Aug 252004
 
Authors: Ryan Riggen

Over the weekend rioters left a trail of damage in their wake, leaving others to clean up the mess and pay for the damages.

Owners of damaged cars and homes are left to sort out the situation with insurance agencies on their own.

According to the Traffic Operations Department of Fort Collins, two street-name signs pulled out of the ground at Plum and Bluebell streets have to be replaced at a total cost of $80 to $100.

“If the district attorney were to prove that any of the five arrested were responsible for the damage to the street signs they could have to pay the city restitution,” said Stewart Ellenberg of the city’s risk management department. “I don’t think it’s very likely that will be proven so the city will likely be self-insured.”

The city is not insured for street signs and poles, so self-insured means the money will come directly from the city’s operating budget.

A few cars parked in fraternity and sorority house parking lots in the area also sustained damage. Mark Koepsell, director of Greek Life, met with the house directors and learned that there was no damage done to any windows of the actual houses, but individual cars were vandalized.

“The people with damaged cars are working with their own insurance companies,” Koepsell said.

Koepsell said that rocks were thrown at Greek houses and rioters stole a lumber pile behind Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, 733 S. Shields St. He said rioters also took boxes out of the Dumpster at Zeta Tau Alpha, 1225 Baystone Drive, to fuel the fire and at one point tried to take the Dumpster itself.

Koepsell said all the Greek houses are insured but it is too early to tell what kind of restitution, if any, will be made to the houses.

Those with damaged cars are forced to deal with their own insurance agencies to recoup any damage. Not all insurance covers damage inflicted to cars during riots because insurance only covers what is named on the policy. Riots are not always named on policies.

Eric Moskalski, a State Farm Insurance agent in Fort Collins, said comprehensive insurance does cover damage that occurs during riots both on car and homeowners’ insurance.

Comprehensive coverage covers damage such as fire and hail, but those insured are subject to a deductible. Deductibles must be paid by the insured before the insurance agency covers the rest of the damage. Deductibles vary in amount depending on coverage.

“People with comprehensive coverage will be covered by riot damage,” said Mike Moskalski, a licensed insurance agent for State Farm. “If you have just the bare minimums then you are not covered.”

Chris Young, a Farmers Insurance agent, said homeowners’ insurance and renters’ insurance will cover damage done to property because of vandalism or malicious mischief, which includes riots. Car damage would also be covered if the person has comprehensive insurance. People who only have liability coverage would not be covered for damage done to their cars.

“Windows broke in homes would be covered by homeowners’ insurance,” Young said. “Renters’ insurance would cover the renters’ personal property.”

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