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Does insurance cover vandalism and looting?
Home, auto and business insurance usually cover vandalism — minus the deductible.
As a wave of sadness, frustration and violence spreads across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd, those closest to violent demonstrations may be fearing damage to their business, home or vehicle.
The good news is most insurance policies cover property damaged due to looting or vandalism, with a few exceptions to watch out for.
How does insurance cover damages?
Standard homeowners, business and comprehensive auto insurance policies usually pay for physical damage caused by fire, explosion, vandalism or looting during civil commotion, according to the Insurance Information Institute. That includes personal possessions damaged within or stolen from a home, vehicle or business — which includes looting.
- Auto insurance with comprehensive coverage will cover vandalism, theft and damage to vehicles, such as dents, scratches, fires, broken windows and more. But if you have a liability only policy or don’t have optional comprehensive coverage, you’ll likely have to pay for damage out of pocket, unfortunately.
- Home insurance policies cover physical damage to your property, including your house, garage and other structures on the property. Home insurance also covers theft or destruction of your belongings in your car or vehicle, though you may be asked to provide proof of the items that were destroyed or stolen. And if you need to leave your home while repairs are being made, an additional living expenses rider can cover the costs of a hotel, meals and other expenses if damage to your home forces you to live elsewhere temporarily.
- Business insurance typically doesn’t exclude riot damage, so damage to your storefront or stolen goods is generally covered.
- Business income insurance, also known as business interruption insurance, covers civil disruptions that force businesses to suspend operations or limit hours of operation if the building is damaged or as a result of damage that prevents access to the property. A waiting period may be required before coverage kicks in, and the length of time for reimbursements could be limited. Businesses without physical damage, however, may not be covered for loss of income.
- Civil authority provision covers lost business income or extra expenses incurred after a civil authority like the police, fire department or National Guard block access to the business. Again, there may be a waiting period and limit on how much the policy will cover.
Watch our short video on how your insurance can cover you in the event of vandalism or looting:
Exceptions and deductibles
Glass coverage is a typical exception and often treated separately on auto and business policies. Some auto insurance policies offer no-deductible glass coverage, which waives your responsibility for paying your deductible before a broken window is paid for.
Also, policyowners are on the hook for paying a deductible before getting a claim check. Depending on the company, your insurer may take the deductible from your final claim payout.
Policy exclusions vary, so carefully read your policy details if your property is damaged. Your insurance company can also give you insight into other types of coverage or support you may have opted into when you signed up.
The rights of protesters
Thanks to the First Amendment, Americans have the right to assemble, express their opinions and protest, though the police and government also have a right to limit how or where they can do it. Here’s what you can and cannot do, according to the ACLU.
- Speak and photograph freely in public spaces.
- Speak and photograph on private property with permission.
- Be within sight and sound of counterprotesters.
- Be arrested if refusing to leave after a dispersal order — which can happen only if there’s a clear and present danger of violence, disorder, interference with traffic or other immediate threat to public safety. Adequate time must be allowed to disperse, along with directions to exit and the consequences of not dispersing.
- Block traffic on streets or sidewalks or block access to buildings.
- Interfere with business or the purpose of a property.
- Continue to protest if police issue a dispersal order.
Resources for protestors and those affected by violence
If you’re looking for help or need help yourself in the wake of the nation’s unrest, you’re not alone. Look to trusted sources for information about your rights, to talk with a mental health professional or to find assistance for basic needs:
- American Civil Liberties Union. Read up on your First Amendment rights, whether you’re organizing, attending or are confronted at a protest.
- Campaign Zero. Learn more about the laws in your area and how to contact your local representatives about policy solutions and your rights.
- Crisis Text Line. Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor for 24/7 support through the Crisis Text Line.
- Community Justice Exchange. See an updated list of community bail funds for protestors by state.
- Feeding America. If your local grocery store isn’t safely accessible, turn to a food bank in your community and information on other assistance.
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