Will My Homeowners Insurance Cover My Window?

Homeowners insurance covers accidental damage to your home as well as damage to neighbors' homes that you are responsible for. Most homeowners insurance policies cover broken windows, although if the cost of replacing the window is less than your deductible, there is little point to filing a claim.

General Policy

Most homeowners insurance covers accidental damage to your home, including broken windows. If a policy does not cover broken windows, windows must be specifically excluded from your policy. If you break a neighbor's window and he files a claim with his insurance company, your insurance will usually cover this as well. However, if you have insurance on a house that is currently unoccupied, e.g., you are a landlord insuring a house that you have not yet rented, your homeowner's insurance may not cover broken windows if the house has been vacant for more than 30 days.

Considerations

Most homeowners policies require the homeowner to pay a relatively high deductible before the insurance will cover damage or vandalism. In many cases, the cost of replacing a broken window is less than this deductible, making it not worth your while to file a claim. In addition, if you file a claim your insurance rates may go up, especially if you were at fault (i.e., you or your child broke your neighbor's window).

Vandalism

Most homeowners policies cover vandalism, including windows broken by vandals. You may need to purchase separate coverage for theft or vandalism from your basic homeowners insurance; check with your insurance agent to make sure you are covered. If vandals or thieves break your window, file a police report as well as an insurance claim. You must file a report if you intend to press charges against the perpetrators, and your insurance company may require a police report as evidence of damage from vandalism.

What to Do

If a window breaks for any reason, take photos for documentation and call the police if necessary. After documenting the damage, clean up broken glass and board up the window. If you hire anyone to help you clean up the mess, save the receipt so that you can ask the insurance company to reimburse you for it in addition to asking for payment for your damages.

references