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What Business Owners Need to Know About Vandalism & Theft of Property Claims

Vandalism or theft at a business can happen at any time, even when best practices are put in place to prevent this type of crime. Business owners should always be vigilant and be aware of the steps that need to be taken should the worst happen.

What is the Difference Between Vandalism and Theft?

While the two terms may seem similar, there are key differences between vandalism and theft.

Vandalism

Vandalism is when your property is deliberately damaged by someone else. Examples of vandalism include:

  • Defacing property;
  • Destroying signs in or outside the building;
  • Damaging the business’s product or merchandise;
  • Breaking windows, walls, or fences;
  • Spray-painting or other graffiti;
  • Intentionally flooding the business;
  • Destroying landscaping; and,
  • Breaking air conditioners or other HVAC equipment.

Theft

Theft is the taking of property or services without permission. For business owners, this most commonly happens in four ways.

Burglary

This is when someone breaks into business with the intent to take something. Those who commit this crime can do this in various ways, such as smashing windows to gain entry or even using a vehicle to smash into the business. Even if nothing is taken, a person could still be charged with burglary as long as they had the intent to take something.

Robbery

Criminals can be charged with robbery if they attempt or follow through with stealing something. To be classified as a robbery rather than a general theft, the person who commits this act must either use force, threaten force, or put a victim in fear.

Employee Theft

Did you know that nearly all businesses experience employee theft in one way or another? Statistics from CompareCamp show even more startling facts about employee thefts:

  • “3 out of 4 employees admit to stealing from their employers at least once;
  • Nearly 40% (37.5%) of employees have stolen from their employer;
  • 3 out of 10 employee theft cases lasted for more than five years;
  • Employee theft cases lasting more than ten years cost an average loss of $5.4 million; and,
  • Non-cash property theft nearly doubled in the period between 2002 to 2018 from 10.6% to 21%, an increase of 98.11%.”

Employee theft is similar to other crimes in that there are multiple ways it can happen. Employees can steal from their employers by taking office supplies, stealing products or services, or theft of time (by not completing work but still getting paid by the employer).

It may seem that taking small items from an employer would not add up to much, but as these statistics show, the cost can become significant with so many employees committing this type of theft.

Identity Theft

Just as an individual can be a victim of identity theft, a business can be a victim of the same crime if their employees’ or clients’ personal information is taken.

Business Insurance for Vandalism and Theft

As part of their overall basic commercial property insurance policies, many businesses will have some form of vandalism and theft coverage. However, additional specific coverage that includes broader vandalism and theft coverage can be purchased if a business owner feels it’s necessary.

Not all crimes listed above would be worth filing a claim over. For example, a claim wouldn’t be necessary if an employee steals $100 from a cash register. Rather, it’s much easier to demand that employee pays back that money and terminate their employment.

On the other hand, if an individual or individuals cause thousands of dollars of damage to the business property and steal merchandise from inside the business, then it would most likely be beneficial to file an insurance claim.

Are All Vandalism and Theft Claims Approved?

Sadly, no. Insurance companies may look for ways not to fulfill your entire claim or deny your claim outright. If you feel your claim was wrongfully denied or was not appraised at a fair value, the team at Hawash Cicack & Gaston, LLP wants to help.

Our knowledgeable business insurance attorneys work hard for business owners facing issues with insurance companies. Read what previous clients said about our work ethic and contact us to see what we can do for your case.

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