Car Insurance and Civil Unrest: Does Car Insurance Cover Damage Caused by Protesters?

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Lauren Blair has been practicing law for more than 25 years. Lauren has been a licensed member in good standing of the Illinois bar since 1994, the year she graduated from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law. Prior to law school, Lauren obtained a Bachelor of Arts in government from Cornell University. For the first 20 years of her practice, she worked in mid-size l...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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  • Comprehensive car insurance covers damages to your vehicle caused by rioting, looting, and other incidents of civil unrest.
  • Neither basic personal automobile insurance nor collision insurance protects against damages from riots.
  • A Business Owners Policy covers physical damages to business premises and their contents caused by riots, vandalism, and other forms of civil unrest.

Despite the best intentions behind protests, acts of civil unrest can lead to property damage. Most often the damage is unintentional, but sometimes individuals and organized crime syndicates see peaceful protests as an opportunity to loot and intentionally damage property.

What risks are covered by automobile insurance? Does car insurance cover damage from riots? This article addresses car insurance and civil unrest.

If you think your car insurance covers civil unrest but your insurance company is not cooperating, you may wonder if you should hire an auto insurance lawyer. You Can enter your ZIP code in our search tool to talk to a lawyer in your area.

What Risks Are Covered by Automobile Insurance

You want to know: Does car insurance cover riot damage? The answer depends on the type of coverage you have. But, what types of car insurance coverage are there? How can you understand the difference between your collision and comprehensive insurance? Take a look at this video for more information.

There are three general categories of coverage: basic personal coverage, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage.

Basic Personal

Basic personal auto insurance is required in every state. It provides financial protection in case of an accident with coverage for damages relating to:

  1. Property, such as damage to your car;
  2. Liability, meaning your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage caused by the accident; and
  3. Medical, including costs for medical treatment and rehabilitation, and sometimes for transportation and lost wages.

A big mistake is thinking that a basic policy covers damages to your own car. It does not. To cover your own car, you need collision and/or comprehensive coverage, which are optional.


Collision auto insurance covers damage to your car resulting from a collision with other vehicles, property, or objects when you’re at fault. Collision coverage also typically covers pothole damage to your car, but not normal wear-and-tear or mechanical issues unrelated to a collision.


Comprehensive auto insurance reimburses you for an unrecovered stolen car and for damages caused by any incident other than a collision, such as fire, flood, hail, falling rocks or trees, and other hazards like vandalism, riots, and looting. According to the III, approximately three-quarters of U.S. drivers chose to buy comprehensive coverage as part of their auto insurance policies.

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Comprehensive Car Insurance Covers Civil Unrest

Comprehensive insurance does cover riots and looting. So, if you opted for comprehensive coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, then damage to your vehicle caused by riots and looting should be covered.

If you file a car accident claim for damages caused by civil unrest, your insurance company should reimburse you for damages to your vehicle, including a cracked or shattered windshield, caused by vandalism or other acts during a riot. Comprehensive coverage also reimburses you for damage to or loss of any contents that were in your car.

Keep in mind that filing an insurance claim is not always easy. Click here for tips on how to deal with an auto insurance claims adjuster

What Risks Are Covered by Business Insurance

You may also be wondering, “Does insurance cover riots for a business?” More specifically, “Does business insurance cover damages from riots and looting?” The answer is yes if the business has the right coverage added to their policy.

Business Owners Policy

Damages to the physical part of a business and its contents caused by fire, riots, civil commotion, or vandalism are generally covered under a standard Business Owners Policy, also known as a “BOP.” Some businesses purchase coverage for plate glass windows separately. As discussed below, businesses can pay for additional coverage for business interruption. 

Business Interruption Policy

Business interruption coverage provides financial protection to businesses against certain losses due to their inability to operate.

If a business is forced to suspend or restrict operations due to physical damages to a building or premises caused by riots, then “business income insurance” will cover the loss of income.

Businesses that add a “civil authority provision” are covered for lost income and extra expenses when law enforcement or the fire department bar access to the area where the business is located as a result of direct physical damage caused by a riot, looting, or other civil unrest.

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Unfortunately, sometimes cars and businesses get damaged when peaceful protests turn into unlawful riots and looting. If you have the right insurance, your automobiles and businesses will be covered against riot damage.

If you’re having a dispute with your insurance provider about whether your car insurance covers damage caused by protests, or if you have general questions about car insurance and civil unrest, put your ZIP code into our search tool and find an insurance lawyer in your area.

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