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Is Property Damage Caused By Riot & Civil Commotion Covered By Insurance?

riot property damage insurance coverage provider Newton Massachusetts

When protests, riots or civil disorders break out, property owners are rightly concerned about damage to their care, home, or business.

The short answer is that generally - property damage caused by riot and civil commotion is a covered insurable loss. While this depends on the specific policy forms and exclusions on your policy, standard policies do include this coverage by default.

  • Vandalism, Malicious Mischief -- Vandalism is generally defined as willful and malicious damage to, or destruction of, the policyholder’s property; malicious mischief is similar to vandalism and generally defined as the willful destruction of property for vicious or mischievous purposes.
  • Riot and Civil Commotion -- Both a riot and a civil commotion involve a revolt by a gathering of people in a public place. Riot and civil commotion can be difficult to differentiate; therefore the perils are often listed together in a policy.

Unfortunately, sometimes even a harmless gathering can suddenly turn violent or dangerous - causing looting, vandalism and fires that can cause millions of dollars in damage.

Depending on the nature of the property, there are several types of insurance coverages available to protect your property from most forms of civil commotion.

Auto insurance

Damage to cars is covered under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto policy. This provides reimbursement for damage to the vehicle caused by fire, falling objects, vandalism, or riot. Comprehensive coverage will also reimburse you if your windshield is cracked or shattered.

Homeowners insurance

Standard homeowners policies will cover damage to the property caused by fire, an explosion, a riot or civil commotion, vandalism or malicious mischief. This would include coverage to the structure of the home, as well as any personal property/belongings.

If you cannot live at your home because it was damaged by an insurable loss, standard home, condo, and renters insurance policies provide coverage for additional living expenses otherwise known as loss of use coverage. This helps pay the costs of living away from home. Loss of use can cover things such as hotel bills, restaurant meals, and other expenses incurred while your home is being rebuilt.

Business insurance

Rioting, civil commotion, and vandalism are also covered perils under most business owners and commercial insurance property policies ― both named perils and open-peril policies.

Damage to the physical location of a business and its contents that are caused by fire, riots, civil commotion, or vandalism are covered under a Business Owners Policy (also known as a BOP). However, coverage for glass windows is often sold separately and there may be other exclusions (such as equipment breakdown) that may apply.

Businesses that are forced to suspend operations or limit hours due to civil disorder may have coverage for the loss of income under business income insurance. However, this is only triggered if there is direct physical loss to the premises or property.

A civil authority provision in a business policy may provide coverage for lost income and extra expenses in the event the police or fire department bars access to a specific area as a result of the danger caused by a riot or civil commotion.

Advice for Businesses & Homeowners with Claims:

  • Prevent Future Damage: As soon as it is safe and reasonable, a business should do what they can to secure the business against further loss. This may include boarding up shattered windows and securing inventory. Expenses related to securing property against further loss are typically covered by a commercial policy.
  • Report Claims Immediately: If you have incurred a loss due to the recent civil unrest, you should report damages immediately to your insurance agent/broker or insurance company. In addition, most policies require that claims resulting from criminal behavior be reported promptly to law enforcement officials.
  • Write it Down: Track all the expenses you incur to preserve your property and complete emergency repairs. Take lots of photos. Save your damaged property so it can be inspected by your insurance adjuster.
  • Hire Licensed & Insured Contractors: During times of widespread damage, there are lots of ‘ambulance chasers’ that will come to give you a cut-rate deal. Ensure that any contractors you work with are both licensed and insured. This will help protect your own liabilities and ensure that the repairs are professionally done.

All information in this div is to be considered general knowledge and should not be considered as an alternative to a comprehensive review of your particular policy and exposures.

We would love to answer any questions that you might have. Contact Kovalev Insurance today and request a complimentary consultation to ensure your property is properly protected.

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