When they hear the word “vandalism,” a lot of people think of a broken window or a spray painted wall.
But vandalism often causes a lot more destruction. Vandals cut through walls, destroy electrical wires, ruin floors, damage pipes, start fires, and destroy equipment.
Sometimes the vandalism results in even worse damage. Broken pipes can cause entire buildings to flood. Fire can spread through multiple rooms. People can be forced to move out of their homes and businesses can be forced to shut down while repairs are made.
After their property is vandalized, property owners are forced to hire contractors, electricians, plumbers, and other repair companies to recover from the damage caused by the vandals.
Do insurance companies pay for vandalism?
Most property insurance policies are written to cover vandalism damage to buildings. The fight we see in a lot of cases is about what is or is not vandalism.
Many policies do not provide coverage theft damage if the damaged building was vacant. For that reason, insurance companies will sometimes call vandalism damage “theft damage” and then deny claims for damage to vacant buildings. We also see insurance companies try to claim that a building was vacant even when it wasn’t.
How damage is classified and whether buildings are legally considered vacant are legal issues that have been analyzed by our court system. A lot of times between case law and the definitions written into the policy, terms, like “vacancy” may have a different meaning than what an average person might think of at first.
When faced with a vandalism claim, some insurance companies will ask for a recorded statement or an Examination Under Oath to question a homeowner or business owner about the damage and the building. During questioning, insurance company adjusters or insurance company lawyers will sometimes try to get an insured to agree that a property was vacant or that all of the damage was caused by theft, without explaining the full definition of these terms.
Should insurance companies pay for damage caused by tenants?
Departing tenants sometimes leave damage in the form of vandalized property. This is especially common after a tenant is evicted or forced to move out. This type of damage is still something that should be covered by most insurance policies.
When insurance companies try not to pay for damage caused by a tenant, they usually will try to say that the damage was caused by “wear and tear” instead of vandalism. Insurance policies usually exclude damage caused by wear and tear.
Insurance disputes for vandalism damage claims.
If you don’t 100% agree with the insurance company’s decision about your claim, you should talk to someone about your case and your options. If you call us or use the contact form to the left, you can talk directly to an insurance lawyer about your claim and the insurance company’s decision. That conversation is completely free, and in it, we’ll give you our straightforward thoughts on whether you’ve got a case against the insurance company or not. If we think you do have a case against your insurance company and you want to fight against the insurance company’s decision, we will take you on as a client. We work on a contingency fee, meaning we only get paid if we get money for you from the insurance company.
We handle vandalism claims that have been denied and vandalism claims where too little was paid by the insurance company to make repairs. We also get involved in cases where the insurance company is dragging its feet or has demanded an Examination Under Oath or hundreds of pages of documents.