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Toddlers' destruction costs £552m

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Two and a half million people have had to make a claim on their home insurance policy after suffering costly damage to their property caused by children in the past year, it has emerged.

Adults are paying out more than £552 million to put right damage caused around the home by reckless youngsters, with the average incident costing £221, according to new research from Abbey Insurance.

Children aged between one and five are most likely to cause damage (23%), followed by six to 10-year-olds (22%).

Boys are twice as likely to cause damage to the home than girls, with children in Scotland likely to cause the most costly damage, averaging £625 to rectify.

The survey found that more than 20% of those suffering damage to their property believed that the child's actions had been deliberate.

Head of Santander Insurance UK, Tony Beckwith, said: "Dealing with the damage caused by children can be inconvenient, costly and cause unwanted tension if people do not have the appropriate level of insurance cover."

The most common damage was to paintwork or wallpaper, followed by ruined furniture, with broken ornaments coming in third.

More than a third (38%) of those who suffered damage to their property have had to redecorate.

© The Press Association 2008