You go out to your car on a Saturday morning only to find someone has slashed your tires, broken your side mirror and spray-painted the back of your house. You’re a victim of vandalism. While the odds are low that you'll ever find the responsible party, the odds are good that the bulk of the repair costs will be paid for if you have the right insurance coverage.
There are two main types of auto insurance. Collision insurance covers car accidents, or basically anything bad that happens if the car is in motion. Comprehensive insurance, on the other hand, covers everything from theft, to storm damage, and vandalism. While collision insurance is mandatory in most states, comprehensive insurance is typically optional.
Auto Insurance Deductible
Just like collision insurance, comprehensive insurance policies come with a deductible -- the amount you pay out of pocket before the insurer pays the rest. As of 2013, average deductible amounts range from $250 to $500. You can lower your monthly insurance bill by selecting a higher deductible, and vice versa. The end result is there's only so much of anything, including vandalism, the insurance company will cover completely.
Homeowner's insurance assumes the home will take some hits, including a few intentional ones from vandals. So, as long as you have a valid homeowner's policy, you're covered for vandalism. It could be a maliciously broken window, a smashed mailbox, or the tracks left from someone driving across your just-planted new lawn. The act doesn't matter as long as the policy is active.
Homeowner’s insurance assumes someone is there. If you’re on vacation, and your home is vandalized, you’re covered. But, if the home contains no personal property for more than 60 days, policies won't cover things like broken glass that figure to happen to a unused structure. Most insurance companies won’t insure a vacant home at all -- an issue that become prevalent during the housing market crash that started around 2007. That left a lot of empty homes as people were forced to vacate places they could no longer afford.
Vandalism claims of any kind likely require a police report. If the police say they’re coming to your home, don’t touch or move anything until they’ve done their job and completed their report. It’s also a good idea to take pictures of any damage and create a list of anything that needs to be repaired or replaced. With the necessary paperwork in hand, you're ready to proceed. If something needs to be repaired immediately because of the vandalism -- like a broken bedroom window -- speak with your insurance agent first and explain the circumstances.
Based in the Pacific Northwest, Todd Duvall has been a writer since 1983. He has written for various local, regional and national clients, winning numerous awards. Duvall received a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Washington State University's Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.