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Written as Extended Coverage

Summary: Although a separate and distinct element of coverage, vandalism (meaning willful or malicious damage to or defacement or destruction of described property) insurance always is written, under standard forms, in conjunction with other coverages, such as fire, lightning, smoke, and others. The forms in use today—dwelling forms, homeowners forms, commercial property forms, and inland marine forms, for example—include coverage of vandalism and malicious mischief losses automatically, as either a named cause of loss or as an unexcluded cause of loss under an open perils type of form.

The following discussion deals with the evolution of the meaning of vandalism, and cases involving vandalism and concurrently occurring or resulting damage. The court cases, although in many instances old, all remain good case law.

Topics covered:What does vandalism to property encompass?Conditions and exclusionsTheft and burglary exclusionVacancy and unoccupancyMalicious fire and explosionConsequential damageOther notes

What Does Vandalism toProperty Encompass?

In the past, the viewpoint was that the term vandalism referred only to damage to works of art and the like. Dictionary definitions were cited to support that view. In fact, the historical definition of vandalism was derived from the wanton destruction in Rome in 455 A.D. of many monuments and other works of art by the Vandals, a Germanic tribe that, in the fourth and fifth centuries, overran much of the Roman Empire and northern Africa. In its original usage, therefore, vandalism was held to mean only the destruction of works of art and kindred things of beauty. It should be noted that this was the principal reason that the term malicious mischief was used in conjunction with vandalism in early insurance policies, so as to offer more complete protection.

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