Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Extermination?

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Andrew Lee is insurance content writer and editor for Andrew holds a Bachelor's degree from Ryerson University and has extensive experience of writing content for financial websites. His expertise is especially strong in home and auto insurance.

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Infestations are the worst! Whether with insects or rodents, infestations can cause all kinds of damage to your property, your possessions, and your health. This doesn’t even mention how gross it is living inside an infestation. Will your homeowners insurance cover the extermination of the pests? Unfortunately, homeowners insurance is very unlikely to cover extermination. This means that your best means of saving money on extermination is by avoiding an infestation in the first place.

Your Insurance Considers Extermination and Pest Control to Be Routine Maintenance

Insurers draw a clear line between what does and what doesn’t constitute homeowner responsibility, and maintenance is right on top of the list of things homeowners are expected to be responsible for. One of the most common reasons for claim denial is negligence: if the damage could have been prevented by the homeowner, home insurance will not pay for it.

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Infestations, as far as insurance companies are concerned, fall under the category of negligence and therefore extermination is considered maintenance of your home. It generally does not matter what the nature of the infestation is – whether it’s with rats, termites, cockroaches, or any other pest. You’ll have to foot the bill for the extermination. 

While Exterminations Are Often Explicitly Not Covered, There Are Rare Circumstances Where They Are

In the world of insurance, few things are absolute. A proximate cause is an insurance term that indicates an event that is directly related enough to a problem that it can be said to be the cause of the problem. For example, while insurances may not routinely cover extermination, insurance will cover repair costs associated with theft. Suppose a thief breaks into your home, damaging your window, and in the time it takes to get everything repaired, termites manage to infest the wall or room where the break-in took place. In an instance like this, the theft might be considered the proximate cause of the termite infestation, and thus the insurance may cover the extermination as part of the compensation for the theft.

Few things are as complicated as insurance. Always make sure to check the specifics of your policies, and to follow up with your insurance provider if you have any questions about the nature of your coverage.

The Best Way to Lower Extermination Costs Is to Prevent Infestation in the First Place

Since your extermination is unlikely to be covered, you’ll want to prevent infestations so you don’t have to perform any exterminations in the first place. There are many different kinds of pests and a variety of things that attract them. To prevent them, you’ll want to make sure your food is stored properly and is in a place where critters can’t get access to them. You’ll want to seal cracks and crevices that can allow pests access into and out of your house, as well as make sure that your chimney, if you have one, is properly safeguarded.

General cleanliness is important. Clutter can be attractive to things like rats or cockroaches, and the more cluttered a house is, the more places critters can hide and multiply. Keeping your kitchen clean is another important way to prevent pests, alongside managing how humid your house gets. As long as proper care is taken, you can prevent infestations and save yourself a major headache down the road.

Despite Our Best Efforts, Infestations Can Still Happen

We might be determined to prevent infestations but sometimes pests are more determined to share your home with you than you are to keep them out. It is important to always keep watch for signs of infestation in your home, and around your property. The signs of infestation are as varied as the pests themselves, however, there are some general signs you can watch out for.

Weird smells might be the most noticeable. Rot associated with pests can be hard to miss, especially if the pest is prone to leaving wasting food in a wall or under a cabinet. If pests themselves die inside of your walls, or on the floors, this too can leave foul odors. Droppings are another common sign that you should be wary of, whether it’s circular rat droppings or dead bugs in weird places. Termites, along with other pests with wings, can often leave behind those wings as part of their life cycle. You should also keep a lookout for damaged wiring, which can be a sign of rat or mice infestation and is an extreme fire hazard.

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Andrew Lee is insurance content writer and editor for Andrew holds a Bachelor's degree from Ryerson University and has extensive experience of writing content for financial websites. His expertise is especially strong in home and auto insurance.