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With the price of copper at all time highs—between $3.50 and $25 per pound, depending on type—its ability to tempt enterprising thieves has also escalated.

Four former employees of Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the United States, were among nine indicted recently for stealing copper wire from Duke and selling it to recyclers. Nearly every day we hear reports of the copper tubing from HVAC units being stolen. Contractors often employ 24/7 security guards to discourage thieves from stealing copper piping and fittings.

All of this translates into an escalating number of questions about how insurance coverage can be tapped to reimburse property owners for such high-value losses. We at FC&S Online receive weekly questions about insurance coverage and the theft of copper. They generally fall into two categories: theft of copper piping or fittings from vacant buildings and situations where occupied buildings are damaged while the copper is being removed. In the latter case, question frequently turns on whether this ancillary damage qualifies as vandalism for the purpose of coverage.

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