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What is malicious damage?

If someone deliberately defaces or destroys your belongings, with spite, it’s known as malicious damage. Home insurance can help.

People are complicated creatures. Sometimes, they just want to destroy things. Thankfully, home insurance can help if they ever choose your home or its contents.

That's because all home and contents policies cover malicious damage as standard. That includes any deliberate and spiteful damage done by someone you didn't invite into your home.

Compare malicious damage benefits

Cover for malicious damage comes as standard in all home and contents policies, but there may be variations between which specific items are covered. Compare using the table below and don't forget to click "view details" to see more benefits.

Name Product Malicious Damage Fire, Storm & Theft Damage Outdoor Contents Sum Insured Safeguard Online Discount Cheapest way to pay
Budget Direct Home & Contents Insurance
Our verdict: The most popular insurer on Finder, Budget Direct prioritises low-cost cover and gives you up to 30% off your first year for new combined policies purchased online. This is a big reason it won this year’s Finder Award for value.
Youi Building and Contents Insurance
Our verdict: Finder’s 2022 Insurer of the Year for Customer Satisfaction and our Top Pick for Fire Damage cover. It’s good if you want a tailored quote over the phone.
QBE Home & Contents Insurance
Our verdict: Finder's Top Pick for Floods plus cover for other common claims such as fire and theft). Its discount is better than most – 20% off your first year with a combined policy.
Honey Home & Contents Insurance
5% of contents sum insured
Monthly or Annually
Our verdict: Honey gives you $250 smart sensors to reduce accidents and estimates your rebuild costs for you. Honey was a finalist for the comprehensive category in this year’s Finder Awards.
Australia Post Home & Contents Insurance
Our verdict: Covers common claims such as fire, storms, floods and rain. It’s also very helpful if you need to rebuild following a disaster. It offers a special safeguard of up to 30%.
Kogan Home & Contents Insurance
Our verdict: Good comprehensive cover (issued by QBE). Also, get 16% off on your first year's premium when you purchase a new combined Home & Contents insurance policy online + $10 monthly credit. T&Cs apply.
Qantas Home and Contents Insurance
BonusFinder Award Finalist
Qantas Home and Contents Insurance
Our verdict: Earn up to 20,000 Qantas Points with every Qantas Home Insurance policy you take out by 22 April. T&Cs and exclusions apply.
Westpac Home and Contents Insurance
Monthly or Annually
Our verdict: Provided by Allianz, one of the biggest insurers in Australia. Cover for fire, theft, storm, cyclones and more.

3 things you should know about malicious damage

  1. You should report it to the police and let your insurer know immediately.
  2. If it's committed by someone you invited into your home, it won't be covered.
  3. If you or your family accidentally breaks something, it's not considered malicious damage.

Different types of damage

Not all damage is malicious. Damage comes in several different forms and they're all treated slightly differently by home insurance.

Type of damageExampleHow it's covered
MaliciousA vandal graffities over your walls and smashes your windows.As long as you didn't invite the vandal into your home, your insurance will pay for repairs.
IntentionalYou lose your wedding ring between cracks in the floorboards, so you rip them up.Unfortunately, it probably won't be covered. Although the damage isn't malicious, it's still intentional so you might not be able to claim.
AccidentalYou spill red wine on your new cream carpet.Cover for accidental damage isn't always included as standard. But if it is, or if you've added it to your policy, you'll be covered.
Wear and tearThe fabric of your sofa tears after many years of use.Wear and tear is never covered by home insurance.

malicious damage

Can landlords get cover for malicious damage?

Yes, but you'll need landlord insurance first. Most insurance brands let customers add cover for malicious damage by tenants onto their landlord insurance policy.

This will pay out if your tenant damages any of your belongings which are in the property, like furniture or carpets. It'll also pay out if they damage the property itself – for example, punching holes in walls or smashing windows.

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When aren't you covered by malicious damage?

Certain types of malicious damage are unlikely to be covered by your home insurance. Here are some common situations which probably won't be covered:

  • If you caused the damage to get a payout
  • If the person is acting with your permission
  • If the damage is caused by a paying guest or one of their guests
  • If your relative or a member of your household caused the damage
  • If the culprit came into your home with your permission
  • If the culprit came into your home with permission from your relative or household member
  • If you participated in the riot or civil unrest which caused the damage
  • If you publicly advertised your home as the venue for a party or event

Malicious damage defined by home insurers

Looking for a by-the-book definition of malicious damage? Here are three extracts from the insurance documents of some big Australian brands:

Home insurerDefinitionWhat's covered
Budget Direct LogoDamage to property by one person or multiple people that is illegal or unlawful, and intentional by nature.

Loss or damage to your insured home and contents caused by malicious damage, vandalism, riot, or civil commotion. You must report the incident to police to be covered.

Some examples of loss or damage are things like broken windows, graffiti, doors ripped off hinges, and holes in walls.

If you are a landlord, you can be covered for damage caused by tenants if you buy the optional Landlord cover 'Theft and malicious damage by tenants and their visitors'.

Domain insureMalicious damage means a wrongful act by a person with the intention of damaging property.Loss or damage caused by a malicious act or vandalism.
Westpac Home insuranceDeliberate acts intended to harm another person's property through an unlawful or wrongful act without justification or excuse.Loss or damage caused by malicious acts.

Tips to reduce the risk of malicious damage

Putting in some simple security measures can not only reduce your risk of malicious damage, it might also bring the cost of your insurance premium down too. You can:

  • Install security cameras
  • Install motion-activated lights
  • Install privacy fencing
  • Use deterrents such as anti-graffiti paint
  • Join a neighbourhood watch
  • Keep the outside of your home clean and tidy
  • Clean vandalism and repair damages as soon as possible

Still haven't found what you were looking for?

Check out our beginner's guide on home insurance for more info about what's typically covered by home and contents policies.

Or, if you're looking to protect something particular, like a laptop or piece of jewellery, you might benefit from single-item insurance.

Protect yourself from malicious damage

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