What Is Vandalism?

Vandalism, also called malicious mischief or criminal mischief, is intentionally damaging another person’s property. Vandalism can harm, alter, or destroy property—common types of vandalism range from graffiti to toilet-papering a house.

  • Graffitiing a house
  • Stickering property
  • Carving things into trees or fences
  • Keying a car
  • Slashing a car’s tires
  • Breaking windows
  • Egging a house
  • Defacing property
  • Smashing mailboxes
  • Knocking over gravestones
  • Damaging street signs

Vandalism of a home can range from covering it in toilet paper to smashing the windows and spray-painting the siding. Vandalism costs home and business owners billions of dollars in damage each year.

Homeowners Insurance and Vandalism

When considering homeowners ' insurance claims, most people think of natural disasters such as storms, fires, and floods. They may not think about other potential sources of damage, such as theft or vandalism until these crimes occur. As a homeowner, finding that most basic home insurance policies cover vandalism and theft damage will relieve you. In a general vandalism scenario, a homeowner's insurance company will investigate the claim, inspect the damage, request a professional repair estimate, and offer a reasonable settlement to remedy the damage from the vandals.

Many basic homeowners insurance plans also cover arson. Arson is the intentional setting of someone else’s home or structure on fire. It could also refer to reckless fire-starting, even if not intended. If a vandal throws fireworks on your porch, for example, and it catches your home on fire, this could be a coverable damage. It is essential, however, to call your insurance company and ask outright about your coverage. Ask if your current plan covers vandalism and fire by vandalism. If not, consider upgrading your policy.

Vacant-Home Insurance

In some cases, an insurance company may make obtaining a settlement for vandalism damage more difficult. The most common claim denial scenario is if the homeowner left the property vacant for 30 days or more. If the owner was away on vacation, living in a different home, or the house was listed for sale while empty for more than 30 days, the insurance company may try to blame the vandalism on the homeowner’s negligence. The property owner must take reasonable steps to protect a vacant home from vandals.

Vandalism prevention methods for an empty home include a video surveillance system, alarms, a locked gate, motion-sensor floodlights, real estate signs that say do not disturb occupants, and a trusted friend or family member regularly checking on the house. These are reasonable steps a homeowner could take to try to prevent vandalism or theft. If the homeowner did not take steps to protect a home they left empty for longer than 30 days, the insurer may try to deny the claim.

In most cases, the only way a homeowners insurance company will pay for vandalism damage to an empty home is if the owner had purchased vacant home insurance ahead of time. If you plan on being away from your house longer than 30 days, call your insurance company and let them know. You can purchase a month-to-month vacant-home insurance policy covering vandalism even with an increased risk of this crime. 

Has Your Home Insurance Company Denied Or Undervalued Your Property Damage Claim In Florida?

If your insurance company is dragging its feet regarding your property damage claim, you should speak with an experienced insurance claim lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Florida law office at 800.451.6786 to schedule your free consultation. We help Florida residents like you fight the big insurance companies who fail to abide by their policies. Remember, we work on a contingent basis, meaning you don't pay us anything until we win your case. 

K.C. Williams III
Managing Partner who has spent his entire career representing Florida insurance and personal injury claims.