Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Riots, Civil Unrest, & Looting?

Yes, homeowners insurance covers damage from civil unrest, riots, and looting because civil unrest is one of the covered perils listed as a named peril on even the most basic forms of home insurance.

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As tensions rise, many people begin to speak up so that their voices can be heard. This can cause protests, riots, looting, and other civil unrest. Homeowners may begin to feel anxious, especially if this unrest is occurring in their neighborhoods. When this is the case, many people turn to the internet to determine if home insurance covers riots, civil unrest, and looting.

Standard homeowners insurance policies will typically cover damage from vandalism, rioting, civil commotion, and looting if this occurs due to civil unrest. 

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Civil unrest can be scary and confusing for everyone. It is also heartwrenching when an innocent home is subject to damage due to this type of event. Below we define more about this coverage and exactly how it works.

Key facts
  • Most insurance companies will cover damage and repairs caused by civil unrest.
  • Civil unrest is a blanket term that is used to define rioting, looting, vandalism, and civil disturbance.
  • Secondary structures like your shed will be covered under other structures protection.
civil unrest

Damage caused by civil unrest: is it covered?

Most people associate rioting, uncivil protesting, looting, and vandalism together. Your insurance company is in agreement and considers these types of actions civil unrest.  This is used as a blanket term that covers any disturbance to civil peace as well as normal social order. 

Civil disturbance and civil unrest can cause violence, property damage, personal harm, and more. Many violent riots will smash windows, loot businesses, or flip cars to get their point across and their voices heard. Unfortunately, this means a homeowner will suffer the effects, whether they are part of the movement or not.

Some areas of the world are more prone to civil unrest than others. Your insurance company is aware of these risks and will consider them when creating your homeowners insurance policy. Most of the time, damage from this type of peril will be covered. Other times, an insurance company may recommend an additional endorsement for more protection.

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When civil unrest causes damage to your home

A homeowners insurance policy is usually able to cover fires, explosions, riots, and civil disturbances, as these are some of the basic covered perils. Dwelling coverage will cover the damages done to your main home and the attached structures such as a deck, porch, or attached garage. Personal property coverage will pay for the replacement of any personal belongings damaged by riots, looting, or civil unrest.

It is possible for this damage to become so severe that it forces you to move out of your home for an extended period of time. If this occurs, you will need to inquire about additional living expenses (ALE) insurance, which is also known as loss of use coverage D.

While most policies include a basic amount of ALE in the plan, not all of them will. Basic HO-1 policies do not come with this coverage. It is important to determine whether your policy has ALE or not. This can be the difference between living with a family member or living in a hotel while you wait for repairs to be made after the event in which civil unrest caused a peril.

If you are a renter or condo owner, you may need to also look into additional insurance coverage as these units are treated differently than single-family residential dwellings. Renters should consider acquiring renters insurance, while condo owners should consult with their insurance agency to check their coverage.

When civil unrest causes damage to detached structures on your property

It is likely that your insurance company will cover any damage that occurs to any type of structures that are on your property outside of your home, such as a shed, garage, or pool.

Standard insurance policies cover the replacement cost of the other structures on your property through a portion of the total coverage of your home. This standard coverage typically will provide 10 percent of your home’s overall replacement cost coverage for the other structures on your property.

Say, for example, you have a house insured with $400,000 worth of dwelling coverage. The insurance for a barn, shed, or any other structure would be limited to $40,000. This means that you will have a total amount of $40,000 to use for the repair or replacement of all such secondary structures.

You should make sure to notify your insurance company if you decide to add a barn or another shed to your property after you have purchased a policy with only a shed on your property. It is possible that your insurance company will not cover the new structures if they are not notified that they are present.

It is likely that you will want to purchase additional coverage if you have multiple structures, the value of which is greater than 10 percent of the overall coverage of your main dwelling. This will assist you with any additional costs that may remain after you have depleted the 10 percent coverage for each structure. Most companies allow raising the limit of the other structures coverage.

Filing a claim with your insurer

Whenever there is civil unrest, it is important to notify your insurance company as soon as possible in order to make a claim for damages. It is important, however, that you make sure you are in a safe place before you submit your claim, in a calm environment. The last thing you want is for yourself, your home, or the assessor or contractor to be damaged in any way.

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Katelyn is a freelance copy editor and writer based in Massachusetts. She holds Bachelor's Degrees in Business Administration and Political Science, both from Fitchburg State University, as well as a Master's Degree in Public Administration from UMass Amherst. In her free time, Katelyn enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.

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