Your home is your haven, and if someone was to invade it with acts of vandalism, why should you be responsible for repairing the damage? Thankfully, most homeowner’s and commercial insurance policies include coverage for acts of vandalism. Before your insurance company offers a settlement, you may first have to deal with their antics.
Insurance companies do not always work in your best interest, though we assume they do. Vandalism claims are tough to prove, especially if you did not file a police report. This can cause your provider to reject your claim, which will only add more stress to your situation. Consult with an insurance attorney if you are in this situation.
Texas Insurance Attorney
Rather than dealing with your insurance provider on your own, let LeMaster & Ahmed PLLC carry the burden for you. Ms. Ahmed and Ms. LeMaster are well-versed in the tactics often used by insurance companies to limit their liability. They will use this knowledge to your advantage to best achieve your insurance needs.
Call (832) 356-7983 to schedule a consultation. We will evaluate your situation and advise you on the best course of action. LeMaster & Ahmed PLLC has offices in The Woodlands and Plano, but we regularly assist policyholders in areas such as Houston, Dallas and Galveston.
- What is Considered Vandalism?
- Will My Insurance Cover Vandalism Damage?
- My Vandalism Claim Was Denied
- Additional Resources
What is Considered Vandalism?
Vandalism is a crime commonly associated with teenagers. While some acts of vandalism can be as harmless has teepeeing a house, some can leave costly damage. Simply put, vandalism is the purposeful act of destroying or defacing someone’s property without their consent. Common acts of vandalism to a home or business include:
- Breaking outdoor lights or windows
- Egging property
- Cutting trees and other landscape
- Tampering with plumbing
- Painting or drawing on a structure
- Destroying vegetation
- Gluing locks
Will My Insurance Cover Vandalism Damage?
Whether or not your insurance will cover vandalism damage depends on your policy. Most homeowners and commercial property insurance cover vandalism unless it is specifically excluded. However, there is a significant exception to vandalism coverage.
Vandalism is covered for occupied and unoccupied homes. Vacant homes will not be protected. For a home to be considered vacant, the structure must be empty and free of the owner’s personal property. A scenario where vandalism damage might not be covered is an empty home up for sale or a new home waiting to be moved into.
Keep in mind; your insurance policy will only provide personal property coverage up to a certain amount. High priced items like electronics and jewelry will have some coverage, but it will likely not be enough to repair or replace the entire item.
There are steps you need to take to ensure your damaged property is repaired or replaced. You should immediately call the police once you notice your home or business has been vandalized. Once you report the crime, and the police have investigated the scene, document all the damage and contact an insurance lawyer. An insurance attorney will make sure you have all the necessary evidence to support your claim and they can advise you on how to speak with your insurance company.
My Vandalism Claim Was Denied
Many insurance providers are reluctant to pay vandalism claims and makeup many excuses to avoid settling a claim. Some policies, mainly commercial policies, have provisions requiring certain monitoring equipment. Your provider may deny the vandalism claim by contending the proper monitoring equipment was not installed.
Some claims, however, are denied in bad faith. Some examples of bad faith can include denying a claim without conducting a proper investigation or denying a claim based on color, religion, gender or other characteristics. Insurance companies who take part in bad faith practices are violating the rights of policyholders, which is grounds for civil litigation.
You can seek the following damages when suing your insurance provider:
- Three times the amount of the claim
- Attorney fees
- Additional damages deemed appropriate by the court
You should not try to represent yourself in a lawsuit against an insurance company. These corporations have esteemed legal counsel who will fight tooth and nail for your insurer. Thankfully, the attorneys at LeMaster & Ahmed PLLC have experience litigating on behalf of insurance companies. They will use this experience to your advantage and get you the best possible result per the termsof your policy and Texas law.
Homeowners Insurance | Texas Department of Insurance – Visit the official website for the Texas Department of Insurance to learn more about vandalism coverage. You can also learn about replacement cost, actual cash value coverage and extra personal property protection for high price items. The Texas Department of insurance is responsible for regulating insurance in Texas.
Unfair Settlement Practices | Texas Insurance Code – Follow the link to read the chapter of the Insurance Code governing bad faith. Section 541.060 features a list of acts considered bad faith, but you can also learn about hearing procedures and misrepresenting insurance policies. The information can be found on the Texas Constitution and Statutes website.
Insurance Lawyer in Texas
It is important you consult with an attorney if you feel your insurance company has mistreated you. Ms. Ahmed and Ms. LeMaster have more than two decades of experience litigating vandalism claims of all sizes. Whether you are a business or individual, you can trust LeMaster & Ahmed PLLC to fight for you.
Call (832) 356-7983 to schedule a consultation. We advocate for policyholders in Montgomery County, Collin County, Harris County, Dallas County and Galveston County.