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Where businesses affected by looting can get financial relief

Look at your insurance policies and research free programs before applying for a loan.

State and local governments, as well as private organizations are working on setting up relief funds to help businesses that have been hurt during violent demonstrations. But if you don't have time to wait for those to become available, look into your insurance policy, crowdfunding or taking out a business loan to help cover immediate costs.

Where to find financial relief if your business is affected by looting

Your business might be able to benefit from some or all of the following resources if it's suffered damage from looting:

Business insurance

Businesses that already have a commercial property insurance policy can usually file a claim to cover losses from vandalism and looting. Commercial property insurance typically covers damages like broken windows, stolen inventory and stolen money.

It also might cover lost income if your business had to close due to looting. And in some cases, it can even cover medical costs for customers who were injured in your store.

But your policy must mention the building and its contents in the coverage — a general liability policy won't help if your business was damaged during violent demonstrations.

Watch our short video on how your insurance can cover you in the event of vandalism or looting:

State and local funds

Many state and local governments have set up community funds to help cover damages — or have plans to in the near future. For example, Albany, New York, announced it would launch a $10,000 grant fund for businesses that were looted during violent protests. And Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is working with different neighborhoods to assess the damage and come up with a plan to rebuild.

You can find out what resources are available or in the works by reaching out to your local Chamber of Commerce. Typically, local assistance is available in the form of grants — either from donations or the local government itself. Local governments might also deploy agencies like the Sanitation Department to help.

Crowdfunding

If your business can't wait for government assistance, you can raise funds from your customers and community by setting up a crowdfunding campaign. Look for a platform like GoFundMe that lets you raise funds for rebuilding — some only let you raise money for a specific reason.

When setting up your campaign, make sure to take into account platform fees and whether you can access the funds if you don't meet your goal. Some can charge as much as 8% of the funds you raise in fees. Also, weigh whether your business can afford to give rewards to donors — which can help incentivize fundraising, but might be a strain on your budget.

Business grants

In addition to state grants, local organizations and governments might offer grant funds to businesses in your area that were looted or damaged during a protest. Usually, you can get up to $10,000 to cover costs to rebuild. Grant funds are generally limited, so apply as soon as you can to get your application in before funding runs out.

These also tend to be hyper-local or available to specific industries, like restaurants. You can find out about what's available to you by reaching out to your trade organization or a local Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Business loans

If you've exhausted your free options, you can fund repair costs by taking out a business loan. Some credit unions and community-based lenders started offering low-interest or interest-free loans to small business affected by COVID-19 — and may start offering special funding to businesses affected by violent protests.

Lenders that specialize in funding women-owned, minority-owned and veteran-owned businesses might also offer discounted rates and access to other resources that you can use.

Apply for a business loan today

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