Riot, Civil Commotion and Malicious Damage #LowYat Riot | Oh! My Car Insurance

So…. what about your car insurance? Does the private car (motor insurance) policy covers damages sustained in the recent malicious damage #LowYat rioting?

Well, that would depends on if you have a comprehensive cover —- if a comprehensive cover is purchased then we need to examine the terms and conditions within the said policy. Before we examine the wordings, perhaps good to reflect on the violence —- you determine for yourself if this act is riot, civil commotion or of malicious in nature.

You shall decide if the above painted the act of riot or civil commotion …. or was it merely malicious damage?

The Exclusion in the Private Car Comprehensive Insurance Policy



1.   We will indemnify You if Your Vehicle is damaged or lost in the following circumstances:-

  1. by accidental collision or overturning,
  2. by collision or overturning caused by mechanical breakdown,
  3. by collision or overturning caused by wear and tear,
  4. by impact damage caused by falling objects provided no flood, typhoon, hurricane, storm, tempest, volcanic eruption, earthquake, landslide, landslip, subsidence or sinking of the soil/earth or other convulsion of the nature is involved,
  5. by fire explosion or lightning,
  6. by burglary, housebreaking or theft,
  7. by malicious act,
  8. when in transit (including its loading and unloading) by:
    1. road rail inland waterway
    2. direct sea route across the straits between the island of Penang and the mainland.

Base on the policy coverage as mentioned under Section A, malicious act related damages are covered. All you need to do is to show your insurer that the damages to your car were a direct result of mischief committed by a group of people acting together.



We will NOT pay for any liability under the following circumstances:-

  1. If any loss, damage or liability caused by invasion, war (whether war be declared or not), warlike operation, acts of foreign enemies, hostilities, civil war, acts of terrorism, strike, riot, civil commotion, mutiny, rebellion, revolution, insurrection, military or usurped power or by any direct or indirect consequences of any of the said occurrences.

If we read General Exception no. 4, it simply states “…. caused by…. riot, civil commotion….” are exclusions in the policy —- those damages arising (directly or indirectly) are not covered. So you have a situation where insuring clause states damages arising from malicious acts are covered but that particular general exclusion states if such malicious act was driven substantially by riot and / or civil commotion, then such damages would be excluded….of course, to resist a claim for malicious damage for reason of riot or civil commotion would fall on the insurer concerned to prove on the balance of probability that the event was indeed a riot and civil commotion; not just a group of people acting maliciously. If indeed this was an act of riot and/or civil commotion then your policy will not respond to you claim for damages caused by malicious act.

What then constitute riot / civil commotion?

A riot is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as:
An assemblage of three or more persons in a public place taking concerted action in a turbulent and disorderly manner for a common purpose (regardless of the lawfulness of that purpose).
An unlawful disturbance of the peace by an assemblage of usually three or more persons acting with a common purpose in a violent or tumultuous manner that threatens or terrorizes the public or an institution. Courts around the world have defined riots with some extensions to the original definition in Black’s Law Dictionary. For example, it has been defined as “the gathering of three or more persons” with the “common purpose” to do “an un/lawful act [with the intent to use] force or violence.” It has also been defined as requiring “”tumult” or disturbance” at the time of the action.

A search around the web in regards to the definition of Civil Commotion…. (perhaps this is deemed the better one) Civil commotion refers to a public revolt by a large number of people who cause harm to people or property. It is a revolt by the people for general purposes and it usually involves many more people than a riot. Civil commotion is a kind of civil disobedience movement by the people which is serious and prolonged compared to riot.

While some called this a fracas or a ruckus but generally the public and the media recognised this as a riot and civil commotion….meaning filing a motor insurance claim successfully is likely to be a disappointing process! Already it was reported that claim filed for damages sustained by the vehicle (in the above video) was rejected by the insurer….as reported in the media. 

Usually, the insurance companies will not make good any loss happening by any riot and/or civil commotion. In this Low Yat rioting, your insurer may likely NOT pay your claim unless you had earlier on extended your motor comprehensive policy to cover for STRIKE, RIOT AND CIVIL COMMOTION (the wordings are as the table below….

Endorsement 25 – Strike Riot And Civil CommotionWe have noted and agreed that the words “strike riot and civil commotion” in General exception 4 of this Policy shall not apply to any accident loss damage or liability directly caused by(1)          the act of any person taking part together with others in any disturbance of the public peace (whether in connection with a strike or lockout or not) or the action of any lawfully constituted authority in suppressing or attempting to suppress any such disturbance or in minimising the consequences of such disturbance.

(2)          the wilful act of any striker or locked out worker done in furtherance of a strike or in resistance to a lockout or the action of any lawfully constituted authority in preventing or attempting to prevent any such act or in minimising the consequences of  any such act.

Provided that the indemnity given by reason of this Endorsement shall not apply to any accident loss damage or liability (except so far as is necessary to meet the requirements of the Legislation) directly or indirectly proximately or remotely occasioned by contributed to by or traceable to or arising out of or in connection with

(a)          war invasion the act of foreign enemies hostilities or warlike operations (whether war be declared or not) civil war

(b)          mutiny civil commotion assuming the proportions of or amounting to a popular rising military rising rebellion revolution insurrection military or usurped power or any act of any person acting on behalf of or in connection with any organisation with activities directed towards the overthrow by force of the Government de jure or de facto or the influencing of it by terrorism or violence or by the direct or indirect consequences of any of the said occurrences.

In the event of any claim hereunder You shall prove that the accident loss damage or liability arose independently of and was in no way connected to by or traceable to any of the said occurrences or any consequence thereof and in default of such proof We shall not be liable to make any payment in respect of such a claim.

Subject otherwise to the Terms and Conditions of this Policy.

Since the word, “terrorism” is also mentioned in this Strike, Riot and Civil Commotion extensional clause as well as in the General Exception no. 4, it would be good to try reviewing how things go….

Having discussed what constituted riot / civil commotion and malicious act, we should also take a look at the TERRORISM related exclusion in the same column for GENERAL EXCEPTION. The following is the definition of what constitute the act of terrorism….

  1. Acts of terrorism

Means an act, including but not limited to the use of force or violence and/or the threat thereof, of any person or group(s) of persons, whether acting alone or on behalf of or in connection with any organization(s) or government(s), committed for political, religious, ideological or similar purposes including the intention to influence any government and/or to put the public or any section of the public, in fear.

The definition of this Acts of terrorism is extremely wide, so wide that any inclination of a racial riot falls under it. Then, I can’t see Malaysian insurers vigourously applying this to deny claims that fall under the ambit of Strike, Riot and Civil Commotion extension.

So, the conclusion is, there are high possibilities of riot and civil commotion nowadays (not forgetting the increasing foreign workers population and the fragile racial lines) it makes sense to extend your private car insurance policy to include the coverage for Strike, Riot and Civil Commotion.

“Call up your agent today for Strike, Riot and Civil Commotion extension!”

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