Does Home Insurance Cover Smashed Windows?
Caeva O'Callaghan | November 6th, 2020
My House Backs Onto A Laneway, And Someone Threw A Stone And Shattered A Large Quadruple Paned Window, Am I Covered By House Insurance?
You’re minding your business one day, when you hear a smash of glass from downstairs. It’s annoying and unwanted, but will your home insurance cover a broken window?
Yes – your home insurance policy will cover accidental (or deliberate) breakage of fixed glass in windows, doors, fanlights and other fixtures.
If the stone was deliberately thrown at your window, call the Gardai and file a police report. Getting as much evidence on your side as possible will help back up your claim.
In this article, we’ll cover the following questions:
- My window was broken accidentally by someone else, can I claim?
- Can I claim on home insurance for vandalism?
- Does my home insurance cover broken glass?
When it comes to throwing stones, the phrase “kids will be kids” is all well and good until a window gets smashed. In these cases, insurance providers will be insurance providers: someone must pay for the damage and face consequences.
First, check if it was an accident or not
Many situations can cause a stone to smash a window. A particularly violent storm may cause debris to come loose, or a close-by stone wall may start to crumble. Or, a particularly careless person may have been aiming for something else (though this does beg the question: what were they aiming for?).
There have been many documented cases of lawnmowers and motorcycles causing stones to go flying, shattering like bullets through glass. If your neighbour is out mowing the lawn and you hear a sudden smash, this may well be the case.
Before you do anything else, make the scene safe for yourself and others. Keep children and animals out of the room, and put on shoes if you haven’t already. But, don’t start clearing up until you know what went on and that the danger is over.
Try and figure out what happened without disturbing the scene too much. If a chunk of flint is lying on your living room carpet and it wasn’t there five minutes ago? Then it’s pretty obvious. But you may have to search under sofas, behind tables or around the broken glass itself to find the culprit.
If your gut instinct is telling you the damage was malicious, take as many photos as you can early on. This will help the Gardai, as well as your insurance provider, work out who was at fault.
Deliberate or accidental damage
No matter if the breakage was deliberate or accidental, your home insurance will cover you.
This is because all standard home insurance policies should cover you for damage caused by vandalism, riots, strikes or civil unrest. Of course, all policies are different in their own ways, so check your policy wording thoroughly or have a broker look it over.
But even if you have this cover, you’ll want to know if someone deliberately meant harm to your property. This is so you can inform the Gardai and stop it happening to you or someone else again.
This does, of course, mean that the crime statistics in your area increase and you may end up paying more for your premium.
If you live in an area where vandalism occurs regularly, this could make your policy more expensive. It’s all about risk: if your property is at higher risk of vandalism or reoccurring damage, even if accidental, this may affect how much you pay.
It’s essential to know that normal home insurance coverage will not apply if your house is left unoccupied or unfurnished for 40 days in a row or more.
This is because the house will then be technically vacant – even if you’re on an extended holiday or moving out during remodelling – and vacant properties have a higher risk of vandalism.
It also means that if there’s no one around, one smashed window could lead to bigger problems down the road. It’s not so bad if someone is there to sweep up glass and board up the window immediately, but what about after a week? Wildlife may enter the property, it may attract criminals who then know the house is vacant, or more of the window may collapse. Plants may even enter the property, given long enough.
A broken window is usually nothing to worry about, until it becomes a bigger problem.
Your home insurance will cover you unless you have special circumstances, in which case you’ll need to check your policy. Give us a call today, and we’ll be happy to look it over.