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Are rodents covered under my home insurance policy?

Rodents moving into your house is a nightmare scenario – they cause damage and can even make you sick. They also multiply quickly, making an initially small problem become a big issue very fast. But if you do notice rodents moving in, will the damage be covered by insurance?

Unfortunately, no, damage caused by rodents or the costs to remove them are not covered by home insurance. This is because the problem is preventable or solvable by quick action and is not considered to be an unexpected event. It’s considered to be a maintenance issue as most pests can be caught early and removed with little expense.

Furthermore, the cost of removing the vermin might not even be worth the cost of your home insurance deductible, let along the price of increased premiums over the long term.

A problem arises however when a homeowner is unaware of the rodents or procrastinates getting rid of them. Unfortunately, most rodents won’t just go away and can cause extensive additional damage.

One scenario is if a family of mice take up residence in your home. One of the mice chews through your washing machine hose. The next time you wash a load of laundry, there’s water everywhere. Not only will you need to replace the hose (and possibly the washing machine), this can cause extensive water damage to your home. But because this damage was caused by a mouse, your home insurance wouldn’t cover the costs of repairs.

Essentially the insurance company considers this scenario a problem that you failed to address—failing to do proper maintenance and allowing your home to be damaged is a legitimate reason to be denied a claim. Insurance companies realize that if you end up with a large extermination claim it’s not a pest problem that just popped up yesterday.

Are there exceptions?

There may be exceptions depending on your policy, the type of damage and based on the insurance company’s findings from their claim investigation. However, you should always address rodent issues as soon as they’re noticed – and be aware of signs of rodent infestations including:

  • Excrement
  • Nibble marks
  • Tracks
  • Musky odours
  • Scratching noises
  • The presence of nests

It’s best to try to prevent rodents from entering your home in the first place. Eliminate easily accessible entrances, seal cracks and holes, cover vents and other openings, keep vegetation cut short beside your home, store all food securely, and invest in a cat (or if you’re not a cat person, mouse traps – just make sure to be careful if you have kids).

If you do notice signs of an infestation, it’s time to set some more mouse traps or call a professional.

Talk to your broker if you have any questions about your home insurance and rodent infestations.