Is Rodent Damage Covered with Homeowners Insurance?

Rodents are pests capable of causing structural damage to your home while carrying numerous communicable diseases. Their waste and bites can threaten your pets and family and an infestation can get out of hand very quickly. It is important to eliminate the threat quickly to protect your property and health. You may be able to reduce the cost of doing so by evaluating whether your homeowner’s insurance policy covers rodent or pest removal.

Most people don’t take their insurance into account when determining the affordability of pest removal. This is because most pest control is classified as home maintenance. Anything under this classification is typically not covered by a typical homeowner’s policy, but there are some exceptions to this rule.

Determining the Extent of Your Rodent Problem

In a lot of cases, the evidence of a rodent infestation is more noticeable than the rodents themselves. Rats and mice are very elusive and often evade visual detection for a long time before the problem escalates. The best way to determine whether you have rodents and the severity of your infestation is to monitor your home for the following signs.

  • Signs of a rodent nest. Look for things like leaves, dirt, torn fabric, paper, or other material that seems out of place. Rodents will use this material to build their homes within the space they have carved away for themselves.
  • Holes in your floors or walls. These are the entry points the rodents use to enter or exit your home at will. If you notice that a pest has chewed its way through floorboards or walls, you will want to fill the holes and inspect your home for structural damage.
  • The presence of rat or mouse feces. Finding rodent droppings can be very disturbing, especially when it is found near the food you consume or on your dishes and silverware. You will want to disinfect any area that contains food, cookware, and eating utensils to prevent food poisoning.
  • Offensive and unexplained odors. If you notice stale or unpleasant smells cropping up in your home, it is likely due to the presence of a pest, such as rats or mice. Finding the source of the odor will often lead you to the nest.
  • Torn and chewed food items or packaging. The entire reason rodents have made a home inside your property is because they have been drawn by your food and the protection from the elements your home provides. They will chew on food packaging and containers, so take note when you notice damage to your food packaging.

Once you have determined that you have an infestation, you can begin taking steps to manage it. Rodents reproduce quickly, so it is important to deny them the opportunity to continue finding food and protection in your domicile. Calling a pest control company to rid your home of rodents won’t help if you don’t address the means they used to get inside your home in the first place.

How to Prevent and Manage Infestations

If you do not take appropriate measures to prevent or limit the spread of a rodent infestation, it will hurt any claim you attempt to make against your homeowner’s insurance policy. Your insurance company will not entertain any claim if you can be found negligent in how you’ve handled the problem. If you can show that you took reasonable steps to prevent and contain the infestation, however, you may be able to file a claim for the cost of bringing in a professional pest control service to assist you.

Here are some of the ways you can reasonably prevent and contain a rodent infestation.

  • Seal any holes that you find within your property or entry points you discover on its exterior. Not repairing these holes can not only invite pests into your home, but it can be considered negligent in the eyes of your insurance company.
  • Eliminate sources of water and food that rodents may be able to access. You can store your garbage in sealable containers, turn your compose whenever you add new waste, and stop leaving feed for birds in your yard once you have discovered a rodent problem.
  • Search for possible nests outside your property. Rats and mice create nests out of mulch, leaves, and discarded items such as paper or fabric. Finding and removing piles of material that rodents can nest in will help keep them away from your property.
  • Calling a pest control service the moment that you notice signs of a possible infestation. If you delay in seeking assistance, this can be seen as neglect. An insurance company may refuse to allow you to make a claim on the basis that you did not act quickly enough.

When filing a claim for damages due to a rodent infestation, make sure that you provide an account of all the steps that you took once you realized you had a problem. Also keep track of all the expenses that you incurred during the removal process, including the cost of structural repair and pest control. These records will be important when you need to make a case for why you have a right to a claim.

How Insurance Companies Determine Your Right to a Claim

You may be able to file a claim with your insurance company on the basis that rodents caused damage to your home. What the insurance company cares most about is whether it can prove that you were negligent in your handling of the matter. Things that can be considered negligent include the following.

  • Failure to perform routine maintenance on your home. If your rodent infestation was the result of your failure to take appropriate actions ahead of time, your claim may be denied. It may also impact a claim for related damages, such as an electrical fire caused by rodents chewing through outlets or wiring within your walls.
  • Failure to act quickly. If you discover that you have rats or mice and sit on the situation for too long, your insurance company will claim that you were negligent in addressing the problem and refuse your claim. You should involve a rodent control service early on to show that you are acting in good faith.
  • The language contained in your policy. Some policies contain language that may work against you, so it is important to read your policy or ask your agent the right questions. While some policies will cover rodent damage, others are written specifically to exclude such coverage.

The best way to determine whether you can recoup the cost of rodent removal is to have a discussion with your insurance company. In many cases, it is possible to not only receive a claim for the cost of a pest control service, but also for any repairs that need to be made to your home to prevent future infestations.

Have Your Home Inspected for Free

We at Buzz Tech understand how alarming it can be to discover evidence of rodents in or near your home. An infestation can be dangerous for numerous reasons and needs to be addressed quickly and efficiently. You do not want to wait a minute longer to start solving the problem than you absolutely need to.

Buzz Tech has served the Phoenix area for 20 years. We are on call 24 hours a day, every day of the week. We can have a technician out to your home to inspect your home the same day you call. In most cases, we will arrive within the hour. We will also inspect your home and give you a quote for free. Contact us today or call us at 602-619-9975