Coverage during a Cultural Awakening?
When peaceful protests bubble over into broader civil commotion many business, home, and vehicle owners wonder what happens if their property is damaged.
Property damage resulting from civil unrest and vandalism is typically covered by standard auto, business, and homeowners insurance policies. Fortunately, there are a number of different insurance coverages available to protect vehicles, businesses or homes from most forms of civil commotion.
In most instance, homeowners policies will cover damage to the property caused by fire, an explosion, a riot or civil commotion, vandalism or malicious mischief. This coverage would apply to the physical structure of the home and, if contents coverage is included on the policy, personal possessions. If the home is damaged by an insured peril to the point you cannot live at your home a standard home insurance or renters insurance policy will provide coverage for additional living expenses. Additional living expenses, also known as “ALE” pays for the cost of living away from home above and beyond traditional expenses. For instance, hotel bills and restaurant meals incurred while a home is being repaired or rebuilt will be covered as additional living expenses.
A vehicle covered by the optional comprehensive portion of an auto policy is also covered for damage due to civil commotion. This option coverage provides reimbursement for damage to a vehicle, as well as its contents, caused by fire, falling objects, vandalism or riot. If a windshield is broken or shattered comprehensive coverage will also respond. Some (but not all) companies offer glass coverage without a deductible. Roughly 75% of U.S. drivers chose to buy the optional comprehensive coverage as part of their auto insurance policy – you should be in that number!
When it comes to business coverage, damage to a physical part of a business’ building, and the property inside that building, if caused by fire, riots, civil commotion or vandalism is generally covered under a standard Business Owners Policy (also known as a BOP) or a business’ commercial property and/or business personal property policy. Some businesses, such as those with street facing display windows, purchase coverage for plate glass windows separately.
Businesses that are forced to suspend operations or limit hours due to civil unrest may have coverage for their loss of income under a coverage called business interruption insurance. However, this coverage is only triggered if there is direct physical damage to the actual premises.
Many business policies contain a “civil authority provision” that provides coverage for lost income and extra expenses if a municipal authority (such as the police department or fire department) bars access to a specific area as a result of direct physical damage caused to a nearby business by a riot or civil commotion.