Will Your Insurance Cover Riot Damages?

Riot damages
Photo by Bumble Dee / Shutterstock.com

Riots occurred across the nation in the summer after the death of George Floyd, whose arrest by Minneapolis police was captured on camera. Insured losses totaled more than $1 billion across 20 states by September, according to an analysis by Property Claim Services. It is believed to be the costliest instance of civil unrest in the country.

While we can all hope this period of unrest is behind us, it may leave you wondering whether your vehicle or home would be covered should it be damaged in a riot. The answer depends on what type of coverage you have.

Auto insurance coverage for riot damage

Riot damage should be covered by automotive insurers so long as you have a comprehensive policy, says David Armstrong, senior vice president at Sedgwick, a global provider of technology-enabled risk, benefits and integrated business solutions.

“Individuals should always understand what type of policy they have,” he explains. Comprehensive coverage typically includes language stipulating that it will pay for damages related to rioting, looting, vandalism or civil disturbances. Collision and liability coverage have no such provisions.

A comprehensive policy will generally pay for damage to both the vehicle and its contents. Shattered glass is covered by comprehensive policies, but if you purchase optional glass coverage, you may be able to replace windows without any deductible required.

Homeowners insurance coverage for riot damage

With homeowners insurance, you generally don’t need to worry about selecting the right policy. “It is a coverage that is typically on all policies,” says Dave Emmette, COO and risk adviser for River Valley Insurance Agency in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Standard policies will cover damage to a home’s structure and damage or loss of the contents. In the event your home is completely destroyed or becomes uninhabitable, homeowners insurance will pay for you to live elsewhere while it is being rebuilt or repaired. A policy may cover food expenses as well while you’re dislocated.

Even though coverage for riot damage is standard on most policies, it’s always a good idea to check with your insurer or agent to confirm. That’s particularly true if you have a property that is vacant. Emmette notes policies for vacant homes may exclude looting and vandalism losses unless extra coverage is purchased.

Filing an insurance claim for riot damage

Should you become a victim of riot damage, “Make sure that the loss is properly documented and properly reported,” Armstrong says. That includes taking photos of the damage and filing a police report. After that, the claims process should proceed similarly to that of any other loss.

“It’s going to be subject to the deductible obviously,” Emmette says. If you live in or near an area that has seen civil unrest this year, you may way want to review your policy deductibles and make changes if needed.

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