Peter K. of Minneapolis was sick to his stomach as he watched the local news coverage of rioting and looting near his home.
On his TV, he saw a fire raging near the warehouse where Peter leased space for his business equipment.
Peter owns four bars around Minneapolis, and he used the warehouse to store fryers, wine coolers, patio bar stools, catering equipment, and even sentimental items.
Sadly, by the end of the night, everything he had in storage (valued around $350,000) was gone.
“There was nothing salvageable,” Peter said. “It’s a pile of rubble and molten metal.”
And Peter isn’t alone…
It’s estimated that rioting and looting will cost insurers tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars.
At least 600 structures were damaged by riots and looting, and complete numbers haven’t been reported yet.
And that’s just in Minnesota.
Across the country there has been looting in major cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City.
Peter’s insurance agent told him it might be some time before the insurance company could make it to the scene.
Yet, Peter is thankful that his insurance will cover his losses.
As most people know, insurance coverage can be tricky. And you need to read, know and understand the fine print.
So, here are a few things to consider about your homeowner’s coverage as it is related to riots and looting.
Owner vs. renter occupied: Whether it’s a business or a home, understand the difference between who owns the building and who owns stuff inside of it.
Insurance policies tend to split along those lines.
An owner almost always has insurance that covers the structure and attached fixtures.
This is usually true whether it’s a commercial property or a residence.
But a person renting the property does not automatically get coverage from the policy held by the landlord.
While the landlord’s insurance policy should cover any structural damage…
Such as if windows are smashed or bricks from the building are stolen, it’s up to the landlord to file that claim.
But if the renter’s personal possessions are stolen, they’re likely not covered.
Which means, if you rent, you should get some form of insurance for yourself, such as a renter’s policy.
A home that you own and live in: Homeowner policies cover what insurers call ‘perils.’
Insurance companies consider fires, thefts, and explosions in this category.
Riot damage is covered as well.
Some homeowners also add ‘catastrophe’ insurance to their policies to make sure they’re covered in the event of a terrorist attack.
Depending on the homeowner’s policy, a few or all unattached items inside the building could be excluded.
For example, some homeowner’s policies will only cover up to $5,000 in “business property” held inside of the home.
That could be a problem for people working from home or storing extra supplies and inventory.
In this case you would need to add an extra policy.
Plus, if you work from home now, things like your work computer may not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Vehicles: Car insurance typically covers damage from riots, especially if you have ‘comprehensive’ coverage.
Comprehensive coverage protects car owners if something other than a collision occurs.
Fires, riots, vandalism, or falling trees would require ‘comprehensive’ coverage.
If you don’t carry this coverage you may be able to purchase specific “riot” auto insurance coverage.
Check your insurance policy to make sure you have more than ‘collision’ coverage.
Always remember: it doesn’t matter what the insurance salesman told you.
All that matters is what’s in the paperwork.
Because you know that some insurance companies are always looking for ways not to pay.
So, while reading insurance documents is not what I’d call fun, you need to be sure you’re covered in the event of looting and riots.
Additionally, at least once a year, you should document your home and all your valuables inside.
Take pictures or videos of the property and save receipts and serial numbers for expensive items.
By following these tips, you’ll be as protected as possible with insurance in case looters and rioters ever strike.