If you are familiar with the mischievous, Weasley twins from the Harry Potter films, you might remember one of them waving a magic wand over a secret, magic map and commanding, "Mischief managed". Instantly, the map changed to look like just a regular, old map. Unfortunately, there's no magic solution to preventing vandalism and mischief taking place on your investment property by others. There's no magic solution to fixing it once it happens, either. However, you do have ways of reducing your risk of loss due to someone else's poor decisions. First, let's talk about the vandalism and malicious mischief.
Vandalism & Malicious Mischief (VMM)
The term "vandalism" stems from the Vandals, a Germanic tribe made infamous for its appetite for destruction of Western European cities and their priceless works of art. They probably did not think their propensity for ruining things would forever link to the disgruntled teenager with too much time on one hand and a can of spray paint in the other. The Webster's definition of the term reads, "willful or malicious destruction or defacement of public or private property".
Your insurance carrier may define the peril of VMM as protection against "intentional damage to your property without your consent" and is often recognized as a named peril or included in an all-risk policy on your home. But, what about your dwelling policy, i.e., your policy protecting your investment property? Sure, you may have the best feelings about your new renter or the neighborhood, but let's face it, sometimes stupid is going to stupid.
Revenge, rioting, hate, looting or just little Johnny wanting to show off his artistic skills at the expense of the side of your business, VMM is just part of our shared scene these days. If one of your renters, their friend, their enemy, or a complete stranger decides to make your investment property their target for breaking, spray painting, slashing, trashing, smashing and many other words ending in ing, you're not going to know for certain why they did it, but you will be certain it was intentionally done to your property. Regardless, the results of VMM are ugly and they leave you feeling devalued and your property defaced.
You're going to want recourse, and the best way to get it is to make sure the business insurance policy on your investment property adequately covers it for this type of peril.
Know the Fine Print
In most cases, if your investment property falls into a vacant status after a usual period of 60 days, vandalism and malicious mischief coverage won't apply unless you have a vacant & unoccupied insurance policy. Think about it. There aren't many vacated buildings getting their broken windows replaced or their graffiti cleaned up at the cost of insurance carriers. You will need to keep your property occupied for the amount of time stipulated by your policy to prevent.
While normal wear and tear from a renter most likely will not be covered by your policy, intentional damage most likely will. One caution, your policy may require you to take other steps, e.g., filing a police report, submitting proof of the intentional damage. Make sure you know the fine print of what your policy will require in the case you need to file a claim due to VMM.
There are some things you can do to persuade against VMM. Installing good lighting, security cameras, fencing, etc., however, those ready to hurl rocks may lack good reasoning skills. Make sure you get a policy which will pay you back if someone goes off the rails.
We're not just an independent insurance broker, we're also property owners at Insurance For Texans. It would chap us to no end if someone chose to make our property their play toy. We'll walk you through setting up the best protection for your investment property and bring great options to the table. Give us a shout to let us help you manage if mischief should come calling. We'll work our magic to make sure you don't have to.