Will Insurance Cover Protest-Related Damages to Your Florida Business?
The killing of a black man by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, triggered nationwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality. Unfortunately, protests entailed property damage to businesses, which had not still recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic that shuttered them for two months.
In view of this, many business owners whose businesses are covered by insurance policies are wondering, “Will insurance cover my damages and losses caused by the protests and civil unrest?”
Insurance Coverage for Business Damages Due to Protests
In Florida, businesses can seek insurance coverage for their losses and damages caused by protests and civil unrest through the following policies:
- First-party property policy
- Business interruption coverage
- Civil authority coverage
- Attraction property coverage
Note: As businesses are reopening following the government-mandated lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, business owners may have a hard time seeking compensation through business interruption coverage.
First-Party Property Policy
If your business is insured under the first-party property policy, you may receive compensation for physical damage to your property caused by protests, civil unrest, or looting as long as they are specified as a covered peril. Many policies include riot and civil unrest as a covered peril.
Alternatively, your company’s protest-related damages can be covered by the commercial crime policy, if you have one.
Business Interruption Coverage
If your business – like many other businesses in Florida – has business interruption coverage, you may obtain compensation for the loss of income caused by:
- Customers avoiding unsafe areas;
- Orders of civil authority; or
- A temporary suspension of operations.
Typically, loss of revenue caused by the above-mentioned factors is more serious than physical damage to property. Business interruption coverage provides compensation for business owners whose losses are caused by the unanticipated suspension of or interruptions in their operations.
Typically, business owners can obtain compensation for losses associated with a business interruption due to property damage at or near the policyholder’s property.
Civil Authority Coverage
Unlike business interruption coverage, civil authority coverage is applicable even if the policyholder’s property has not suffered any physical damage due to protests, riot, or civil unrest.
Civil authority coverage can apply if there is an action or order of civil authority restricting or prohibiting access to the policyholder’s property. However, most insurance companies require the policyholder to prove that some physical loss or damage occurred on the property owned by the insured or any property within a certain distance of the policyholder’s business.
Attraction Property Coverage
If your business is located near an attraction property (property that attracts business to your commercial property), your business may be covered by the attraction property coverage, which covers the policyholder’s loss of revenue. For instance, an amusement park near your store in West Palm Beach may be considered an attraction property.
Most insurance companies require that the attraction property is located within a certain distance of the policyholder’s property for the coverage to apply. If the insured suffered any loss of revenue caused by physical damage to the attraction property (e.g., due to a protest or riot), the coverage can provide compensation for that loss.
Consult with our West Palm Beach commercial litigation attorneys at Pike & Lustig, LLP, to determine whether any insurance coverage applies to cover your damages caused by a protest in Florida. Call at 561-291-8298 to get a case review.