Many people use the Internet to connect with friends and family members and stay abreast of current events. Unfortunately, there are those that use it to cause strife and mayhem. In particular, there is an unsettling trend of hoaxers inciting a police response to people’s homes using a method known as swatting. Thankfully, if you sustain damages during this type of troublesome event, then you may be covered by your home insurance. Here’s what you need to know.
Swatting is a harassment tool characterized by one party calling emergency services with a false tale designed to incite a severe police action against another party. For instance, in 2015, the York Regional Police burst into the home of a Toronto man in the early morning hours after someone called them claiming a person in the home was shooting family members.
Often characterized as a prank, swatting typically involves the use of technology to make it seem as though the hoax calls are coming from victims’ home. Perpetrators use the Internet and other resources to determine where victims live and then manufacture fake scenarios to get emergency services to respond. In addition to suffering traumatizing and potentially fatal actions by the police, victims also endure property damage caused by police or other emergency service providers breaking doors and windows to access the home and apprehend the reported “suspects.”
Home Insurance Covers Police Damage
If you have homeowner’s insurance, the damage caused by the police may be covered under your policy. Typically, you’ll need to submit the police report with your claim detailing what happened. As long as your policy amounts are high enough to cover the damage, then the insurance company will likely approve the claim.
The only times when your insurance company may deny the claim is if there is fraud involved or someone in your home was involved in initiating the swatting incident. For example, a teen in the home pranks his or her parents via swatting. The insurance company may decline to cover the cost because of a provision against paying for intentional damage caused by the homeowner or resident.
Your claim may also be declined if your policy specifically excludes damage caused by police action, so it’s a good idea to look at your coverage and make appropriate changes if you feel you may be a victim of this hoax.