By Ade Fashola
For the first time since my university days, I am witnessing a sincere protest. It is Real and Justified. I had been wondering why my colleagues (young and old) in addition; teens and young adults always complained about police but I never grasped the magnitude till the recent outpouring of details shared by victims. How can we the people have waited this long to address these issues, in particular details of SARS incidences outpouring like a never-ending fountain? Kudos to the #SOROSOKE generation, all I can say is THANK YOU. May God guide us till fruition.
While the peaceful protest is ongoing, individuals in private capacity or business capacity, Businessowners, Car-owners, Homeowners, and by extension Insurance companies are brazing up for the fallout of a likely uncontrolled and/or violent protest. The questions coming my way is whether or not insurance will cover them in case of damages to their properties. I say-Yes;standard insurance policy usually covers damage arising from rioting, looting, vandalism, and/or civil commotion. This would include damage caused by rioters or caused by the reactions of police and civil authorities during a riot.
When violent protests break out, people in different capacities are often and rightly so concerned about damages to their assets examples of which the following commonly come to mind – home, business, cars even lives. Depending on the nature of the property, there are several types of insurance coverages available to protect vehicles, businesses or homes from most forms of civil commotion.
For Homeowners, standard homeowners’ policy will cover damage to the property caused by fire, an explosion, a riot or civil commotion, vandalism or malicious mischief. This would include coverage to the structure of the home, as well as any personal possessions. If you cannot live at your home because it was damaged by an insured disaster, standard home (and renters insurance policy) provide coverage for additional living expenses (ALE). This pays for the cost of living away from home above and beyond traditional expenses. For instance, ALE covers hotel bills and restaurant meals incurred while a home is being repaired or rebuilt.
For Auto insurance, damage to cars is covered under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto policy. This provides reimbursement for damage to the vehicle and its contents caused by fire, falling objects, vandalism or riot. Comprehensive coverage will also reimburse a policyholder if a windshield is cracked or shattered. Some companies offer glass coverage without a deductible. Most drivers choose to buy this optional coverage as part of their auto insurance policy.
Business insurance, damage to the physical part of a business and its contents that is caused by fire, riots, civil commotion or vandalism is generally covered under a standard Business Owners Policy (also known as a BOP). Some businesses purchase coverage for plate, glass, windows separately. Businesses that are forced to suspend operations or limit hours due to riots may have coverage for the loss of income under business income insurance also known as business interruption insurance. However, this is only triggered if there is direct physical damage to the premises. A “civil authority provision” in a business policy provides coverage for lost income and extra expenses in the event the police department or fire department bars access to a specific area as a result of direct physical damage caused to a nearby business by a riot or civil commotion.
While thinking of insurance, please focus on how to prevent looting.
How to prevent harm, looting or damage during riot.
Plan ahead of time, don’t forget about children, elderly and your pets. They may become fearful and panic. Stow away some supplies and comfort items for them as well. For pets, have their food or treats as well as medication on hands. For children, don’t forget to have extra diapers, formula, or if they are older, their favorite food and toys. Finally, don’t forget about elderly neighbors or relatives. There may be a mad rush of people to the nearest store to buy supplies and fuel. Typically stores sell out extremely quickly, and it is very common for violence to occur as people fight over resources. You should already have your supplies to avoid this scenario.
If you find yourself in the middle of an unrest away from home, your priority is to get out of there as quickly and as safely as possible. You don’t want to attract attention. If you are driving a car, look for a safe place to park your car, refrain from wearing or having anything visible that may look valuable. You never want to become an attractive target especially during a civil unrest. If you are caught in the chaos, there is a chance that you could be confronted and threatened. Your initial inclination might be to engage in a physical or verbal confrontation. However, your most prudent choice is almost always to de-escalate the situation. Try to stay calm, respond clearly, obey reasonable instructions and make every attempt to leave peacefully.
To Prevent Vandalism on your Property, Install Security Lights, Install Unbreakable Glass and Light Fixtures, install a Fence, Strategically Placed Shrubs and Bushes, Lock Security Gates and Doors, Clean Up and Repair the Effects of Vandalism Immediately, Report Vandalism to the Police.
If vandalism does occur, immediately call the police to report the incident. They can take a report for your insurance company, and gather evidence on who the perpetrators might be. Then, you can call your insurer, who will gladly help you start a claim to fix the damage and get on your way.
Some of these tips have been shared to keep us abreast of how to keep safe and benefits we may need to activate in the event of an incidence. It is however commendable to say our #sorosoke generation have so far showed great skills at coordination and focus. We must be on the lookout so miscreants or others with ulterior motives do not alter the purpose and process of the peaceful protest.
#ENDSARS #SOROSOKE #POLICEREFORM
By Ade Fashola