There are a number of ways your home could sustain damage, including a burst pipe, storm damage, a leaky roof and other problems caused by environmental hazards. However, another major concern for homeowners is vandalism in Florida, which makes up a significant percentage of insurance claims in our state.
In most cases, vandalism occurs when you’re renovating your home or away for a period of time, such as for a vacation. The first thing you should consider is that a home or building that has been or will be empty is at a higher risk for vandalism, and there are some steps you should take to prevent this problem happening to your property.
Vandalism is a particular problem for property owners who have recently evicted a tenant, as these individuals tend to cause intentional criminal damage to properties in retaliation. In addition to filing criminal charges against those involved, you may need to file an insurance claim to get the compensation you need to make repairs.
It’s also common during foreclosure, when a homeowner may cause damage out of frustration. It’s important to note, however, that once a property is vacant for 30 days, the insurance company typically will not pay. Homeowners’ insurance policies are also no longer good once the bank takes over a property.
Be careful after purchasing or while renovating a home
If you’ve recently purchased a home, the first thing you should do is change the locks, especially if it’s a rental property. This is one of the most frequently overlooked tasks, but it can end up being one of the most beneficial. While you’re changing the locks on the doors, also check the windows and any other points of possible entry. Make sure that the locks on all doors and windows function properly, and if there are any windows that cannot be locked, barricade them until you can secure a better mechanism.
If you are conducting a home renovation that requires a high level of foot traffic in your property and your absence at night, make sure to take care of the outside landscaping. Trim the shrubs so that potential vandals have fewer spaces to hide and install outdoor motion sensor lights to help deter potential intruders.
Take precautions when going on vacation
If your family is going on vacation, you should take all of the measures mentioned above to help make your home secure and appear lived-in. Other actions along this line involve window treatments. Make sure that you install drapes that allow limited vision into your home. If you typically leave them partially open, you may continue to do so, but with valuables out of sight. If your car is not in the garage, cover any windows into the garage so that no one can see that you’re absent. Get lamp timers and set them for typical evening hours to make it look like someone is home.
Other security measures to consider are recruiting a neighbor you trust to keep an eye on your home. Let them know you’ll be out of town and ask them to be on the lookout for lights and movement on your property. You may consider installing a security system and make sure that it is set while you are gone. And finally, do not post your travel plans on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter — as happy as your friends will be for you and your vacation, so may potential vandals.
If vandalism does occur to your home, work with a public adjuster to file your homeowners’ insurance claim in Florida. This will help you get the most out of your claim, providing you with personalized guidance when you need it most.
The public adjusters at Advocate Claims serve home and business owners across Florida, including Palm Beach County, Broward County and the surrounding areas. Get started right away by calling 1-954-369-0573 or by contacting us online.