Tawanna, who has St. Louis, Missouri renters insurance has seen some concerning things on the news lately, and she writes
Are riots covered by renters insurance? Things in my area are starting to calm down but there’s still a great deal of tension. I want to make sure I have coverage if there is damage or looting.
Excellent question, Tawanna. There’s actually a fair bit of complexity involved, so let’s dig right in.
Are Riots Covered By Renters Insurance
In light of recent events, many people want to know if damage from riots is covered by renters insurance. That depends on several factors, including the intervention or non-intervention of authorities…
Tawanna, the answer depends in part on what you mean by riot. Let’s see why:
Are Riots Covered By Renters Insurance?
Since “Riot Or Civil Commotion” isn’t defined in the policy, we’ll start with the broadest reading of those words and narrow it down from there. A renters insurance policy will pay up to 10% of the personal property limit for plants damaged by a riot or civil commotion. The list of perils insured against includes “Riot Or Civil Commotion,” along with theft, fire, and smoke. General personal property would have coverage against this peril.
Are Riots Covered By Renters Insurance? What A Riot Or Civil Commotion Is Not
Reading further down a policy, you’ll generally find some exclusionary provisions that are relevant to your question. Excluded is war, “undeclared war, civil war, insurrection, rebellion, or revolution.” If the riot is part of any of those things, or their consequences, there is no coverage.
Nuclear hazards are also excluded, though it would be quite rare for someone to bring a nuclear weapon to a riot. Governmental action, meaning “destruction of property” is excluded. So damage from looters could be covered, but property damage from tear gas used by the police to remove looters from your property might not be. The caveat to this is that in the event of a large fire in a densely populated area, it’s not unheard of for firefighters to intentionally destroy buildings adjacent to the blaze to prevent it from further spreading. The governmental action exclusion does not apply to those actions by firefighters, if the fire loss would have been a covered loss.
Are riots covered by renters insurance? Riot or Civil Commotion is a covered peril, but then it becomes a matter of details. Also remember that if one participates in the riot and suffers a loss because of that riot, that could be considered an intentional act by the insured. This would result in no coverage at all. To find out more and understand how the policy provisions fit together, call Effective Coverage at (800)892-4308.