Now before I lose you before we start, hear me out.
If pirates attacked your home and loved ones or your office and employees tomorrow, would you have the right insurance coverage to cover the loss? Pirates often steal, break things, harm or kill people, or they could occupy your home or office building for an extended period of time. It is vital to think ahead to ensure you have the proper insurance coverage before you need it, because after an event takes place …well, you are out of luck.
Since this is a purely fictitious scenario, and many of these coverages often are dependent upon the specific issues in a case, what would or would not be covered if pirates actually attacked you could vary, but these coverages are key, so it’s important to have a discussion with your independent insurance agent to ensure you have the proper coverage … just in case.
What you need at home
The first type of insurance you need in case pirates attack your home is homeowners/renters insurance. While your basic policy will offer you some protection if your items are stolen by the pirates, you might want to consider additional coverages for valuables, such as jewelry—a popular item for pirates to loot.
Additionally, should the pirates set your house ablaze, your policy would respond, just make sure the coverage you pay for reflects any recent changes to your home or additional items you have in your home. After a fire is not the time to find out you don’t have enough coverage to replace everything.
Another type of insurance you need in case pirates target you is auto insurance, which if you have a car, you should already have since most states (except New Hampshire) require it by law. However, you might want to review your policy to ensure you have the right coverage to protect yourself.
Should the pirates set your car on fire or vandalize it during their raid, you might need rental auto coverage to cover transportation costs while your car is being fixed, something that is not typically standard in policies. However, if you have comprehensive coverage, this typically covers fire and vandalism.
Should the pirates steal your car, comprehensive coverage would protect you the most and would provide you with some sort of claim payoff if the car is unrecovered and deemed a total loss. One coverage that is not standard is personal property coverage. It provides protection of any personal items you left in your car when it was set on fire or stolen, so you should check with your agent to see if you have such coverage.
Finally, you might want to ensure you have some life insurance in case the pirates decide to … well, you know. You don’t want to leave your family without money should you meet an untimely demise at the hand of the pirates. Your agent can help you identify which life insurance policy, and how much coverage, is right for you.
What you need for your business
Your home is not the only place you need to be concerned about a pirate raid. They also could come after you at your office, so you need to ensure you have proper coverage for your building and your employees. But, you might be surprised what insurance won’t cover in this situation.
One of the biggest concerns is that the pirates might harm employees during a raid on your business. Workers’ compensation insurance would cover any injuries sustained by employees. Workers’ compensation covers injuries sustained while an employee is performing his or her job duties. Any injuries sustained in a pirate attack of the business would be covered, as the employee would have been injured in the course of their employment (even if pirates don’t have anything to do with their job).
However, if the pirates’ raid leaves your office in an unusable state, you should be covered for loss of income while you repair the damage under your business interruption insurancein thecommercial property insurance policy—if a pirate raid fits into the policy’s definition of “covered loss” and pirate raid is not excluded in the policy. You also should have coverage if the pirates occupy the businesses. BI covers not only lost profits, but many of the expenses your business continues to incur, even while closed. Rent or mortgage, employee wages and taxes are all business expenses that typically are included in BI coverage.
Even if the BI policy picks up the tab for your business’s loss of income, it will not pay for repair costs. Therefore, you need to ensure there is enough coverage in the commercial property insurance policy. The CPI would cover any damage the pirates might have caused to furniture, equipment, or the building itself. If the damage is more than CPI covers, you would need to pay the difference. However, this is when umbrella coverage can be helpful. If the CPI is maxed out, the umbrella policy would kick in to cover the difference up to the excess policy limits.
Now that we’ve covered your business and employees, what happens if there are nonemployees present in the office at the time of the raid? This is when a general liability policy shows its value. A GLP will cover harm to customers or nonemployees should something happen at your business. While this is normally a slip-and-fall situation, you might be able to convince the insurance company that a pirate raid also should be covered if customers are harmed—especially if your business had not been warned the attack was coming.
While a pirate raid might seem like a far-fetched event, the actions pirates take—looting, setting buildings and property ablaze, and general destruction—are all things that could happen to your home, personal property, or business so you must make sure you not only have the right type of coverage but the right amount as well. You don’t want to have a fire and realize your house was underinsured or have your car stolen and find out you don’t have rental auto coverage.
Your independent agent can help you ensure you not only have all these coverages and more, but also that you have the right amount of coverage should you find you have a loss.
Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez, Ph.D.
Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez received her Ph.D. in political science from the State University of Albany, Albany, N.Y., in May 2020. She also has her Master of Arts from SUNY Albany and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Elmira College, Elmira, N.Y.