Does commercial property insurance cover vandalism?

Learn how the right coverage can help your small business if you get tagged, damaged or vandalized.

Harry Lew
By Harry Lew
Published Dec 20, 2023
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It’s a business owner’s nightmare: Someone breaks your windows and spray paints your front door. Vandalism can be emotionally and financially damaging.

Once you get over the shock and anger, you’re left wondering: Does commercial property insurance cover vandalism? Fortunately, in many cases, it does. But there are details to consider.

Jump ahead to learn more about:

What type of vandalism can commercial property insurance cover?

Commercial property insurance, also known as business hazard insurance, often covers vandalism and its related losses (subject to policy terms).

Examples of vandalism events that could be covered include:

  • Tagging, painting or writing on your business property
  • Smashed windows on your building
  • Damaged doors and other building structural features
  • Some defaced external signage
  • Ruined inventory
  • Wrecked tools or equipment
  • Intentional flooding of a business’ internal or external space

If vandalism requires you to close your doors for repairs, business interruption coverage could help pay for business income until you can reopen.

When will commercial property insurance not cover vandalism?

In some cases, your insurance company might not pay for vandalism claims if:

  • Your policy explicitly excludes vandalism.
  • You have a named-peril policy, and it doesn’t list vandalism as a covered loss.
  • Your premises were vacant for an extended period — typically 60 days or longer.
  • You had plate glass damage, but didn’t add a plate glass endorsement to your policy.

In these and other circumstances, your commercial property insurance might not cover the loss. Read your policy carefully and keep it up to date. If you’re not sure about coverage, ask your agent or insurer for clarification.

What if someone vandalizes my business vehicle?

Commercial property insurance doesn’t usually pay for vandalism to your business-owned car or truck. But if you have commercial auto insurance, you can file a claim under that policy. It could pay for fixing the damage after you fulfill your deductible.

What should I do if my business gets tagged, damaged or vandalized?

To minimize disruption to your business, act coolly, calmly and professionally — then get down to business:

  • Write down the damage. Make notes while it’s all fresh in your mind.
  • Call the police. Report the crime and file a report.
  • Let your employees know. Inform your staff as soon as possible.
  • Photograph the damage. Document the scene fully for your insurance claims adjuster.
  • Stow company valuables if your business will be closed for repairs. Keep everything secure to avoid secondary theft during cleanup.
  • Review your insurance coverage and file a claim. Check your insurance policy to confirm vandalism coverage, then file a claim with your insurer.
  • Get repair bids. Ask your insurer if it has a list of preferred vendors and get at least two bids.
  • Create an incident file. Save the police report, estimates, discussion notes with your agent and adjuster and other relevant documents in one place.
  • Inform your customers. If you need to close your business temporarily, let your customers know you’re closed for repairs and when you’ll reopen.

How to help prevent vandalism for a business

These best practices could help your business be less susceptible to vandalism:

  • Keep up with your outdoor maintenance. Make your business look occupied and in tip-top condition.
  • Remove tags and graffiti quickly. If someone draws or paints on your building, remove it immediately to lower the odds of a recurrence. Better yet, add graffiti-resistant coating on walls that collect tags and graffiti for easier cleanup.
  • Reduce access. Use landscaping — like shrubs, thorny bushes and vines — to reduce vandal access.
  • Brighten doors and windows. Upgrade your building’s exterior lighting to increase public visibility.
  • Enhance security. Install a video security system and hire security officers to patrol the area.

How NEXT can help keep your small business safe

Vandalism can be a major — and costly — headache for small business owners. If it happens to you, NEXT could help you recover.

We make getting insured to protect your business from vandalism — and other losses — easy, affordable and fast.

Choose from general liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, professional liability insurance and more. Answer a few questions, get a quote and buy coverage in 10 minutes or less.

As soon as you authorize payment, you’ll get immediate access to your certificate of insurance.

Questions about our coverage or buying process? Our licensed, U.S.-based insurance advisors  are ready to help.

Start a free quote with NEXT today.

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Harry Lew
About the author
Harry J. Lew is a writer and editor with a passion for simplifying insurance for small business owners. He has over 30 years of experience writing for numerous insurance companies, publishers and professional associations. He was a content manager for Gallagher, a global insurance broker. Harry's writing has also appeared in Insurance Forums, Producer's Web, Financial Planning, Consumer's Digest and National Underwriter.
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