Does Your Home Insurance Cover Vandalism?
As a homeowner, you want to protect your precious investment by ensuring you have adequate coverage for your property in case of any potential risk or danger, whether it be natural or man-made. With home insurance, most people first think of fires, structural damage, malfunction, and accidents, however, it’s worth checking your insurance policy to see what it says about vandalism.
Most incidents of vandalism occur when a house has been vacant for more than 30 days. In order to prevent damage while you’re away from your property, there are some precautions and tips you can employ:
● If you’re selling your house and not living on the premises, you can put up a sign that hints that there are still people who reside there (Please don’t disturb occupants. By appointment only).
● During the sale of the house, don’t put the lockbox on the front door but put it on the side or back of the house to make it more challenging to get the key.
● Ask a trusted friend, neighbor, or relative to check up on the house and collect mail regularly so they notice if anything is off.
● Ask a neighbor to park their car in the driveway or in front of the house.
● Install motion sensor lights or timed interior lights to give the illusion of the house being occupied.
If you have no choice but to leave the house vacant for a while, you may want to consider purchasing additional vacant-home insurance, since some normal home insurance policies may have a statute of limitations, meaning it won’t cover vandalism damages if a home has been left vacant for over a certain period of time. Though the cost of this coverage is higher than normal policies, most are available for purchase on a month-to-month basis, and you may also be eligible to receive a pro-rated refund for any unused portion; you’ll just pay for the time that you leave the house empty and need the extra coverage. Additionally, you’ll have more peace of mind because it will provide a fuller coverage for costs associated with vandalism that a typical policy may not, including vandalism by fire.
If you choose not to get the specific insurance for vacant houses, you’ll find that in most cases, if your house does experience some form of vandalism, whether it’s been stripped of materials or appliances or tagged by graffiti, most normal home insurance policies will cover costs for repair or replacement of damages or loss. Here’s what you should do:
● Try to keep the damage from getting worse, but don’t repair it.
● Call the police and file an official report.
● Document as much as you can with photography, descriptions, etc.
● Lastly, call your insurance company with the information and documentation to file a claim.
There are a lot of circumstances and environmental factors out of your control when it comes to protecting your home, but there are some preventative measures you can take as a homeowner to minimize the risks of being vandalized. And just in case it does happen to you, make sure that your home insurance policy provides adequate and fair coverage for this type of damage.
Do you have extra vandalism insurance? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.