Tenant Vandalism – Am I Covered?


Most standard homeowners’ insurance policies cover instances of vandalism and burglary—in most circumstances. The best way to understand whether or not your property is covered, and in what circumstances it is covered, is to closely read your insurance policy.

Burglary is defined as any entry onto a property or into a building that involves the intent to carry out a crime. Burglary, also known as breaking and entering, may involve vandalism, robbery, theft, or home invasion.

Vandalism is the act of destruction of property without the permission of the owner. Vandalism covers a wide range of acts, from throwing eggs and putting glue into locks to graffiti, window breaking, and arson.


Vandalism is an interesting peril. It can also be an overlooked coverage and I wanted to provide just a few examples.

Vandalism – What Exactly is This Peril?

By Chip Merlin on November 4, 2016 Posted in INSURANCE

Damage from a meth lab might give rise to vandalism damage:

The tenant’s indoor methamphetamine lab created harmful vapors and residues that damaged Graff’s rental house. The tenant’s acts were intentional, in disregard of Graff’s property interest, and the resulting damage was almost a certainty. This meets the definition of vandalism.

A marijuana growing operation could result in vandalism damage:

In this case, the tenants diverted all of the heat from the furnace to the basement in order to create a marijuana grow room. They irrigated the marijuana plants under grow lights. This created a sauna-like environment in the basement. Additionally, they sealed the house and thereby trapped the water vapor generated by their activities in the basement. These activities caused certain damage to Ms. Bowers’ house. The tenants acted in conscious or intentional disregard for her property rights. Malice may be inferred from their acts. We conclude that the tenants’ acts are vandalism.

Damage from a moonshine operation could be considered vandalism:

In the present case the tenant had been given permission to erect an addition to the house. He built a lean-to across the back in which the moonshine still was housed, then vented the contraption so that the smoke, fumes and vapor were pulled by a fan to the interior of the house. As a result of smoke and condensation the paint in the rooms peeled, plaster was loosened; rugs, drapes, and walls were stained, soiled, and covered with mold. The outside wall was charred by fire. The swimming pool adjacent to the house was used as a dump for old mash, and was stained and broken. A finding is accordingly demanded that the damage was done intentionally and wantonly by persons using the house, and therefore a finding that the acts amounted to vandalism is demanded by the evidence.


Tenant vandalism cases are tricky because homeowners will need to present proof to back their claim in order to get compensation from their insurance company.  Of course this is not always possible and insurance companies might not honor the claim without proof.

We will be happy to sit with you and explain what your policy covers and doesn’t cover.  For a FREE consultation and policy review, please contact Cavalry Public Adjusters: 305-898-7562 or visit: www.cavalrypublicadjusters.com

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