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Ferguson Riots – Does your Insurance Protect you?

As a member of the St. Louis community, property owner and property manager in Ferguson Missouri, it saddens me to see how the Ferguson Riots have caused Ferguson and St. Louis to be portrayed in the national media over the past week.

I have been asked by several of my clients and investors over this past week about what actions if any we has property owners and managers should be taking in response to the Ferguson Riots and protests taking place.

First and Foremost – My advice to everyone is that unless you feel the need to be part of the peaceful protest demonstrations, you should stay clear of the area.

What if I have Rental Property in Ferguson?

So far it seems the protesting and rioting is staying contained to the commercial district on West Florissant Ave. between Chambers Road and Canfield Ave.  I have not seen any news reports of any residential properties being targeted or damaged.

What if I have maintenance calls to perform in the area?

This largely becomes a judgment call on your part.  You should really assess the urgency of the maintenance request and weigh it against your safety as well as the safety of any maintenance personnel you would send out.  Given the events of the past week, just don’t go after dark, until things calm down.

My Tenant called and says they don’t feel safe, what should I tell them?

I have been advising my Ferguson Tenants to stay in at night, and if they still do not feel safe, then I advise them to lock the house or apartment, set the alarm and go stay with a friend or relative until the situation in Ferguson calms down.

What if my Property does get damaged during the Rioting?

You need to review your insurance policy.  Most policies include language regarding “Civil Unrest.” While I am not an insurance expert or underwriter, I think the Ferguson Riots would fall under the “Civil Unrest” classification of most insurance policies.  Your policy will either cover damages do to “Civil Unrest” or the policy will exclude it.

Unfortunately if you policy currently excludes it, it is most likely too late to call your insurance company and get it included for this event.  It may be worth a call to your agent to find out your insurance carriers exact stance in situations like this though.

It is not my position to make any commentary on the current situation in regards to the Ferguson Riots and protests, but I do encourage all of my investors, clients and tenants to remain calm and make decisions with their safety in mind first.

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