Does insurance cover damage from vandals during a protest?


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – When violence breaks out, those who own businesses are concerned about damage to their property as well as how they’ll recover.

And that is what’s happening in Raleigh and many other cities.

The Art of Style boutique is located at 21 W Harnett St. – a prime part of the downtown where foot traffic is important.

But over the weekend, it was foot traffic of a different sort that created turmoil and anxiety for the business owner who was already struggling with the economic situation imposed by COVID-19.

Kendra Leonard’s boutique was trashed by protesters in downtown Raleigh.

Leonard first heard what was happening to her store via text while she was dining out downtown.

“No one was in my store when I got there, but all the windows were shattered,” she said.

Leonard said looters made off with much of her stock, and what they didn’t take they trashed.

Luckily, she said, they didn’t get the ashes of her late husband which were in the boutique because he was the inspiration for the store.

“I’m devastated,” she said. “This is my dream, my life’s work – birthed out of the death of my husband.”

Because of COVID-19, Leonard had to let her three employees go.

She received Payroll Protection Plan money and intended to bring them back before the store was trashed.

Sunday, as she returned to the boutique to figure out what to do next, she encountered what she called a “mob of wonderfulness.”

“I had 30 people at least waiting for me outside my store when I arrived to clean it up,” Leonard said. “They were done in 30 minutes.”

Leonard hopes insurance will help her restore things.

“I’m expecting I should be covered,” she said.

The North Carolina Department of Insurance said for business owners like Leonard, damage to their property by civil disturbance is generally covered under a business owner’s policy.

Coverage for plate glass windows is sold separately.

In addition, there are several other things a business owner needs to know about riot coverage including:

  • Businesses forced to limit hours or suspend operations due to rioting may be covered under business interruption portion of their policy. 
  • Business interruption coverage only applies if there is physical damage to the premises. 
  • If police bar access to an area because of a riot or disturbance your policy may provide coverage for lost income.

Also, if you are leasing a building, check with your landlord because their insurance may cover some of the damage sustained in a riot or insurrection.

For Leonard, the insurance will help insure her boutique flourishes again.

“These are just clothes, that is just glass,” she said. “What fills it is the love of people and transforming lives into happy things and that is not being destroyed.

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