Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Riots?

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A firework explodes near protestors and police (Photo: @Coreydembeck via Twenty20)
While many demonstrations start in a peaceful way, they can sometimes escalate and turn violent. In the midst of this chaos, surrounding properties like businesses and homes can suffer damages. But, would damage caused by riots be something that your homeowners insurance covers?

What’s Covered by a Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy 

Most standard homeowners policies cover damages caused by the following:
  • Fire and smoke 
  • Lightning strikes 
  • Windstorm and hail
  • Explosions
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Vandalism and malicious mischief 
  • Damage from an aircraft, car, or vehicle 
  • Theft
  • Falling objects 
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet 
  • Water damage 
As you can see, riots are usually covered. And, since riots and civil commotions are very similar (the main difference being the scope of the gathering), these are usually listed together in a policy. Of course, the coverage’s specifics may vary depending on your insurance company and the state in which you live.

What’s Covered In the Case of a Riot 

With a standard homeowners insurance policy, your house should be covered against any damages caused by the riots (taking into account the limitations of your policy). Not only that, but under personal property protection, the things inside your home would also be covered. 
And, if your house suffers damages that are serious enough to impede you from living in your home, the additional living expenses coverage should cover any extra expense related to temporarily moving out from your home. 

There May Be Some Exceptions 

While riots may be listed in your homeowners insurance policy as a covered peril, there may be some gaps in your policy that may prevent you from benefiting from this. 
For example, one of the most common exceptions would be a vacancy. Usually, when a house has been vacant for more than 60 days, insurance companies may no longer cover damages caused by riots. 
Another thing to note is that insurance companies cover riots, but not wars. So, if the situation escalates to the point where the National Guard is called, you may find yourself in a murky situation where the insurance might refuse to step in. Always make sure to check in with your insurance company and get familiar with their coverages and exceptions.