Vandalism is a covered peril under the broad and special forms of homeowners’ insurance and dwelling policies. In New York, homeowners’ insurance policies come in several forms. HO-2, HO-3, and HO-5 all cover vandalism on buildings and contents.
A dwelling policy is similar to a homeowner policy, but it is intended for owned property rented to others. Dwelling covers the buildings, but does not have automatic contents coverage.
Apartment contents insurance, HO-4, covers vandalism of contents. Condominium policies, HO-6 and HO-8, are popular in New York City, and both cover vandalism on contents, and to some extent, on the structure of your condo unit.
In order for the coverage to be effective, however, the dwelling must be either occupied or unoccupied, but not vacant. The definition of occupied is obvious, someone is actively living currently in the home.
Unoccupied means furnished, but nobody currently resides there. Summer homes fit this category, or perhaps the owners are on an extended vacation.
If nobody resides in the home as witnessed by no furniture or no utilities, and it has been vacant for sixty days, then the vandalism coverage is voided. Ensuing damage, such as fire, will not be covered either.
Vandalism includes malicious mischief too. The distinction involves intent. Malicious mischief may be simple recklessness without the intent to damage someone else’s property. Vandalism is always the intentional act of damaging other people’s property.