We’ve all watched plenty of movies where the rebellious kids show up at someone’s house in the middle of the night, throw eggs at the windows and toilet paper over the trees, spray paint crass words on the garage door, and then run away giggling. It’s funny in the movies, but not so funny when it happens in real life.
And while it probably doesn’t happen quite as often as those films would make it seem, vandalism is unfortunately a fact of life. As a homeowner, there are few things worse than being on the receiving end of a vandalism prank.
All kinds of people vandalize homes, of course, for all kinds of unfortunate reasons. And if they target your home, then you’ll be left trying to clean up a mess. But can you enlist the help of your homeowners insurance to cover vandalism? Read on to find out.
Does homeowners insurance cover vandalism?
Yes, homeowners insurance does cover vandalism. If your home is the target of an act of vandalism, your homeowners insurance policy will cover it just as it would cover any other covered peril, like a fire, a rainstorm, or lightning.
As with all homeowners insurance coverage, you’ll likely have to pay a little bit out of pocket to hit your deductible, but your coverage will apply if your home is vandalized.
What constitutes vandalism of a home?
When we hear the word vandalism, we tend to think of graffiti spray painted onto the sides of buildings. But when it comes to homeowners insurance, vandalism extends far beyond spray paint. Any act where a person is purposely damaging your home is vandalism. That means the aforementioned throwing of eggs and toilet paper is vandalism, but so is ripping up your yard, damaging your patio furniture, taking a baseball bat to your mailbox, and any number of other cruel things that people might do.
Does vandalism include damage to other parts of your property?
Yes, insurance covers vandalism on your entire property, as well as to your personal property. If someone vandalizes your garden, or your tool shed, or your tree house, that still counts all the same. If someone breaks into your home and trashes your personal property, that is considered a form of vandalism, and will be covered by your insurance plan.
What are examples of when homeowners insurance won’t cover vandalism?
There are a few exceptions when homeowners insurance doesn’t cover vandalism, though it changes from insurer to insurer. The most common time that vandalism isn’t covered is if your house is vacant. A vacant house is defined as one that has no one living in it, and no personal property contained in it. These are common targets of vandalism, and many times aren’t covered in a homeowners insurance plan, though you can usually buy specific vandalism coverage in that event.
Some insurance companies also won’t cover vandalism to your home if you’ve been gone for a certain amount of time, as that makes your home a more likely target. When in doubt, ask your insurance agent or check your plan before leaving your home for a long period.
What you should do if your home has been vandalized
If your home has been vandalized, treat it as you would any peril. File a claim with your insurer, and they’ll send someone out to assess the damage, validate your claim, and estimate a payment.