and Assets Survey.

The ABI said the average cost of home contents insurance, at £141 a year, works out at less than £3 a week, with combined buildings and contents policies costing under £6 per week typically.

Mark Shepherd, head of property at the ABI, said it can be easy for people to underestimate the worth of all their household gadgets and other contents.

He continued: “With a wide variety of policies available, including no-frills policies tailored to people on limited budgets, insuring your possessions can mean that if the worst happens you are not left counting the cost for years to come”.

Mr Shepherd said people should ensure that when their policy is due for renewal they review the value of their possessions to make sure they are adequately covered.

New Ferry gas explosion was ‘Insurance Job Gone Wrong’

An “apocalyptic” explosion that injured 81 people and caused “utter devastation” was an insurance job that went badly wrong, a court heard.

It was “a miracle” no one died in the blast in New Ferry, Wirral, Liverpool Crown Court was told.

Furniture shop owner Pascal Blasio, 57, of Gillingham, Kent, denies causing the blast at his store in order to avoid bankruptcy. He also denies fraud relating to an insurance claim filed afterwards.

Nigel Lawrence QC, prosecuting, said witnesses described hearing a “deafening and almighty bang” and being thrown off their feet by the force of the explosion.

He said the blast could “easily have led to the loss of many lives” and “it was genuinely luck, sheer luck that prevented this from happening.”

Jurors were shown CCTV footage of the moment 63 properties were either destroyed or damaged in the “almost apocalyptic” explosion. The front of a Chinese restaurant, which was full of diners at the time, was blown in by the blast, showering customers in glass and rubble.

Mr Lawrence said: “The scene, in the immediate aftermath of the explosion, was one of complete chaos. People were running everywhere. People were lying on the floor, screaming and crying. People were dazed and confused. The scene was one of utter devastation.”

Mr Lawrence said 81 people suffered a series of injuries, including lacerations, burns, and psychological trauma.

Following the blast Mr Blasio told investigators business had been “ticking over quite nicely”, but in fact it was “on the point of bankruptcy,” the prosecutor told the court.

The shop owner had sold off much of his furniture in the three weeks prior to the explosion. “Trying to start a fire or destroy his shop was his last throw of the dice,” said Mr Lawrence who said Mr Blasio told a “pack of lies” to his insurers when he claimed for £51,000 plus loss of business.

Among those injured in the explosion was Lewis Jones, 21, who sustained a serious brain injury and was “left clinging to life”, Mr Lawrence said. Mr Jones has not been able to work since and is still under the care of a consultant in neuro-rehabilitation, the jury was told.

Investigations found the blast was caused by a build-up of gas in Mr Blasio’s furniture shop, Homes In Style, on Bebington Road. A cap had been deliberately removed from a pipe and the emergency control valve was turned to allow gas to escape, the jury heard.

The gas came into contact with an “unidentified ignition source”, which Mr Lawrence told the court may have been an electrical appliance in the shop.

“This was an insurance job, but perhaps one that, given the scale of what happened, went badly wrong,” Mr Lawrence added.

The trial is expected to last for up to four weeks.

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