Riot, Vandalism, and Civil Commotion Insurance

When civil unrest threatens homes, businesses and property
Christine Lacagnina Written by Christine Lacagnina
Christine Lacagnina
Written by Christine Lacagnina

Christine Lacagnina has written thousands of insurance-based articles for by authoring consumable, understandable content.

Riot Insurance

What happens when a riot or civil commotion breaks out in your town? No one wants to deal with property damage to their home or business due to rioting and unrest. Fortunately, there’s something called riot, vandalism, and civil commotion insurance.

What Is Riot, Vandalism, and Civil Commotion Insurance?

Basically just a unique form of property damage coverage, riot, vandalism, and civil commotion insurance provides protection for your property in the event of a civil disturbance. Protests, riots, civil commotions, and accompanying vandalism are all covered under this type of insurance. Coverage is often included as a part of standard homeowners, comprehensive auto, and business insurance policies, just in case things in your town turn a little less than peaceful.

What Is a Riot or Civil Disturbance?

You’ve probably heard of both, and may be thinking they’re the same thing. Well, you’re not too far off, because riots and civil disturbances are actually really similar—with one important distinction. Let’s take a closer look at their exact definitions.

  • Civil disturbance: Also called “civil unrest,” this is a broader term encompassing any disruption of normal social order. When a group of people are on a mission to get their voices heard about a matter they believe is unjust, that’s a civil disturbance. Strikes and protests fall into this category, but the catch is that these groups might be violent or peaceful. Riots and rebellions also fall under the civil unrest umbrella, but they tend to always be on the violent side.
  • 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. 

Now that we’ve got that distinction out of the way, let’s take a closer look at vandalism.

  • Vandalism: It’s often said to be “mindless,” but in reality, it’s the exact opposite. Vandalism is defined as action involving a deliberate attempt to damage or destroy property. Vandalism famously accompanies riots.

Obviously, vandalism can happen during all different types of civil disturbances, as soon as they shift out of peaceful and organized mode. 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?

Well, several different things. Your home, business, or vehicle may be covered, depending on your insurance policies. Have your independent insurance agent review your specific policies with you to make sure you’re covered, but we’ll go ahead and provide an overview of what protections are included under many available policies.

Riot, vandalism, and civil commotion insurance typically covers the following:

  • 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.
  • Property damage to your business: Damage caused by fire, riots, vandalism, or civil commotion is also included in standard business owners policies. Coverage extends to the business’s physical structure as well as its contents. Since riots commonly lead to looting of businesses, having protection for your business is crucial.
  • 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’re at a temporary residence awaiting repairs. This coverage applies to hotel stays, increased eating costs, extra gas mileage, and more.
  • Loss of income: If your business is forced to suspend operations while awaiting repairs necessary for damage to its physical structure caused by riots, vandalism, or civil commotion, your business owners policy may reimburse you for lost revenue while your doors are closed.

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

Why Would I Want Riot, Vandalism, and Civil Commotion Insurance?

While we’d like to think that society pretty much maintains its civil order, unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Though some of the most famous riots in US history may have occurred many years ago, sadly, incidents still arise to this day. 

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

How Much Does Riot, Vandalism, and Civil Commotion Insurance Cost?

Well, if you’re covered under your homeowners, business owners, or comprehensive auto insurance, the cost of this aspect of protection is automatically factored into your overall policy premium. However, one London-based firm, Allianz Insurance, sells riot insurance as a separate policy. These stand-alone riot insurance policies are reportedly cheap, and apparently premium costs have only been declining over the years.

Unless you’re under an extreme threat of riots or civil commotion, you most likely don’t need a stand-alone policy, thanks to the built-in coverage offered in several of your other standard policies. However, riot insurance is available on a larger scale—even to cover entire small towns. The city of Cleveland, OH, reportedly bought $10 million worth of coverage in 2016 to protect itself during the last presidential campaign, fearing matters would turn violent.

How Do I Get Riot, Vandalism, and Civil Commotion Insurance?

For more obscure and less common types of insurance coverage out there, you might not be able to find what you’re looking for just anywhere. While our independent insurance agents may not be able to provide you with this kind of coverage directly, we may be able to point you in the right direction.

Share this page on Twitter Share this page on Facebook Share this page on LinkedIn