With some of the protests over the previous weeks devolving into looting and rioting, many business owners found their lives changed overnight. From Minneapolis to New York, entrepreneurs were forced to abandon their shops out of fear for their safety and returned the next morning to find their livelihoods destroyed.
But in the face of genuine hardships and frustrations, we also saw many business owners showing an unimaginable amount of resilience in the face of this disaster. All across the country, we watched entrepreneurs guard their properties despite threats to their lives. We watched them toil for countless hours cleaning up the mess they didn’t create. And we watched them speak out in their communities against hate of any kind.
All of this goes to show that Americans who start their own businesses are some of the most fearless and dedicated people in this country. But because of how complicated the insurance industry can be, these heroes have a ton of questions when it comes to being compensated for their damages.
Luckily, this blog has some information that will help you navigate those difficult waters and get your business back on track. So if you have questions about how your insurance policy can pay for damages incurred during the riots, check out this post.
Does Your Insurance Cover Damages Caused by the Riots?
If you have suffered damages, the first thing you want to do is reexamine your insurance policy and get on the phone with your insurance provider. Most owners obviously don’t remember every single clause in their contract, so it’s best to refresh your memory before you get on the phone.
Why? Because if they try to misrepresent your policy, you want to have the details in front of you to make sure they aren’t taking advantage.
What Am I Looking For?
This is the #1 question on all business owners’ minds as they analyze their insurance policies. And we have the answer for you. There is probably a lot of jargon and bureaucratic speak in your insurance policy, so to make things easier, keep an eye out for any statements that claim to provide recompense due to “riots or civil commotion.”
According to the Insurance Information Institute, most business property insurance policies should include this clause. However, as we mentioned before, you want to be certain before entering into discussions with your provider.
What About Lost Income?
Believe it or not, many insurance policies do cover lost income due to riots or shutdowns by the government. This is called business interruption insurance. Business interruption insurance protects lost income incurred due to what is generally called a “covered peril.” Again, a lot of this depends on your policy, but covered perils usually included things like fires, thefts, lightning, falling objects, etc.
It may also cover your income if your business is closed due to something called “civil authority.” Meaning, if your business lost income because the government had to shut down access to your building. Beyond compensation for your property damages, business interruption insurance can go a long way in making you and your business whole again.
How to be Proactive
Sometimes it can take a tragedy to realize the best ways to keep ourselves and our businesses safe. And the best way you can do that is to make sure that your business is fully covered in advance. Now that you know what to look for, make sure that the next policy you sign includes a “riots or civil commotion” clause and business interruption insurance.
Hopefully, none of us will have to go through an experience like this again, but if there’s anything that 2020 has taught us, it’s that you never know what to expect.