A broken window is a sign that many people would associate with burglary but in some instances, it may simply be a case of vandalism. Some property crimes are minor incidents that happen only once, but other times vandalism can become a repeated problem. This post discusses what homeowners need to do to protect themselves and their home from vandals.
Report the Incident
Some homeowners may hear or catch the vandal in the act of vandalism. If this happens to you, then you may be tempted to stop the perpetrator. Instead, stay inside and call 911 to avoid a potentially dangerous confrontation. Get a physical description of everyone involved in case the police arrive after they have left.
If you discover the damage after the culprit is gone, then contact the police to file a report. Call the insurance company to file a claim and take photographs while waiting for their adjustor to arrive. Do not repair or clean up anything unless it is a safety issue or if leaving it could lead to further home damage.
Reduce the Attraction
Property damage crimes are usually performed on easy targets. Eliminate hiding spots near the home and install motion-sensing lights and alarms on the property. Leave lights on inside the home to make it difficult to determine when it is empty. Park vehicles in the garage overnight to protect them as well.
If you choose to install a fence, then plan carefully. Make the fence difficult or painful to climb. Plant thorny vines, install individual slats too close together to use as climbing supports and add a spiked topper.
Identify the Culprits
In some cases, a community watch group will help reduce some crime in the neighborhood and make it easier to catch people in the act. However, the best way to catch a criminal is by recording their actions on video. Surveillance cameras in vehicles, on garages and homes and hidden around the yard provide proof of the guilty party.
Some neighborhoods now combine a watch system with high tech solutions for an even safer option. These communities connect and share information in private social media groups. They install their surveillance cameras for a wider view of the area and share the streaming video with the group for real-time monitoring.
Have Insurance Coverage
Most insurance carriers cover vandalism in a basic homeowner's policy. Of course, it is important to know if it is covered before it is needed. Read the policy or talk to an agent before there are any problems to see if the coverage is available or if additional protection is needed.
Be careful with vacant homes. It may not be possible to file a claim if the property is uninhabited at the time of the event. Some carriers cover empty homes for a period of time and others do not provide any vandalism protection. Talk to an agent when a home is left vacant to determine how the change affects the terms of the policy.
Delay Making the Repairs
Most homeowners immediately begin to clean and repair the mess as soon as the insurance adjustor leaves. A better option is to contact a public adjuster before any cleanup starts. They act as an advocate for the homeowner during a damage assessment and file supplemental claims or reopen a denied claim.
Vandalism is usually a random act of anger or boredom or the result of a neighborhood dispute. Whatever the reason, it is important for people to do what they can to protect themselves and prevent future issues. At The People's Choice Public Adjuster we help people to recover what was lost.
Contact us today for more information, or for help with a current or previously denied insurance claim.