Does Car Insurance Cover Riots?

Last Updated on June 8, 2020

The United States is in the middle of an unprecedented civil rights movement. Over the past few weeks, there have been protests in almost every major city and town throughout the US as a response to ongoing police brutality against African-American citizens, specifically the recent deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. While the majority of protests have been peaceful, there have been some protests that have turned into riots.

If there has been unrest in your city, you may be wondering how you can keep your car safe. Specifically, you may be wondering if car insurance covers damage as a result of riots. Here’s what you need to know about car insurance and riots, and how you can protect your car from damage during this time.

car insurance covers riots

Car Insurance and Riot Coverage

Generally, comprehensive car insurance policies will cover damage as the result of a riot. Comprehensive car insurance is designed to cover things like vandalism, weather damage, and any other damage that is not the result of a collision. Damage from a riot typically falls into the vandalism category. However, if you only have liability coverage and do not have comprehensive coverage, you won’t be covered in the event of a riot.

If you’re unsure about whether your car insurance company covers damage from riots, now is a good time to get out your insurance policy and read it carefully. If you’re still not sure if you’re covered or not, call your insurance agent to clarify. If you don’t currently have comprehensive car insurance, now may be a good time to invest in it. Although it will make your monthly premiums more expensive, it can prevent you from having to spend thousands of dollars on repairs later on.

When Should I File a Claim?

There are many circumstances in which you can file an insurance claim after a riot damages your car. It’s very common for windows to get broken in the course of a riot. Riots often attract vandals who will put dents or scratches in your car or even tag it with graffiti. In more extreme cases, your car might experience fire damage as the result of a riot.

If the damage to your car has been minor, it may not make sense to file an insurance claim. Get a quote from your local auto repair shop to see how much it will cost to get your car fixed. If that amount is less than your deductible, it makes more sense to avoid filing a claim and pay for the repairs out of pocket. This is because your car insurance premiums can go up after you file a claim, even if you weren’t at fault for the damage.

However, if the cost of repairing the damage is more than your deductible, it makes sense to file a claim. Make sure to file the claim as soon as possible – if you wait too long to report the damage, your insurance company may not cover it any longer. Take as many pictures of the damage as you can, being sure to capture it from many different angles. Having photographic evidence will make it much easier for your insurer to process your claim. You should also write down a detailed account of what happened, and get witness statements if possible.

How Can I Protect My Car During a Riot?

It can be hard to predict when riots are going to happen. They often happen very quickly as a reaction to current events. We have also seen many instances where peaceful protests attract looters and other people who are looking to incite violence for their own personal gain. Because of the unpredictable nature of riots, it can be difficult to protect your car when they happen. However, there are some simple things you can do to reduce the change of your car experiencing damage as a result of a riot.

  • Stay informed about protests in your area and react accordingly. If there is going to be a protest just a few blocks from your home, you may want to consider moving your car to a different location. Even if the protest is peaceful, you still risk accidental damage to your vehicle on the street because of the sheer number of people there.
  • When you can, park your car in a garage instead of on the street. This reduces the chance that your car will inadvertently be subject to damage.
  • If you are attending a protest, be mindful of how you get there. If you need to drive to the protest, park your car several blocks away, ideally on a residential street or in a protected garage. If you have the option, walk to the protest, or take public transportation. It may take longer to get in and out of the protest, but it will help to keep your car safer.

How Can I Stay Safe When Protests Are Happening in My City?

If you’ve never experienced a large protest before, it can feel very overwhelming. You’ll need to be very aware of your surroundings to make sure that you stay safe. Here are some basic safety tips for protests and riots.

  • If you are attending the protest, or just need to pass through the area, make sure to go with someone else. Having someone else around to look out for you is very important for staying safe.
  • Wear nondescript clothing to avoid drawing attention to yourself. Wear long sleeves and pants as well as closed-toed shoes to stay safer.
  • If you get caught up in the crowd and want to leave, slowly make your way to the edge of the group. Then, walk away – don’t run, as this can draw unwanted attention from the police. You also should not stop in the middle of a large group.

Riots and other forms of civil unrest can be unnerving, particularly if you have never experienced anything like this before. However, these civil rights movements can be very important for positive social change in America.

Final Word on Car Insurance Covering Riot Damage

If your vehicle is damaged in a riot, you can file a claim with your comprehensive coverage to have your insurance company cover the damage. If you do not have comprehensive coverage and do not know who is responsible for the damage, you will most likely be stuck paying for the repairs out of pocket. Fortunately, adding comprehensive coverage to your current auto insurance policy is a simple task and can usually be done in a brief phone call to your auto insurance agent.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
Back to Top