Orlando Vandalism & Arson Attorney
Coming home to find that your house was graffitied, the windows were smashed, or that the entire structure was burned down from arson is a traumatic, heart-breaking event. The fact that some destructive people can be so cruel to others is difficult to imagine, and the sense of loss that victims have goes well beyond monetary. Homeowners’ insurance covers vandalism and arson, allowing homeowners to repair damages and replace personal property lost in the event. While insurers are responsible for addressing vandalism and arson claims, and for paying out valid on claims, sometimes they find themselves in tough situations. The claim may overestimate the cost of the damage; there may even be evidence that the wrongdoing was caused by someone in the policyholder’s household, such as their child; or the damage could be an attempt at defrauding an insurer for financial gain. The Orlando vandalism & arson attorneys at HD Law Partners assist insurers with avoiding overpayments and uncovering fraudulent and invalid claims related to vandalism and arson.
Definition of Vandalism
The crime of “criminal mischief” in Florida is defined as willfully and maliciously injuring or damaging another person’s real or personal property, by any means, according to statute 806.13. Vandalism is commonly carried out by teenagers and young adults with no motive other than causing mischief. Peer pressure, drinking, and general angst are good enough reasons for teens and young adults to vandalize a home, yard, or vehicle. In other cases, vandalism may be a product of getting even or settling a score. Examples of vandalism include the following:
- Slashed car tires;
- Keyed car;
- Egging, which can cause damage to house and car paint;
- Spray painted graffiti;
- Glued locks;
- Damage to exterior lights;
- Broken windows;
- Tampered plumbing, such as clogging a drain to cause flooding;
- Home invasion damage, such as destroyed furniture, paintings, lamps, electronics, and more;
- Salted lawn;
- Cut down trees or shrubs, or “ringing a tree;” and
- Other damage to landscaping.
Depending on the type of damage and the extent, vandalism to real or personal property can amount to a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Causing irreparable damage to the exterior of a home, such as egging or graffiti, requires repainting, which costs $3,000 to $4,500 on average, according to Home Advisor. As such, insurers have a duty to thoroughly investigate the validity of each claim.
When Vandalism is Not a Covered Peril
When the home is unoccupied or vacant, vandalism is not a covered peril. The length of time for a property to be considered vacant or unoccupied depends on the specific policy, and claims that fall under this category must be denied and, if necessary, fought against through litigation.
Reach Out to Our Experienced Orlando Vandalism and Arson Attorneys
As an insurer, keeping your end of the bargain sometimes means denying exaggerated, invalid, or fraudulent claims. Avoiding expensive overpayments would eventually lead to fewer services for those homeowners who really do qualify for full claim payouts. For professional legal help, call the Orlando lawyers at HD Law Partners today at 888-267-565 to schedule a free consultation.