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Homeowners insurance and vandalism
Vandalism is one of the standard perils covered by most homeowners insurance policies. This will cover both the primary dwelling as well as your personal property. Furthermore, if the property damage is so severe that you aren’t able to reside in your home, additional living expenses (ALE) coverage will kick in to cover lodging and other expenses until your home is habitable.
Find out more about how your insurance coverage covers vandalism by reading our guide below.
Vandalism insurance — table of contents
- What is vandalism?
- How to make a vandalism claim
- What if your car is vandalized?
- Does renters insurance cover vandalism?
- Homeowners insurance and vandalism: considerations
Vandalism and malicious mischief are perils covered by standard homeowners policies. Typically, vandalism is considered to be a willful act of destruction against your property. Instances of vandalism can include things such as slashed bike tires, broken windows, or spray paint on your home’s siding.
Malicious mischief is commonly associated with vandalism. The two are often lumped together, though some insurers define malicious mischief as intentional damage that is less likely to cause substantial damage — think toilet paper rolls or eggs being hurled at your house. The lines can quickly blur, however, because if an egg were to, say, break a window, this can then be considered an act of vandalism.
Riots or other instances of civil commotion that result in acts of vandalism are also covered by your homeowners policy. If a theft occurs alongside vandalism, this is typically covered by your home policy as well.
What about vandalism to an unoccupied home?
Homes that are unoccupied are covered against acts of vandalism, though vacant homes are typically not covered. For this reason, it’s important to know how your home insurance company defines such properties. Vacant homes are typically defined as homes that have sat empty for a sustained period of time — often 30 to 60 days or longer — and that are free of your personal possessions. Unoccupied homes are generally considered to be vacation homes or homes that are only lived in part-time.
Some companies may provide special coverage for vacant homes which could be worth seeking out. Vacant home insurance policies typically only provide bare-bones coverage and protect against limited perils.
Vandalism or other acts of malicious mischief can come as quite a shock. Before you file an insurance claim, there are some steps that you need to take.
- File a police report.
- Take photographs of the damage.
- If you have a home surveillance system, make sure to see if it happened to catch the perpetrators in action.
- If necessary, take action to prevent further damage — such as covering a broken window — but do not make repairs.
- Collect important documents such as your home inventory.
It’s important that you don’t try to make repairs yourself if you intend to file an insurance claim to repair the damages. That said, you are encouraged — perhaps even required — to ensure that the damage doesn’t get worse. Covering a broken window or damaged entryway could prevent further damage from occurring.
Have as much information on hand as possible when speaking to your insurance company, including photos, an inventory of items affected or videos from home security systems. Some insurance companies may have a mobile app that allows you to submit claims along with these items. Your insurer will likely have a claims adjuster to survey the damage. Afterward, they will follow up with the necessary steps for completing repairs.
When to file a homeowners insurance claim
Your home insurance will cover damage related to vandalism, but it may not always be necessary to file an insurance claim after an act of vandalism. While you should still file a police report, if the damage from vandalism is minimal — such as a busted mailbox — it could be cheaper to simply make repairs on your own. As your claim will be subject to a homeowners deductible, unless the cost of repair is significantly higher than your deductible, it’s almost always worth paying out-of-pocket.
Keep in mind that numerous claims can also drive up your rates as well. Have a look at the table below providing average homeowners insurance rates after vandalism claims.
AVERAGE HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE RATES AFTER VANDALISM CLAIMS
|One Vandalism Claim
|Two Vandalism Claims
If your car is vandalized — even while it’s parked at home — your home policy will not cover the damages. For your vehicle to be covered, you would need to have comprehensive coverage added to your car insurance policy. However, any personal possession stolen from the inside of the vehicle would likely be covered under your homeowners personal property coverage.
Renters insurance will cover vandalism, though the specifics are quite different from homeowners insurance coverage. Your coverage will likely be limited to personal items. For instance, any acts of vandalism that affect the building’s structure will be covered by the landlord’s policy. However, most renters insurance policies also include additional living expenses coverage that may apply if civil commotion renders your home uninhabitable.
Your home is one of the most important purchases you’ll make. As such, you need to protect it. When getting insurance, make sure that your coverage limits are high enough to fully replace items that are damaged or destroyed.
If the cost of your insurance coverage has you concerned, it may be time to start looking for a new insurance policy altogether. The Zebra can help you find the home or auto insurance policy that fits your needs by providing free insurance quotes from the country’s top companies.
Compare insurance quotes to find the best value.
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About The Zebra
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.
- The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
- The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
- The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
- The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.