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Does Auto Insurance Cover Civil Unrest?

June 8, 2020
5 mins
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The anti-racism protests rocking the United States in recent days have resulted in riots between protestors and police, with vehicles being vandalized and properties damaged in the wake of the outrage of the death of George Floyd.

Anti-racism protests have also unfolded in Canada, but they have not been marked by the same level of violence witnessed stateside. Nevertheless, many drivers may wonder what happens if their cars are vandalized, damaged, or set ablaze during civil unrest. Will your auto insurance policy pay for those types of damages?

What does your car insurance protection include?

Drivers who are wondering whether or not their vehicles are adequately insured in the event they are vandalized or destroyed in a riot should review their policies or speak to their broker to ensure they have what’s known as comprehensive coverage. Riots and civil unrest are also covered under the “specified perils” portion of your policy.

Comprehensive coverage is the portion of your car insurance policy that covers you for things such as theft, vandalism, or fire. Likewise, it is the comprehensive portion of your auto policy that will pay for damage to your vehicle if it is hit by road debris or a flying object after you pay your deductible. Like collision, comprehensive coverage is an optional add-on to your policy.

Most comprehensive insurance coverages will cover ‘civil commotion or riots’ in addition to damage resulting from theft, vandalism, and fire.

In Ontario, a standard car insurance policy includes four mandatory (or required) types of coverage:

  • Third-party liability. This coverage protects you if someone is hurt or killed in an auto accident, or if their property is damaged. It will also cover you if you’re facing a lawsuit as a result of an accident up to the limit of your coverage. The minimum amount of third-party liability coverage you must have in Ontario is $200,000.
  • Uninsured auto. This coverage protects you and your family if you are hurt or killed by another driver who is not insured. It also provides coverage for your vehicle if an uninsured driver damages it.
  • Accident benefits. If you, a passenger in your vehicle, or a pedestrian who is involved in a car accident is injured, accident benefits will pay for your medical rehabilitation regardless of who is at fault. You have the option to up the minimum amounts of coverage for income replacement, medical rehabilitation, attendant care, caregiver, and death and funeral coverages that come with a standard policy.
  • Direct compensation-property damage. DC-PD coverage ensures your auto insurer will pay for damage to your vehicle and its contents, as well as the loss of use of the vehicle or its contents if another driver is at-fault for an accident.

In Alberta, a standard or basic auto policy must have:

  • Third-party liability. As in Ontario, the minimum amount of third-party liability coverage is $200,000. According to the Automobile Insurance Rate Board, the majority of Albertan drivers have at least $1 million worth of third-party liability coverage.
  • Accident benefits. This is the portion of your policy that covers the occupants of a vehicle if they are injured or killed in an accident. The minimum amount of accidents benefits coverage required in Alberta is $200,000.

Why comprehensive coverage is important

If you have a relatively new vehicle that is not 10 years old or older, including comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy may make a lot of sense. It is worthwhile coverage to have.

Think of comprehensive coverage as protection for your vehicle from any non-car collision threat like a natural disaster, civil disturbances, falling or flying objects, fires or explosions, as well as vandalism, theft, and damage as a result of hitting an animal while driving.

Talk to your broker or insurer about your car insurance policy, and inquire about adding optional comprehensive coverage if you are concerned.


The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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