What is vandalism insurance? A guide for landlords and small businesses

Sadly, vandalism insurance is an essential safeguard for many businesses and landlords. With vandalism potentially causing thousands of pounds of damage, you need solid cover. Read our guide to vandalism insurance, work out what you need from your policy, and stay covered across 2017.

What is vandalism insurance?

Vandalism insurance doesn’t usually come as a single cover, but there are lots of options available to help you build a policy and stay protected, whether you’re a landlord or a business owner. From repair costs and replacements, to cover that helps minimise lost income, it’s a case of choosing the covers that are right for you, and understanding any specific conditions.

Every insurer will have their own definition of vandalism insurance (and not everyone offers it), but in general it’s treated as wilful or malicious damage to or destruction of someone else’s property. Most insurers will also state in their policy wording that to have any claim paid, you must report the damage to the police immediately. There may even be a set timeframe with which you need to comply, and almost definitely requirements for supporting evidence. Check the policy wording and make sure you’re clear on what’s required from you.

Buying your policy through Simply Business? We’ll always make the policy wording available to read before you commit. And if you want to go through any vandalism cover specifics, or a vandalism insurance claim, our contact centre is full of experts who can help.

What does vandalism insurance cover?

For insurers who offer it, vandalism insurance often has a similar design to malicious damage insurance. So as long as you’re complying with the policy wording and reporting damage to the police straightaway, it will usually pay the cost of repairs to your damaged building. You can also add landlord contents insurance or business contents insurance to protect your belongings - just check the policy wording to make sure it covers repairs or replacements of contents that have been vandalised.

Does full coverage insurance cover vandalism?

When deciding on a policy, it’s important to read any documents carefully, making sure you’re confident about what’s covered. Buildings and contents insurance may cover vandalism, but every insurer is different and you do need to check. You may also need to meet certain conditions – if you don’t, your cover may be void, meaning your insurer can refuse to pay out if you make a vandalism insurance claim.

Depending on whether you’re looking to insure a business or rental property, vandalism cover conditions can be quite specific. We’ve set out the key details for both below, but double-check any policy wordings before you buy.

Vandalism insurance for businesses

From random vandalism we see every day to a targeted attack, businesses are at almost-constant risk of damage. Business buildings insurance can keep you protected against vandalism if you own the building.

Renting your business premises? The landlord will usually be responsible for having buildings insurance in place, but it’s best to check, preferably before any vandalism takes place. However, businesses usually come with some form of contents, stock, equipment, or fittings, and business contents insurance will cover you for damage to these.

If you’ve made any improvements to the building – for example adding an air conditioning unit – and these are vandalised, tenant’s improvements insurance could cover the cost of repairs and replacements.

Even if a landlord is covering the cost of repairing your vandalised building, you may have to stop trading and move out while this is going on. Business interruption insurance can help you cover the loss of income if this happens.

Once you’ve explored the options (and checked with your building’s landlord, if you have one), you can combine any of these covers into a single business insurance policy from Simply Business.

Vandalism insurance for landlords

Vandalism insurance for landlords carries a few important distinctions. Usually, it will only cover you for damage caused by parties who are not legally allowed to be on the premises. So this could be former tenants who are refusing to leave after their lease has expired, squatters, intruding members of the public, etc. Check the policy wording to see what’s covered, and if you’re unsure or want to find out whether tenant vandalism insurance is an option, just ask.

Vandalism insurance won’t usually exist as a separate cover, but can be covered under other types of insurance. For example, landlord buildings insurance will usually cover vandalism to your building.

If your property is a flat, the freeholder may be responsible for having buildings insurance in place. If so, you might want to consider landlord fixtures and fittings insurance to cover things like a fitted kitchen or bathroom against vandalism. These wouldn’t usually be covered by your freeholder’s buildings insurance. Similarly, if you’ve furnished the property for tenants, landlord contents insurance could replace any property that’s been vandalised, from furniture to white goods.

If your vandalised property needs repair work or redecoration, you may need to ask your tenants to move out while that work takes place. Loss of rent cover can be helpful here to cover the rent you’ll lose for this period.

Vandalism insurance wouldn’t extend to property owned by your tenant. Make sure your tenants know that in all cases, they’ll probably need to arrange insurance for their own belongings.

A Simply Business policy will help you combine all of these covers into a single landlord insurance policy. And if you need vandalism insurance for a commercial rental property, we can help you arrange specific commercial property insurance.

How to make a vandalism insurance claim

If you’ve discovered your business or rental has been vandalised and you have a policy with Simply Business, contact us as soon as possible online, by email, or over the phone on 0333 207 0560.

We’ll assign you a dedicated claims handler who’ll be in charge of your case. We understand that vandalism is upsetting and a real disturbance for business and income, so your claims handler is here to make the process as easy as possible.

They’ll go through everything you need to do, but remember it’s important to let the police know as soon as you discover the vandalism, and prepare to provide details about the damage as well as some supporting evidence such as photographs. Once the Simply Business claims team have all the information they need, they’ll review your claim, and if it’s successful it will be paid out within 24 hours of being settled.

Got a question about vandalism insurance? Just ask in the comments.

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