Court decisions set a precedent. New York’s highest appellate court holds an expansive view of property insurance coverage for vandalism losses.
Recently, The New York Court of Appeals stated they had never before addressed the meaning of vandalism in an insurance policy. The Court reviewed cases from New York and from other jurisdictions to reach the conclusion that
“vandalism”, as the term is ordinarily understood, need not imply a specific intent to accomplish any particular result; vandals may act simply out of a love of excitement, or an unfocused desire to do harm, or out of a desire to enrich oneself without caring about the consequences to others.Within this line of thinking, the Court answered the question about the definition of vandalism and held vandalism may result from acts not directed specifically at the covered property.
What is vandalism? The Court answered that conduct is “malicious” for property insurance purposes when it reflects “such a conscious disregard of the interests of others that it may be called willful or wanton.”
The Court held “where damage naturally and foreseeably results from an act of vandalism, a vandalism clause in an insurance policy should cover it.” The majority opinion in this New York case does not require the policyholder to prove that an alleged vandal intended to cause property damage to obtain insurance coverage for the vandalism damage. This is an expansive view of vandalism coverage and is a major victory for policyholders.