Homeowners insurance might help cover the cost of any property damage caused by natural disasters like fire, storms, and flooding. But, what about the damage caused by animals? Does a homeowner’s insurance cover raccoon removal, or squirrel removal? The answer to that isn’t as simple.
This is often considered a matter of property maintenance for which the policyholder is responsible. There are a couple of instances, however, where your insurer could be more lenient.
What will be covered?
Just like your average homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover damage caused by vermin, it also generally won’t cover damage caused by other people’s pets.
Bugs and rodents may not be capable of causing much destruction on their own, but don’t let that fool you – they can wreak havoc on your home and belongings if left unchecked. Unfortunately, most home insurance policies won’t cover the damages these critters can cause, so it’s important to take steps to prevent them from gaining access to your home and other structures in the first place.
Dwelling coverage vs other structures
Your home insurance policy’s dwelling coverage and other structures coverage may cover wildlife damage. Dwelling coverage is the insurance of your home’s structure and anything attached to it, like an attached garage. Other structures’ coverage protects things like fences and sheds that are not attached to your house.
How big of an animal will be covered by homeowner insurance?
Your insurance company is probably more likely to cover damage caused by bigger wild animals than smaller, pesky ones.
Typically, home insurance policies won’t cover damage done to your property by insects or small animals like squirrels, mice, bats, domestic animals and raccoons. If you’re dealing with a wild animal like a grizzly bear destroying your property, your insurance company may be more lenient and cover the damage.
If something your insurance policy covers causes an infestation or damage, you’re probably covered. If, say, a storm was to knock a tree onto your roof on your personal property, and a wild raccoon used the opportunity to climb in, you may be covered for any raccoon damage the critter caused to your home. Also, wild animal damage to your personal property or personal belongings like furniture and appliances is never covered.
But again, your insurance policy may cover animal damage, but it varies from policy to policy. So, unfortunately, it’s a bit of a shot in the dark as to whether or not you’re covered.
Homeowners’ insurance typically excludes coverage for property loss caused by rodents or other vermin, so if you have a rat problem, you’re on your own.
If a section of your house collapsed or caught on fire due to an animal chewing through electrical wires you weren’t aware of, your insurance company may help cover the cost of repairs – but you’d have to prove your unfamiliarity with the event first.
Raccoon and squirrel damage
Raccoon damage and raccoon removal are probably not covered by homeowners insurance even though raccoons and squirrels are truly wild animals and don’t live in people’s homes as frequently as rodents and other pests. This is because, as anyone who has been paying attention will know, raccoon damage is considered preventable.
When it comes to raccoon removal, along with other small mammals like squirrels, possums and groundhogs, they are considered vermin by most insurance companies.
Although most people don’t consider bats to be vermin, many insurance companies do, and will exclude bat damage and removal from coverage — it all depends on the terms of your specific policy.
Does homeowners insurance cover insect infestations?
Like pesky critters, insects can do some serious damage to your property – but your insurance probably won’t cover it.
According to a standard policy, you’re covered in the event of a collapse due to damage from insects or vermin that is not visible, unless, of course, you’re already aware of the damage.
Depending on the type of loss and your policy’s language, you may be in luck.
In many cases, your home insurance policy won’t cover the costs of termite damage. So before you call the exterminator, be sure to check your coverage.
If the infestation is due to a hidden hazard, you could claim damage coverage but would need to show that the event directly resulted in the termites residing in your home.
Bed bug removal
Bed bugs and cockroaches are a pain, but they’re not nearly as destructive as other types of pests. Still, they can be expensive to deal with if they get into your home. Insurance companies do not cover their removal no matter how much structural damage they cause.
If you’re wondering whether or not your insurance company will cover the damages caused by bees, the answer is probably not. However, if the underlying cause of the bee infestation is an event you were unaware of, you may be covered.
Does homeowners insurance cover household pet damage?
Your dog might be your best friend, but when it comes to homeowners insurance, they’re just like those nasty raccoons. If your furry friend causes any damage to your property, you’re on your own.
But at least homeowners insurance can provide coverage with legal and medical expenses if your dog causes serious injury to a guest or passerby, or if it poses a health hazard. Also, the damage caused but animal waste is not covered either.
Typically, If your pet wreaks havoc on your home, don’t expect your homeowners insurance policy to cover the damage. That means you can’t claim a payout if Fido decides to make your couch cushion into a chew toy and you’ll have to pay for replacements out of your pocket.
However, if your neighbour’s dog damages your property, you could potentially claim a payout from their insurance company. In other words, your neighbour would be liable for the loss.
Homeowner’s insurance generally won’t cover property damage caused by animals, including cuddly little birds, gross insects, and icky rodents or vermin. Pest removal also isn’t covered, so you’re on your own there.
If your home is damaged by your pet, you’re out of luck. Homeowner’s insurance won’t cover the damage.
But if you have a run-in with a larger animal, like a deer or bear, you’re likely covered for repairs.
The last thing you want to do is contact a wildlife removal service without knowing if your homeowner’s insurance covers it.
To find out, call your insurance company and ask them what’s covered and how much you can claim.