If you believe a theft or vandalism incident has occurred at your home or business, you need to know the difference between the two crimes and how each event can impact your claim. Statistics show that over 6 million thefts occur each year. Many of these crimes go unreported to police or insurance companies because total damages may fall under their policy deductible.
Theft (or larceny in some states) is defined as “the action or crime of stealing.” When property is stolen, you are deprived of the use and benefits of the property. The theft could involve personal property such as jewelry or art, or business property such as documents, inventory, fixtures, and building materials, including plumbing, heating, air conditioning units, or electrical wiring that has a scrap value.
Vandalism is defined as an “action involving deliberate destruction of or damage to public or private property.” It is considered a crime mostly committed by younger people and occurs when one or more persons destroys or damages property without permission. Popular types of vandalism are painting graffiti on trains, bridges, and vacant commercial properties. Clean up from these crimes are on the rise and costs are reaching into the billions of dollars each year. If you’re a business owner, dealing with commercial building insurance in the aftermath of vandalism can cause a big headache.
You will find that many insurance policies have exclusionary language for vandalism of structures that remain vacant over a period of time. Your policy may require that vacant property have monitoring equipment and utilities, such as heat and electrical, for coverage to apply. Your policy may also require that the heat must be maintained and/or water shutoff. Insurance policy language can be ambiguous at times, especially when it relates to vacant property damage versus damage to buildings used for ongoing storage, or a building undergoing construction or remodeling. All of these factors complicate the property damage insurance claims process.
If you suffer a theft or vandalism, contact our public claims adjusters as soon as possible after the loss. Let us guide you through the claims process. Your interests are best protected when you hire YOUR OWN EXPERTS to handle the claim. We provide an initial consultation! If you like our services, we will handle your claim from initial filing through the entire process of recovering the value of a property that was lost or destroyed.