Business owners in Florida know the importance of certain types of insurance coverage, such as coverage for weather-related events like hurricanes.
Another fundamental type of casualty insurance that should not be overlooked is vandalism or malicious mischief insurance. This insurance protects against loss from vandals who damage your property.
Vandalism insurance is generally included as part of basic commercial and homeowner insurance policies. It is especially necessary for business owners whose properties are often the targets of vandals during the hours the building is closed or unoccupied.
Vandalism insurance is also a good idea if your business is in a high crime area or if you recently had a dispute with a business partner. You may have to pay a higher deductible, but it is often worth it.
Vandalism and malicious mischief
Vandalism is generally defined as the intentional destruction of someone else’s property. The specific purpose of vandalism is to cause damage.
In contrast, malicious mischief is an action that results in damage to property, although the damage was not intended. A common example of malicious mischief is if someone sneaks onto your property after hours and spray paints graffiti.
A vandalism policy should cover damage to any personal property located at your business. For example, if someone breaks into your business and pours liquid over your computers, destroying them, your vandalism policy should cover that loss.
Vandalism insurance might not cover everything. Property that has been vacant for a long time could be considered abandoned and not covered by your policy. Additionally, if you are a landlord, damage from your tenants is usually not considered vandalism and you are responsible for repairing the damage.
What to do if your business is vandalized
Finding out your property was vandalized can be a difficult experience. There are some steps you should take after the vandalism to increase your chance of receiving reimbursement for your loss.
Report the crime to your local police department and keep a copy of your report. Take photographs of all damage to provide to your insurance company.
Review your insurance company’s vandalism policy in detail. It likely contains specific steps you must take to file a claim. This might include taking an inventory of the losses sustained and providing a proof of loss statement.
Your insurance company may send an adjuster to investigate. Be prepared for this and cooperate with the investigation.
Organize all documentation related to the claim and keep copies of everything. Staying organized and having documents ready, if necessary, increases the chance of your claim getting approved efficiently.
Take proactive steps to prevent future vandalism. Lock up cash and valuables in a fireproof safe. If you have larger valuable items, consider a fireproof room or wall safe. Putting bars on your window or investing in a security system are also good ideas.
When your business is targeted by vandals, filing and submitting the claim can take time. Taking these steps can help you get back to business as soon as possible.