Homeowners insurance blog

Does My Policy Cover Riot Damage?

Civil unrest can strike anywhere – from a metro business hub to a small-town community. Looting, theft, and vandalism are possible in the midst of the mayhem. But if something happens to your home as a result – will your homeowners’ insurance cover it?

Standard home insurance policies are in place in part to protect your property. Typically, this includes damage to your home from the following:

  • Wind
  • Hail
  • Aircraft
  • Riot
  • Vehicle
  • Fire and smoke

For many homeowners, riot is top of mind right now because of the events in Ferguson, MO. Damage resulting from riots typically can be covered by standard homeowners policies. Just as it would other listed perils.

A section of fence destroyed when a small plane makes an emergency landing through your back yard likely would be covered. The same could apply if rioters pushed through your yard and toppled the fence. Windows broken as a result of hail could be covered – the same if rioters threw bottles and rocks at them.

Rioters might loot your living room and take your electronics. The provisions of your insurance policy that cover theft typically would pay to replace them.

Here’s how different coverages in your homeowners’ insurance policy could come into play during a riot.


What it is: Protection to help fix or rebuild your house.

How it could help: This provision could cover property damage to your home from explosion, fire, or vandalism. All are possible in a riot. Be sure your limit equals the cost of rebuilding your home, not just market value.

Other structures

What it is: Protection for other structures on your property, such as sheds, fences, or detached garages. Limits usually are set 10% of your dwelling coverage limit.

How it could help: If a shed, detached garage, or fence gets damaged in a riot, this coverage can help repair or replace it.

Personal property

What it is: Protection that can replace your possessions if they’re destroyed or stolen. Usually, the limit is set at 50-70% of your dwelling coverage limit. However, there can be strict ‘sublimits’ for high-value items such as jewelry and artwork. You can schedule endorsements to cover those items fully.

How it could help: Looting would likely be treated as theft from an insurance standpoint. This coverage could help replace items taken.

Loss of use

What it is: Let’s say your home isn’t habitable because of damage from a covered peril. This part of your policy can help cover additional living expenses. The limit typically is set at as much as 20% of your dwelling coverage limit – though there can be time constraints.

How it could help: If someone rams an automobile into your living room during a riot, this coverage typically can help with lodging and meals while you wait for repairs.