Will Insurance Pay for Riot Damage?

Riot damage is usually covered under comprehensive car insurance policies and standard homeowners policies. Here are the details.
Written by Shannon Fitzgerald
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Riot damage is usually covered under car insurance as long as you have a policy with
comprehensive coverage
. Standard
renters insurance
home insurance
policies typically cover damages from riots or civil unrest, including fire, explosions, and vandalism. 
When done peacefully, public demonstrations—like protests and marches—help communicate a need for real social change. But while these cause-based rallies can offer hope and unity, the heated issues they represent can also incite riots that may damage the property of innocent bystanders. 
So what happens if your car, home, or business gets caught in the crossfire of civil unrest? Will your insurance cover the costs? Here with the answers is
, the
trustworthy super app
car insurance
shopping. From which policies cover vandalism to how you can file a claim, let’s break down your typical property coverage for riot damage.

Is riot damage covered by insurance? 

It depends. Riot damage is generally covered by car, home, and business insurance, but the type of policy you have and its specific inclusions and exclusions will heavily impact how much you’re covered (if at all). 
According to the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, riot damage is one of the “named perils” included in most property policies—but each policy varies. As far as most insurance policies are concerned, you’ll only be able to file claims associated with these covered perils, so it’s a good idea to take a look at your policy details to make sure riot damage is listed. 
If you’re not sure whether the damage you’ve received even counts as riot damage, let’s clarify what riot damages or losses can look like: 
  • Fire damage—both inside and outside of a property, including contents of a building or home 
  • Vandalism—broken windows, slashed tires, spray paint on walls, etc. 
  • Loss of income—if your business has to shut down due to physical damage caused by a riot or civil unrest, insurers may be able to compensate your wages
Broadly, riot damage includes any physical destruction to your property or related expenses caused by civil commotion. That said, let’s take a look at how car, home, renters, and business insurance can protect you against riot damage and what type of policies you will need for each one.  
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Car Insurance

If you left your car parked in the street during that peaceful protest gone rogue, try not to worry too much. Car insurance will usually pay for damages from civil unrest—but you MUST have a comprehensive coverage policy
What is
comprehensive coverage
? Essentially, while
liability coverage
pays for another car’s damages after an accident and
collision coverage
will pay for your own damages, comprehensive coverage steps in to handle damages from non-collision forces
These can include: 
  • Vandalism
  • Vehicle theft
  • Fires
  • Explosions
  • Falling objects—like hail and branches
  • Flooding and water damage 
  • Earthquakes  
Comprehensive coverage is often paired with collision coverage to comprise what’s referred to as a “
full coverage
” policy. While these coverages cost more than basic state liability minimums, they’re extremely useful to have. Not only will these policies protect you and your vehicle in the event of a collision, but they can also handle the costs of a smashed windshield or beaten up door panel caused by a violent riot. 
Pro Tip if you don’t already have comprehensive coverage in your current policy,
can help find the lowest costing full coverage plan available to you (in under a minute of your time). 

Homeowners Insurance

Hearing that your home has been damaged during a period of civil commotion—or even worse, experiencing it in person—can truly be anyone’s worst nightmare. Fortunately, most standard homeowners insurance policies will typically cover riot damage, which can include the following: 
  • Fire damage—both to personal possessions and your house’s structure 
  • Vandalism—like broken windows, graffiti, or other physical destruction 
  • Additional living expenses (ALE)—costs acquired from living in hotels or eating at restaurants while your home is being repaired or rebuilt
  • Stolen property

Renters Insurance 

What if your rental property is on the war path, though? Not to worry—like homeowners insurance, renters insurance also usually lists riot damage as one of its named perils. Similarly, it will cover loss of property due to rioting along with additional living expenses (ALE) if your rental unit needs to be repaired. 
Note that you may need an additional personal property endorsement to protect high-cost valuables like jewelery and expensive art. 
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Business Insurance

Unfortunately, businesses tend to suffer the most when it comes to damages during a riot. The good news: riot damage is generally covered under most standard Business Owners Policies (BOPs). This coverage usually pays for common physical damages that come with civil commotion, like fires, vandalism, and structural destruction. 
That said, there are also a couple of scenarios in which operational losses may be covered, too. 
  • The business is too damaged to operate regularly—if the business is forced to shut down or limit hours due to direct physical damage, insurers may cover loss of income via business interruption insurance
  • The police or fire department are barring access to the business—if the business is unable to operate due to police restrictions during a riot, business insurance policies with a “civil authority provision” will usually cover lost income and added expenses

How to file a claim for riot damage

In order to get compensated for any riot damage your car, home, or business endures, you’ll need to
file a claim
with your insurance company as soon as you can. Here are the steps you should take when filing a claim for riot damage, and some tips to help improve your claim’s success. 
  1. File a police report—in most cases, you’ll want to alert the authorities when there is any significant damage to your property. This will also act as a helpful record of the incident. 
  2. Document the damage—once it’s safe to get near your property, take photos as evidence of the damage and note the time and date you discovered it. 
  3. Speak with witnesses—if there’s anyone nearby who saw the incident occur, it’s always a good idea to take down their contact information just in case.  
  4. Contact your insurance company—now’s the time to officially reach out to your insurer and file that claim. You can usually do so over the phone, online, or through your insurer’s mobile app. 
  5. Keep track of your claim—once your claim has been filed, stay in touch with your claims adjuster. They may reach out to you with questions, so be prepared to provide any further information they may need. 
  6. Hold onto receipts—when your claim is accepted, your insurer will pay you for your damages and losses, minus any deductibles your policy may have in place. Be sure to have your receipts on hand to help calculate this amount. 

How to find insurance that covers riot damage

It can be stressful and scary to experience damage to your car or home due to something as an unavoidable and unpredictable as a riot. That’s why it’s important to protect yourself ahead of time so that you don’t end up losing significant sums of money, too. 
Researching affordable policies can be daunting, though—which is why
created an app to do the heavy lifting for you. Here’s how it works: just download the app (for free), input some basic information, and in less than a minute you’ll have access to the lowest rates available from top insurers across the nation. 
Jerry’s number one goal is saving you time and money on quality insurance, so we’re not happy until you’re spending less without protecting less, too.  
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