Will Insurance Cover Riot Damages?
A USA Today report quoted an insurance expert asking: “will insurance cover riot damages?” “I would expect anyone that has actual, physical damage to their property should be making a claim now,” said Kim Winter, an attorney who leads Lathrop GPM’s insurance recovery and counseling practice group. “We recommend that they make a claim sooner rather than later, even if they don’t know what all of their damages are yet.”
Americans have been horrified by video recordings of George Floyd’s death caused by a police officer who applied his body’s weight by kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes with the result of Floyd not being able to breathe. Floyd was unarmed. He had been arrested and handcuffed for allegedly using counterfeit money for a purchase. There was no apparent resistance from Floyd during the time of the arrest. The encounter between the officer and Floyd was witnessed on news reports by millions around the country and the world and sparked outrage, not only among the black communities but in the hearts and minds of the entire nation.
As a reaction to this terrible, senseless murder, shock and anger manifested in rioting and looting in many large cities throughout the US. Most demonstrations were peaceful, but many ended in arson, violence, vandalism, and burglary of businesses. Even innocent lives were lost during incidents caused by out-of-control protesters.
Will Insurance Cover Riot Damage Costs?
Small-business insurance policies generally cover damage to windows, doors, light fixtures and contents, including furniture, office supplies, machinery and computers, plus the cost of boarding up windows and securing the business.
Damage to cars is covered under auto insurance policies, which include comprehensive coverage.
Paul Blume, senior vice president, state government and member relations for the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, said, “Every effort is being made to assure prompt assessments and payments for covered claims. We can reassure customers that most standard insurance policies for business owners and homeowners provide coverage for property losses related to civil unrest.”
Tips on how to expedite the recovery process for property damage claims from the American Property Casualty Insurance Association.
- Report your claim promptly: It is very important for policyholders to report their claims to their insurer as soon as possible, so the claims handling process can begin.
- Prevent further damage: Check for safety hazards when it is safe to do so. Board up broken windows or make other temporary repairs. Do not attempt to make permanent repairs on your business until an insurance adjuster has inspected the property.
- Save receipts: Policyholders should keep receipts for expenses incurred for any repairs made on a temporary basis to protect the property from further damage or to restore operations.
- Document the damage: Take pictures or video of the damage and preserve any property that may have been destroyed, so the insurance adjuster can look at the damaged property. Attach documentation with claims reports.
- Work only with reliable professional repair contractors: Ask for and verify references and contact police, chambers of commerce or Better Business Bureaus for complaint information involving a contractor. Your insurance company may have referral options for contractors.
- Hire a professional cleaning service for your place of business: If you or your employees are involved in cleanup efforts, use safety items such as proper eyewear, gloves, hardhats, dust masks and respirators.
- Read your policy: Business interruption coverage can vary, so it is important to talk with your agent, broker or insurer to ensure you understand your policy coverages.
Injured? Call Cesar.
Cesar Ornelas and his law firm are experts at representing victims of property damages or loss as well as personal injuries. If you are having problems with your insurance covering losses or injuries give him a call. Dealing with insurances can be very intimidating and frustrating, causing stress and unanswered questions on your part.
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Licensed in Texas, Cesar Ornelas’s nationwide practice is entirely contingency fee-based and consists of a wide variety of catastrophic personal injury and death cases. He has represented countless victims of catastrophic accidents across the United States.