Skip to content

Your Financial Life

A Proactive Approach to Protecting Your Personal Property

2 minute read time

No one wants to deal with property damage to their home due to rioting and unrest. Fortunately, there are proactive measures you can put in place to ensure your protection if your neighborhood or property becomes impacted by civil unrest. We’re here to help you understand potential risks and coverage considerations so you can have peace of mind should an incident occur in your community.

What Is a Riot or Civil Disturbance?

  • Civil disturbance: Also known as “civil unrest,” this is a broad term encompassing any disruption of normal social order. A civil disturbance may result when a group of people are on a mission to make their voices heard about a matter they deem unjust. Examples of civil disturbance include strikes and protests, whether violent or peaceful. Riots and rebellions also fall under the civil unrest umbrella, but in most cases involve violence.
  • Riot: This term refers to mobs that are out of control and often violent. A peaceful civil disturbance may escalate into a riot once all calm conversation has been overwhelmed by anger and destruction.

After distinguishing between a civil disturbance and a riot, it’s important to take a closer look at vandalism.

  • Vandalism: Vandalism is defined as action involving a deliberate attempt to damage or destroy property. Vandalism famously accompanies riots.

Vandalism can happen during any type of civil disturbance, as soon as it shifts from peaceful to violent in nature. For those who don’t want to be victims of property damage due to civil disturbances, riots, and vandalism (and rightfully so), thankfully many insurance companies have already factored in this risk.

What Does Riot, Vandalism, and Civil Commotion Insurance Cover?

Your home or vehicle may be covered, depending on your insurance policies. Contact your advisor to review your specific policies with you to make sure you’re covered. The following protections may be included under many available policies.

Your Policies and Riot, Vandalism and Civil Commotion Coverage.

Riots and civil commotions can cause disturbances in many ways, including the partial or total destruction of your home and personal property, as well as your car, boat or recreational vehicles. Fortunately, several types of standard insurance policies include coverage for these kinds of disasters.

  • Vehicle damage: If you purchased comprehensive auto insurance, you’re in luck. Comprehensive auto coverage protects against damage to your car by things like fire, falling objects, and vandalism—all of which can accompany a riot. Riots themselves are also listed as a specifically covered peril.
  • Property damage to your home: Standard homeowners policies cover property damage caused by fire, explosions, vandalism, riots or civil commotions, and “malicious mischief”. Your home’s structure and your personal property (i.e., your stuff) are all covered under this aspect of a standard policy.
  • Additional living expenses: If your home becomes uninhabitable due to extensive damage caused by riots, vandalism, or civil commotion, your standard homeowners policy provides coverage for additional living expenses while you reside in a temporary residence awaiting repairs. This coverage applies to hotel stays, increased eating costs, extra gas mileage, and more.

Should You Consider Riot, Vandalism, and Civil Commotion Insurance?

In the event of a riot or civil disturbance resulting in vandalism, property damage, fire, or other violent acts, having adequate coverage is essential for protecting your home and the property you own. Riot, vandalism, and civil commotion insurance is there to help protect not only your physical possessions and the structural elements of your home, but also your peace of mind during stressful times of civil unrest.

In addition to confirming that your policy includes this coverage, you can take the following steps to be proactive in limiting the financial impact of a civil unrest event.

  • Keep an inventory of your personal belongings. Document what you own with photos or video, and keep these records in a secure, off-site location like a safe deposit box. Our advisors can help you with inventory options. 
  • Review your home’s insurance limit. Understanding market value versus replacement cost is an important consideration in determining how much coverage you need. We recommend purchasing homeowners insurance equal to your home’s estimated replacement cost. It’s important to have enough coverage to account for the unforeseen and to replace your home.
  • Understand the coverage limits for high-value possessions. Ensure protection is in place for items such as cash, art, jewelry, antiques, collectibles, musical instruments or firearms.

Should your property or auto be impacted by civil unrest, please take the following steps:

  • Document the damage. First, prior to any cleanup efforts, take photos of any damage done to your home or property. Save the photos for use with the police report and insurance claim.
  • Call the police and file a report. Depending on the damage / cause of damage, the insurance companies may require a police report.
  • Contact the insurance company to file the claim.
  • Protect your property. If necessary, protect your property from further damage by making reasonable temporary repairs. Be sure to keep a record of your costs and keep receipts.
  • Speak to a claims adjuster. The insurance company may send a claims adjuster to assess the damage. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, the owner will be asked to provide the pictures, so that the damage can be evaluated.
  • Repair the damage. The insurance company may make recommendations or instructions about where to repair the vehicle, if that's possible.
  • Receive a claim settlement. Keep in mind that depending on the property impacted, the payment may be Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value.

Speak with an advisor

An experienced insurance professional can help you assess your current coverage and determine tailored insurance solutions based on an honest assessment of your personal situation. They will help you evaluate your location, assets and tolerance for risk, among other factors that are important to you, your family and your lifestyle.

Contact the Johnson Financial Group team at 888.769.3796 or to ensure you are prepared for any situation that comes your way.

Civil Unrest and a Proactive Approach to Protecting Your Business

Unrest creates an environment where issues could arise at any time and affect your community and your business. We are here to help. Hear from Randy Raymond, SVP Commercial Insurance, on what risks you and your business may face, what proactive measures you can put in place and what to do if you are impacted.