Do you know if your home insurance cover pest infestation? Probably not. Most Homeowners policies exclude incidents of this type, except in certain situations.
In this article, we’ll cover how insurers view pest infestations and what you can do to protect your home from this sad fate.
Pest infestation can bring great harm to a home owner.
Termites, ants and mice, oh my! Like the lions, tigers and bears that scared Dorothy and her friends from the Wizard of Oz, the three animals mentioned at the beginning form a terrifying triplet. If your home is infested with any of them, the headache will be huge.
Does Home Insurance Cover Pest Infestation?
Why doesn’t home insurance usually cover pest control?
As we’ve seen in our article on roof leaks , damage to your home caused by lack of maintenance, misuse, or wear and tear is not usually covered by Homeowners Insurance. The same happens in cases of pest infestations, most policies attribute the blame for these infestations to the insured because it is understood that it is their responsibility to carry out the proper maintenance regularly to avoid them.
Even though no one invites bugs into your home, even if you or those who live with you haven’t noticed the infestation, and your home is likely to suffer serious damage as a result, you can still be guilty of negligence and have your claim denied.
If you’re up to date with your home’s repairs and care, it’s important to keep records of regular maintenance, such as an annual home inspection by a licensed exterminator. Doing so can demonstrate that you’ve taken your maintenance responsibilities seriously and increase your chances of having claims approved in the future.
Pest damage NOT covered
Your chances of being covered for pest damage depend on the nature of the damage. That’s why it’s so important to understand every little letter of your policy and already know, before signing the contract, what may or may not be included in coverage. Here we speak your language and we are always ready to guide you in the best way.
We have separated some examples of common infestations that are not part of your Homeowners policy:
- Termite Damage: Structural damage resulting from a termite infestation, or other pests such as carpenter ants, is considered preventable through maintenance. Termites can do serious damage to everything that is made of wood in your home’s structure. Fortunately, most pest control companies can identify and remove these unwanted guests, so check your home regularly for signs of damage.
- Rodent Damage : While your insurance policy may cover unexpected rodent damage, such as damage to external electrical wiring, it will likely not cover pest control. Most policies also do not cover the removal of rodents from the home.
When is pest damage covered?
Avoidable damages vs. unexpected damages
Home Insurance Cover Pest Infestation: Like almost all insurance, your insurance usually only covers damage caused by pests outside of your control, also known as unexpected damage. For example, damage from pests that have managed to get into your home due to damage from flooding or other unforeseen events. However, if these events combine with preventable pest damage, it can lead to a more complicated claim process.
Pest control is part of your responsibility as a homeowner – just like mowing your lawn or fixing a leaky faucet. This is why termite damage is often not covered by home insurance. It’s something you can avoid through regular maintenance.
To determine whether or not your home insurance will cover your pest damage, your insurance company will assess whether you could have prevented the damage through routine maintenance. When filing a claim, you will be asked a series of questions that will determine whether your damage will be covered.
Secondary Damage from Pest Infestations
While many home insurance policies do not directly cover pest damage, secondary pest damage may still be covered.
For example, you probably won’t be able to get compensation to replace insulation that has been destroyed by a rodent infestation. However, if a mouse chews on a wire and results in an electrical fire, your insurance policy may still cover the damage caused by the fire.
Even if your insurance company determines that the damage occurred outside of their control, they will likely only pay for the unexpected damage, but not for pest control services.
However, if damage occurs from a wild animal that you cannot control, such as a deer hitting your gate or a raccoon ransacking your garage, your home insurance policy will likely cover it. After all, this kind of damage is sudden and purely accidental.
What kind of damage can pests and worms do to my home?
- Nests: Rats and mice often choose cavities in walls or under floorboards and tear apart materials like wall insulation to make a cozy nest.
- Structure damage: rats gnaw all kinds of hard objects. Including building materials such as wooden floor and roof beams, plastics, soft metals and even some types of bricks.
- Wiring and Piping: Rodents can make their way through your home’s electrical wiring, water and gas pipes, leading to a risk of short circuit, fire and flooding.
What are the signs of pest infestation?
- Droppings : Rat and mouse droppings are dark brown and shaped like grains of rice.
- Nocturnal noises: r acts are usually active at night – so you may hear running or scratching noises or even squeals at bedtime.
- Nests: Check nooks and crannies in your wall, roof spaces for mice nests made of soft materials like insulation and shredded newspaper.
- Gnawed Areas and Holes: Rats and mice will leave teeth marks lying around. Look for marks in the wood around baseboards, cardboard boxes, and gnawed holes in the roof.
- Footprints: If you suspect a rat infestation in your kitchen, try dusting the floor with flour overnight and check for footprints in the morning.
- Mice Paths: Mice tend to use the same route on and off the property and around the house, which will get dirty over time.
Waking up with itchy patches, bloodstains, and/or rust-colored bed bug droppings on the sheets.
How to keep pests away from your home
Seal the gaps
Home Insurance Cover Pest Infestation: Check and seal all possible entry points to your home from the ground floor. Rats and mice can squeeze through the smallest of holes. Especially check around the points where piping enters your home, check for broken bricks, and examine openings. Install barriers or intercept traps in drains.
Maintain excellent food hygiene
Leftover food tends to attract all kinds of animals that we don’t want in the house. Keep your kitchen (and the rest of the house) clean, free of crumbs and food spills from the floor and surfaces. Store leftover food in closed containers. Throw away uneaten food and wash pet bowls well.
Manage household waste
Don’t let garbage accumulate in the kitchen trash, always check the occupancy of the outside trash cans and that the lids are fitting correctly. If you compost, make your compost in a sealed container.
Keep the garden clean
The “abandonment” of the garden, with piles of leaves, lawn mowers, leftover building material and wood, are a good source of shelter and nesting material for pests. So keep your garden clean and spend some time outdoors.
Vacuum the room
Bed bugs don’t just hide in your bed, they can live in your bed frame or baseboards. Keep the area around your bed as tidy as possible and vacuum your bed and the area around it regularly.
Make regular inspections
At least once a year, have a licensed exterminator inspect the condition of your home and identify any infestations that you have not identified.
Treat any pest infestation quickly
If you spot a pest infestation, no matter how small, don’t let things get worse. The sooner you get rid of this problem, the less the consequences and damage will be.
Notify your insurer
Even if you already know you won’t be covered, if you have an incident, report it to your insurer immediately. They need to document the damage to your home and update your policy information.
We sincerely hope you don’t go through such a headache. Be judicious with the regular maintenance of your home and your chances of having to deal with pests decreases considerably.