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A riot is defined as an incident of violent disorder by three or more people, where the police formally declare the incident as a riot. The term riot is generally used to describe a single episode of trouble while civil commotion may relate to a more prolonged situation.
Businesses in London and other cities that had the Riot and Civil Commotion peril included within their insurance were able to claim on their policy in the aftermath of the 2011 disturbances. The sudden onset of those riots illustrates that any premises, particularly with a city centre presence, are vulnerable to attack as a result of civil unrest.
If Riot and Civil Commotion is included as a peril in your policy you will be covered for the costs of repair and replacement of items damaged as a result of a riot, providing the police formally declare that a riot has taken place.
The policy excludes damage caused by a fire because any fire that broke out as a direct result of a riot would be covered under a fire policy.
A fire policy does not cover the consequential losses incurred as a result of any interruption caused to your business. Only by taking out business interruption cover can you safeguard against these potentially enormous losses.
Nothing can prevent the emotional losses attached with damage (as was seen in 2011 in Croydon for example). By having the appropriate insurance in place however you can at least protect yourself against the potentially enormous financial impact of such an incident.