Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Vandalism?


WRITTEN BY: Mark Romero

UPDATED: DECEMBER 27, 2022 | 2 MIN READ

One of the most significant benefits of getting a homeowners insurance policy is that your standard insurance typically covers vandalism. That’s also one of the main reasons why people get it. Below we’ll review how a standard homeowners insurance policy covers vandalism and what the policy will cover.

Homeowners Insurance Coverage for Vandalism

A vandalism policy will cover the primary dwelling and any personal property inside. Sometimes the policy will cover lodging and other expenses if the damage is so severe that you can’t stay home.

What is Vandalism?

Vandalism is purposely destroying or defacing property that’s not yours. It can be done in several ways – egging someone’s home, smashing light fixtures, graffiti, or kicking down a door. It qualifies as vandalism if someone intentionally damages your property without your consent.

Types of Vandalism:

  • Slashing tires
  • Spray painting on a house
  • Keying a car
  • Breaking outdoor lights or windows
  • Egging your home
  • Tampering with plumbing
  • Gluing locks
  • Salting or destroying your lawn
  • Arson
  • Cutting trees or bushes without permission

What is Vandalism in Insurance Terms?

In insurance terms, incidents of vandalism are considered malicious mischief, and standard homeowners insurance provides coverage. Vandalism is the willful act of destruction against someone else’s property. Acts of vandalism include broken windows, spray paint on the home’s siding, or slashed bike tires.

Malicious mischief is intentional damage that’s not substantial. For example, if someone threw eggs or toilet paper at your home wouldn’t necessarily cause permanent damage. But if an egg happened to break a window, it would be considered vandalism.

You might be surprised that your home insurance policies also cover riots or civil commotion.

Do You Need Vacant Home Insurance?

Vacant homes can be like a beacon to vandals who see them as an easy mark. You might assume that you still have coverage of your home if it’s vacant after 30 days. Some companies have provisions for removing vandalism coverage if your home is empty. Still, home insurance companies will outright cancel your coverage when they become aware that your home is vacant.

It’s always best to be upfront with your insurance agent and let them know your home will be vacant. Inform them about how long the house will be empty and how to secure the home.

What Can Be Done If Your Home Is Vandalized?

There are specific steps to follow if you have been the victim of vandalism.

  • Take pictures of the crime scene for evidence.
  • Call the police and file a police report. The report is essential for your insurance claim. It will provide a detailed account of the damages that occurred to your home.
  • Try to minimize the damage, like boarding up a broken window. Only make repairs once your claims adjuster has come out and looked things over.
  • Call your insurance company to file your claim. Ensure you have all the essential information for the claim, such as videos, photos, and inventory of destroyed items.

There is no way to prepare for an act of vandalism. The best thing you can do is ensure you have proper homeowners insurance to protect you.

When Is It Right to Make A Claim?

Your insurance will cover vandalism, but making a claim may not be necessary. It’s important always to make a police report, but if the damage is minimal, like a broken mailbox, making a claim might not be worthwhile. A claim will be subject to a deductible, so it might be better to pay for the repair out-of-pocket unless it costs more than your deductible.

Unfortunately, making one claim or multiple claims can cause your insurance rates to go up, so you want to make sure it’s worthwhile to make a claim.

The table below will show the average homeowners insurance rates after claims were made.

AVERAGE HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE RATES AFTER VANDALISM CLAIMS
Insurance CompanyNo ClaimsOne Vandalism ClaimTwo Vandalism Claims
Allstate $1,594$2,105$2,739
American Family $2,261$2690$3,105
Farmers $1,455$1,737$1,858
Liberty Mutual$1,506$1,686$1,939
Nationwide$1,236$1,588$2,052
State Farm$1,356$1,464$1,464
Travelers$1,444$1,720$1,902
USAA$1,231$1,528$1,810

Does Renter’s Insurance Cover Vandalism?

Homeowners and renters insurance are different when it comes to coverage. You do get coverage for vandalism with renters insurance, but the coverage is usually limited to personal items. Your landlord likely has their own insurance for the building structure, so it will be covered under their policy if it’s vandalized. However, if civil commotion renders your home inhabitable, renters insurance policies typically will cover living expenses.

Other Things To Consider

When you decide to purchase a home, it’s a pretty big decision. It’s important that you protect such a big purchase. When you meet with an agent about getting homeowners insurance, you want to make sure that the coverage limits are high enough to fully replace items that are destroyed or damaged.

It’s also important to shop around, especially if your first quote seems expensive. Not all insurance companies are equal, and calling around will allow you to find the best coverage for all your needs.

FAQs

What is vandalism?

Vandalism is the destruction of your property, and it can include trash dumping, breaking windows, graffiti, light smashing, defacing property, removing or bending signage, or ornamentation.

Is vandalism a crime?

Vandalism isn’t generally a serious crime unless the property destroyed was worth a lot of money. Most acts of vandalism are misdemeanors meaning that the maximum penalties are typically fines or a year in jail. However, it’s a felony if the vandalism causes serious damage.

What insurance will cover damage from a vandal?

Your auto insurance will cover damage to your car if the policy includes comprehensive coverage.

What types of things aren’t covered by homeowners insurance?

Standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover everything. You may have to get additional coverage for personal belongings such as artwork, collectibles, valuable jewelry, identity theft protection, or damage caused by a flood or earthquake.

Get Help Finding the Best Coverage for Vandalism

You never want to be caught unaware without insurance during vandalism. Whether it’s your car or home, you want to have insurance in place just in case you are a victim of vandalism. Standard Homeowners Insurance typically covers vandalism, but it’s always best to check with your insurance agent to see what you have coverage for.

It’s always a good idea to call your insurance provider the moment your notice vandalism to your house or car. Make sure that you call the police and have a police report made whether you decide to file the claim or not.

Review homeowners insurance rates from the top companies in your area by filling out our online rate form. You can even connect to a licensed insurance agent to answer any additional questions you may have.