Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Rodent Damage?

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No, home insurance generally doesn’t cover rodent damage because rodent or insect infestations are considered preventable and are usually caused by neglect or failure to properly maintain the property. However, under certain circumstances, like sudden unexpected damage caused by rodents, homeowners insurance may cover some of the damage.

Home insurance companies expect homeowners to maintain the general upkeep of their property. Preventable damage is the responsibility of the homeowner. Costs that occur from rodent damage or for rodent removal are not covered by homeowners insurance.

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When Home Insurance Company May Cover Animal Damage

Generally, animal damage done to the structure of the house is covered by homeowner’s insurance. Wild animal damage like a deer or a bear breaking into your house, damaging your fence, or tearing apart siding on your house is usually covered. As large animals do not usually take up residence in a home, their damage is not generally preventable.

Under certain circumstances, your home insurance company may pay for damage caused by rats. If they cause damage like chewing a wire that resulted in a fire or a chewed pipe that leads to water damage, your insurance should cover the structural damage caused by those animals. However, they will only cover the cost of repairs to the structure of your house, not usually personal items that might have been affected by the event.

But if the pesky mouse or rat damages your personal property like chewing the wires on your TV or setting up a house on your couch, your insurance will not cover the damage done to personal property. For example, should a raccoon get into your garage and rummage through boxes and destroy items stored there, your insurance will not typically cover the damages. But if the raccoon tears through your drywall, the insurance company will probably cover the repairs to your wall.

Rodent invasion is different from rodent infestation. The key difference is the presence of consistent habitation of animals in your home. Sudden and unexpected damage caused by a curious or adventurous animal is usually covered depending on what they damaged and how they gained access to your house.

Other Kinds of Animal Damage That Are Not Covered by Home Insurance

Damage caused by squirrels and raccoons is also usually not covered. Squirrels have been known to settle into attics, and though they populate less vigorously than a rat or mouse, they will eventually grow in numbers potentially causing an invasion. Damage resulting from an animal setting up a house in your stuff is not covered regardless of their species. Raccoon damage is generally not covered, nor is damage caused by skunks, chipmunks, opossums, bats, insects, birds, or even domestic pets. If those animals physically broke into your house, by breaking a window or chewing a hole in your wall, that damage might be covered.

Is Rodent or Pest Control or Removal Covered by Home Insurance?

Homeowners are responsible for the cost of rodent or pest control services. As an infestation is considered a preventable problem, homeowner’s insurance will not cover the costs related to rodent or pest removal or extermination. If you are vigilant at the first evidence of the presence of mouse or rat droppings, the cost of removing or exterminating the rodents will be much lower than if the unwanted visitors infest your home.

Preventing Rodent Damage in your Home

The best prevention is action. Stop an infestation before it starts with careful maintenance of your home and yard. If your property is not inviting, rodents and other pesky animals will be less likely to invade and cause damage.

  • Reduce the clutter in and around your house. Rodents and insects like to hide in and around clutter as it is a good place of quiet protection. Attics, basements, and wood piles next to your house as ideal places they like to settle into.
  • Routinely check for holes and cracks. Common places to keep a watchful eye on are around windows, walls, and floorboards.
  • Look for signs of rodents or insects. Mice and rats leave droppings wherever they go, so it should be easy to spot when those visitors are starting to feel comfortable in your home.
  • Properly store food. Closed and sealed containers reduce the alluring smells of food and are harder for them to get to.
  • Use traps and repellents. Be proactive in catching any invaders before they take over your house. There are many traps and repellents available that make your house less desirable to incoming vermin.
  • Call a professional. If you suspect a rodent infestation, a pest removal service will be able to access the problem and get ahead of the infestation before the damages get out of hand.

The joys of having your own home can quickly be diminished when rodents invade your space. Avoiding and eliminating potential rodent damage is your best line of defense.

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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.