BMR Insurance recently encountered a situation up in Laguna Beach, where a tenant of a property stripped down the home to the bare drywall and inflicted $1.5 million worth of damage. The tenant took fireplaces, railings, lights, windows, doors and every other fixture imaginable! What are homeowners and landlords to do in such a situation? We see many predicaments such as this (fortunately most are not as severe as the one we depicted), and our clients always wonder: Does homeowner’s insurance cover acts of vandalism and theft?
The answer is that standard homeowners insurance policies will generally not cover any damages inflicted by tenants; Homeowners insurance policies only cover residences lived by the actual homeowner, or to put it simply, covers only the property in which a homeowner lives. Rental properties require a different policy under a rental homeowner’s policy known as a “dwelling fire policy”. Under the dwelling fire policy, normal wear and tear damage is not covered, but preempted vandalism is. However, in order to claim vandalism, homeowners must file a police report and press charges against the offender.
Again, all insurance policies are different, so BMR Insurance recommends all homeowners and landlords to check with their insurance companies to review their policies and get a better understanding of what is and isn’t covered under their premium.