Vandalism and Your Homeowners Insurance Coverage
Knowing how vandalism and your homeowners insurance coverage mix is an important step toward making sure any claim you might have is covered properly. You hope vandalism on your property never goes farther than a silly TP job, but if it ever does you need to be prepared. Knowing whether this issue is covered by your policy will help you determine whether or not purchasing extra coverage for hazards is necessary.
Types of Vandalism
Typically, how much coverage you have will depend on the type of vandalism you are concerned about. It is important to go over specific examples with your agent so you know how your specific policy works. For example, should you contact your homeowners agency or your car insurance company if someone breaks into your garage and damages your vehicle? If your home is vandalized and something is taken, will all of the damage be covered under your theft clause or do you need more protection?
One of the trickiest issues to insure is arson. Some homeowners policies will cover this under your fire clause but others will deny your claim if the fire was proven to have been started intentionally. If the latter is the case then you will need to purchase extra protection under your liability and casualty coverage in order to be covered.
It is also important to make note of how a fire caused by a natural disaster will be covered. Like the previous scenario, some agencies will cover this damage under a fire clause while others will expect you to have a separate rider for the natural disaster at hand. If you live in an area where natural disasters can lead to home fires, such as tornado alley, then it is important to ask your agency how they handle such issues.
Filing a Vandalism Claim
The first thing you should do when you realize your home has been vandalized is call the police. This will get them started on tracking down why the incident happened. Many agencies will require a copy of the police report in order to file a claim, so get copies of any paperwork available. Also, take pictures of all the damage and make a list of anything you believe will need to be replaced.
Once you have all the necessary documents, it is time to call your insurance company to file your claim. They will probably send an agent out to inspect the damage for themselves. Wait to see what steps they require before making any effort to start repairing the damage so you are sure you are not doing something that might result in your claim being denied.
Some issues, such as broken windows or doors, will need to be repaired quickly so you will not have time to wait for your claim to be filed. If this is the case, talk this over with your insurance company and explain why you need to go ahead with the repairs specified. They will go over the steps you need to take to get reimbursed for your costs. Make sure you keep copies of all receipts for the replacement products you buy so you can be reimbursed accurately.
The key to filing a vandalism claim successfully is being aware of what needs to be done for your specific company. Vandalism and your homeowners insurance coverage are not issues you deal with every day so you will need to take your time to read your policy before taking any steps. Ask plenty of questions along the way to make sure you are not missing vital steps in the process.