If your home or business was vandalized, you are probably feeling angry, worried and unsafe. In addition to being expensive to fix, vandalism can also leave your home or business vulnerable to other potential damage or theft. If you have broken doors, windows, or damaged walls, it may be easier for people to get into the building to steal your belongings or vandalize the interior of the building. In addition, outside elements that your belongings would normally be protected from (like rain, wind and even wildlife) might make their way into your home or business and cause more damage.
After the police have left the scene, you will need to secure your home or building by boarding up broken windows, doors or holes in walls. If you rent your home or office building, you should contact the property manager before attempting to board anything up.
Assuming you do own the building that was vandalized, here are the steps you should take:
Step 1: Call the police. You should file a detailed report and provide the police with as much information as possible about the amount of damage that was done to the building and it’s contents.
Step 2: Secure the building. This is especially important if you have valuable items inside the damaged area. The last thing that you want is your already vandalized home or business to be robbed or further damaged by outside elements. Some restoration companies offer an emergency board up service to cover any broken windows or doors and block any openings that might make your building less secure. If you would like to do the board up yourself, you will need to buy plywood, measure the areas that you need to cover, cut the plywood using a saw and correctly secure the plywood sheets to the openings by drilling them into studs in the wall.
That being said, boarded up buildings can also be a signal to criminals that your property is currently vulnerable. It’s not incredibly difficult to unscrew the plywood boards or break through them after all. So while boarding things up will no doubt make your building more secure than if you just leave everything the way it is, it’s important to get repairs completed properly repaired as soon as possible after the vandalism occurs so that you don’t have to have things boarded up any longer than necessary. The faster the repairs are made, the faster you can get back to feeling secure.
Step 3: Get a quote. If the damage to your home or business was minor and you don’t think it will cost more (or a lot more) than your insurance deductible, then you might be better off paying out of pocket for the repairs if you can. If you have no idea how much your repairs are going to cost, call a restoration company first. At Slate Restoration, we will give you an honest estimate for free and can offer advice on whether or not you would be better off making an insurance claim.
Step 4: If you do decide to make an insurance claim, your next step should be to read through your home or business insurance policy to refresh your memory on what is covered under your policy, then call the insurance company to get your claim started. Keep in mind that if your home or business was vandalized after it sat vacant for a certain period of time, your insurance policy might not be able to cover the damage.
Step 5: Take photos and/or video of the damage. Although the police may take their own photos of the damage and an insurance adjuster will do the same, it’s a good idea to keep this proof on hand so that you can back up your story if there are any discrepancies down the line about what damage was actually done.
Step 6: Take detailed inventory of the damage. Create a list containing each item that was stolen or damaged. If you have a business or home inventory list (you should—because it makes this process way easier) then get it out and add details about your lost items from that to your new list of stolen or damaged items. You should include the worth of the item, a detailed description and any serial numbers you might have.
Once you have completed these steps you can begin cleaning up, making repairs and getting your home or business back on track. Consider installing security equipment if you haven’t already and make sure you have some lighting installed outside to deter vandals in the future. You should also let your neighbors know that your home or business was vandalized so they can take extra caution as well.
If your home or business was vandalized, Slate Restoration can help. We are happy to give you honest advice over the phone or visit your home or business to provide a quote—free of charge. We also provide emergency board up services so you can have some peace of mind knowing that your home or business is a little more secure while you work on getting things back to normal. We serve customers throughout the valley, so give us a call at 480-550-2511 or submit a message to us online and we will be in touch shortly.