Many standard commercial property plans includes coverage for vandalism, however, not theft. Vandalism-the intentional and malicious damage or destruction of property-is often significantly less expensive than the theft of expensive computers and inventory.
One of the biggest issues with theft or vandalism claims is the insurer’s reluctance to repay damages due to the cause of losing. Here are some examples to illustrate the way the distinction between theft and vandalism can complicate a claim:
Vandalism becomes burglary. Teenagers vandalizing the exterior of your building may break a window, escalating the crime into theft when they find valuable items inside.
An attempted burglary causes destruction of property. Burglars who are thwarted by security measures or do not find enough valuable items may trash the house out of frustration.
A covered event leaves a house available to burglary. A restaurant suffers fire damage, which is boarded until repairs can be produced. Days later, burglars pry one of the boards open and steal the copper pipes from the walls, that your insurer won’t replace.
A break-in accompanied by vandalism. There’s a break-in at a warehouse and items are stolen. Later that night, vandals spot the open door or broken gate and paint graffiti on the walls. Each day, property owners find that there’s been both a break-in and defacement of property, but the insurer will only pay for the broken lock and repainting the walls.
Your Threat of Theft and Vandalism MAKE A DIFFERENCE Your Coverage
As you may imagine, insurers are keen to limit the quantity of coverage provided for theft losses. Insurance agencies may require certain assurances from property owners when it comes to minimizing the chance of theft or burglary, including the installing surveillance and security devices, proper lighting, and enough locks. Despite having these precautions, owners may require higher coverage limits or special deductibles to contain theft losses.
A commercial property may be at higher threat of burglary losses due to:
Location. Theft is more likely to occur in remote locations, especially people that have low lighting and little foot traffic. Theft can also happen to goods on the road, which may not be covered by your insurer if you don’t have chosen inland marine insurance.
Vacant buildings. Vacant structures tend to be targeted by looters and vandals, especially those seeking to steal HVAC systems or appliances left out.
Copper content. Copper building systems, including copper pipes and wiring, are highly-prized by thieves. The theft of the fixtures can cause ongoing losses for owners by increasing construction costs and forcing the entire structure into compliance with current building codes during rebuilding.
Inventory and contents. A warehouse containing electronics, car parts, jewelry, or other items which may easily be sold by thieves is naturally at higher risk of theft.
Size. Larger properties naturally offer higher gains for thieves, particularly if some portions of the property are not patrolled (such as fields, sheds, barns, or other outbuildings).
Common Reasons Theft and Vandalism Claims Are Denied
Even if an insurer is willing to insure against theft and vandalism, the insurance company may place a number of limits or exclusions on these claims in order to reduce the scope of coverage. Owners tend to be underpaid for theft and vandalism claims since they don’t grasp the terms of their house damage insurance policies.
For instance, claims tend to be denied or underpaid because the commercial policyholder:
Cannot prove ownership of claimed items. Insurers tend to be wary of insurance claims for theft, as it is the most frequent form of insurance fraud. Unfortunately, this escalates the burden of proof for victims, who must provide considerable documentation showing the ownership, date of purchase, and the location of all stolen items.
Cannot prove a break-in occurred. It isn’t enough showing that items are missing from the property to collect payment for theft. There should be proof trespassing or forced entry (such as broken windows, doors, or locks).
Will not know the worthiness of claimed items. Insurance firms may disagree with policyholders as it pertains to assigning a dollar value to each stolen or damaged item. You may have to provide substantial documentation (such as receipts, charge card statements, or appraisals) to prove the extent of your losses.
Didn’t perform preventive maintenance. An insurer may challenge your claim if you left the house open to crimes of opportunity. A failure to safeguard against theft or vandalism could include allowing trees and bushes on the house to grow wildly, failing woefully to replace broken deadbolts or security system alarms, or mounting exterior lights or motion sensors within easy reach.
Has insufficient business interruption coverage. A burglary can prevent you from opening your doors to the general public for a few days, or may require short-term relocation to another site. Your organization interruption insurance policy limits should be high enough to repay your employee payroll, profit losses, commercial rent, and monthly operating costs to sustain you during repairs.
What to Do Immediately After Theft or Vandalism Is Discovered
The main step to use once you’ve found out theft or vandalism on your premises is to call the police. A police report is invaluable to your claim, and insurers may outright deny coverage without it.
Not merely does the authorities report offer the official record of the incident, but it also has an officer’s thoughts and opinions of the mode of entry and proof property damage sustained in the break-in. You should include a set of stolen items in the authorities report and ensure which it matches items listed on the insurance claim. If you realise additional items later, it is a good idea to update the authorities report and tell the insurance provider you have filed a supplemental police report.
Once you have obtained a copy of the authorities report for your records, you should:
File your claim. The documentation you share with your insurance provider is directly related to the total amount offered on your claim. Make sure to include photos or videos of the house taken immediately after the incident, as well as any receipts for out-of-pocket expenses that should be reimbursed. Contact professional ProFloridian Claims Consultants for more details.
Prevent further losses. Policyholders have a duty to avoid further losses after having a break-in, such as restoring windows and doors and making the area safe for visitors and employees. However, you should wait to make any long term repairs until an insurance agent has seen the damage.
Get help from an insurance litigation attorney. Unfortunately, commercial insurers often attempt to deny, devalue, or stall theft and vandalism claims rather than pay the full amount they owe. When this happens, it might be essential to hire an lawyer to help you on your next st