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Everyone celebrates the holidays differently. Some people put up elaborate displays of lights. Others go door-to-door caroling. Some neighborhoods host large parties where people can gather for a hot meal and gift swap. And some people take advantage of these festivities to commit crimes.

Yes, you read that correctly. Unfortunately, some people turn to holiday hijinks—like vandalism and theft—during times of celebration. Is your home protected by homeowners insurance in the event of human-inflicted property damage or burglary?

Standard homeowners insurance policies do cover theft and damage resulting from break-ins. Depending on how your policy is structured, you’ll either receive the actual cash value (with depreciation) or replacement cost. An all-perils homeowners insurance policy will also cover vandalism unless it’s specifically excluded.

But the last thing most homeowners want to do is file a claim during the already busy holiday season. And holiday mischief directed at your property quickly dims the sparkle of an otherwise bright season. So, what should you look out for this year?

Let’s say you want to put on a light show for your neighbors and friends this year. You set up your gear, work out the wiring and flip the switch. It’s a hit! That is until you wake up the next morning and your equipment is missing or damaged. One suburb outside of Chicago experienced this when someone stole laser light projectors from several yards. The projectors had values between $75 and $165 each.

Another couple located outside St. Paul, Minnesota experienced a surprising case of vandalism last year. For the last 20 years, the couple has performed an ornate holiday light show for their neighborhood. The cost of the show’s production rings in at $8,000.One night, vandals knocked over several statues and ripped the electrical cords from their outlets. The display went dark as a result, as the Pioneer Press reports .

The FBI estimated in 2016 that victims of property crimes—arson excluded—suffered losses of $15.6 billion nationwide. Obviously, not all these malfeasances occur over the holiday season. But it is something to think about when you’re preparing your home for winter festivities.

Theft is another hot topic during this time of year. Thieves know that, in addition to the usual stockpile of valuables and possessions, there are often gifts in the house. This provides an incentive for home break-ins and more. If you have to leave your home, even for a few hours, make it look like someone is still there. It’s also vital to practice diligent safety and security measures. If you have a spare key, avoid hiding it somewhere near an entrance. Make sure windows and doors are locked at all times. If your budget allows, consider installing home security tools to deter unwanted visitors.

In conclusion: Holiday vandalism and theft are typically covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy. Combining this important protection with preventative measures will help you enjoy a fun, safe, and happy holiday season. Get started with a free quote from CoverHound!

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