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What does RSMD mean in Fire Insurance?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 12/01/2024
  • 2 min read

RSMD (Riot, Strike, and Malicious Damage) is a broad category of risks that can be covered by fire insurance. Fire insurance policies grant insurance for any harm or destruction brought on by RSMD to furniture, stock, machinery, building, etc.

As a result, the RSMD coverage in fire insurance can be defined as incidents that occurred as a result of riots or strikes and caused destruction to the insured valuable goods.

However, it is critical to understand what risks RSMD covers in order to ensure adequate protection.

But there is more to know about RSMD in insurance. Let us dig in and learn more about it.

RSMD in Fire Insurance

Riot, strike, and malicious damage are all terms that are frequently associated with property insurance, specifically fire insurance. Let us dissect each component and learn about RSMD meaning in insurance.


A riot is a violent disruption of the peace caused by a crowd. In the context of insurance, it refers to a situation in which a group of people engages in tumultuous and disorderly behaviour that causes property damage. This can include vandalism, structural destruction, or any other type of malicious activity committed by a large group.


Work stoppages or employee protests that are planned are called strikes. The term "strike" in insurance parlance describes the harm inflicted by striking workers. This could involve deliberate damage to property or other actions meant to interfere with regular business operations.

Malicious Damage

Malicious damage includes damage to property that is purposefully done by people with the intention of causing harm or destruction. Vandalism, arson, and other intentional actions that cause harm to the insured property could fall under this category.

Factors Contributing to Riot, Strike, and Malicious Damage

Inequality in wealth, opportunities, and living conditions can lead to anger and frustration, which can fuel collective action.

Protests and demonstrations can be sparked by dissatisfaction with government policies, corruption, or perceived injustice.

Strikes can occur when workers and employers disagree on issues such as wages, working hours, and working conditions.

Protests and riots can be sparked by acts of perceived injustice, such as police brutality or unfair legal decisions.

Historical Context of RSMD

The inclusion of RSMD coverage in fire insurance dates back to a period when civil unrest and labour strikes were more common. Protecting assets from collateral damage caused by protests and demonstrations posed significant challenges for industries. In response to these challenges, insurers began including RSMD clauses in their policies.

The frequency and nature of civil disturbances have changed over time, resulting in changes in the insurance landscape. While the historical context highlights the origins of RSMD coverage, it is critical that these policies be updated to address current challenges and risks.

What is Not Covered Under RSMD?

While riot, strike, and malicious damage (RSMD) coverage in fire insurance provides significant protection, it is critical to understand what this clause may not cover. Exclusions and limitations vary by insurance policy, but common scenarios that may not be covered by RSMD include:

War and Terrorism

War and acts of terrorism are typically not covered by RSMD. Civil disturbances and organised acts of war or terrorism are frequently distinguished by insurers, with the latter requiring separate coverage.

Acts of God or Natural Disasters

Act of god or natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes, are not covered by RSMD coverage because they are caused by human actions. Businesses and property owners must obtain additional protection against these risks.

Intentional Acts by the Insured

If the insured causes intentional damage or destruction to their own property, RSMD coverage may be void. Insurance is intended to protect against unforeseen events, and the policyholder's intentional actions may be excluded.

Coverage Under Fire Insurance

Now that we are clear on what RSMD are, let us look at how fire insurance policies handle these situations:

Inclusion in Standard Policies

RSMD coverage is a common feature of many fire insurance policies. It is imperative that policyholders thoroughly examine their policies to verify the scope of coverage and any applicable limitations.

Endorsements and Additional Coverage

In some cases, insurers may provide RSMD coverage through endorsements. Policyholders can choose to supplement their coverage by purchasing these endorsements, which may incur an additional premium.

Limitation and Exclusions

While RSMD cover in fire policy is intended to protect against specific risks, the policy may contain limitations and exclusions. Coverage may be limited, for example, based on the severity of the event or the specific circumstances surrounding the damage.

Importance of RSMD Coverage

Businesses and property owners must understand the significance of RSMD coverage in fire insurance. Here are some of the main reasons why this coverage is important:

Mitigating Financial Risks

The role of RSMD coverage in minimising the financial dangers associated with property damage caused by riots, strikes, or malicious acts is critical. The cost of repairs or replacement may fall entirely on the property owner if adequate coverage is not obtained.

Protecting Business Continuity

Disruptions caused by riots, strikes, or malicious damage can have an enormous effect on business operations. RSMD coverage protects against financial losses and expedites recovery, allowing businesses to resume normal operations as soon as possible.

Comprehensive Risk Management

It is critical to include RSMD coverage as part of a comprehensive risk management strategy. This offers an additional layer of protection against unforeseeable events that standard fire insurance policies may not cover.

Meeting Legal and Contractual Requirements

Businesses may be required by law or contractual agreements to have RSMD coverage in some cases. Failure to meet such requirements may result in legal consequences as well as financial liabilities.

Claim Process for RSMD Events

When an insured property sustains damage as a result of a riot, strike, or malicious act, the claims process is critical. Here's a high-level overview of the procedures:

Report the Incident

The policyholder must notify the insurance company of the incident as soon as possible. This contains information regarding the incident, the degree of damage, and any other relevant details.

Document the Damage

Thorough documentation is required. This may entail taking photographs, obtaining witness statements, and gathering any other evidence that may be relevant to the claim.

Cooperate with Insurer’s Investigation

Insurance companies frequently conduct investigations to determine the validity and scope of a claim. During this process, policyholders should fully cooperate with the insurer's representatives.

Evaluation and Settlement

The insurer will assess the claim and decide on the proper settlement amount after the investigation is finished. This could include repairing or replacing damaged property or providing financial compensation in accordance with the policy terms.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Not Understanding Terms and Conditions

Glossing over policy terms and conditions can lead to coverage misunderstandings. Take the time to read and comprehend the fine print on your insurance policies.

Assuming Standard Coverage

Do not assume that standard policies will cover all possible risks. Based on your needs and circumstances, consider additional coverage options.

Not Seeking Professional Advice

Insurance decisions should not be made in isolation. Consult with an insurance professional, such as a broker or agent, to ensure you fully understand your options and choose appropriate coverage.

Not having Comprehensive Risk Management Plan

Insurance is only one component of a well-rounded risk management strategy. Other risk-mitigation measures to consider include safety protocols, security measures, and emergency plans.

Final Words

Understanding the intricacies of RSMD fire insurance becomes critical as you navigate the complex insurance landscape. Protecting your property from unforeseen events is an important step towards securing its future.

When looking into comprehensive insurance coverage, it's important to work with reputable companies. Tata AIG is one such reputable player known for its commitment to providing robust SME Insurance solutions.

Remember that the right fire Insurance coverage not only addresses current challenges but also ensures resilience in the face of evolving risks.


Is RSMD Coverage mandatory in fire insurance policies?

No, RSMD coverage is typically an optional add-on to standard fire insurance policies; it needs to be specifically included in the policy to be applicable.

How does RSMD coverage affect premium costs?

Including RSMD coverage in a fire insurance policy usually results in a higher premium, as it extends protection to additional risks associated with riots, strikes, and malicious damage.

Can businesses benefit from RSMD coverage?

Yes, businesses with physical assets and properties can benefit from RSMD coverage, especially if they are located in areas prone to social unrest or labour strikes. It adds an extra layer of safety beyond standard fire insurance.

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Disclaimer / TnC

Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.

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