a chart shows the spread of termites from underground into a home

Cartoon image of termite colony under a housePest infestations can cause a tremendous amount of damage. Mice and rats can chew electrical wiring, causing fires. Termites, carpenter bees, and carpenter ants attack the wood in a house, which can literally damage your home’s structure.

Most homeowners assume that insurance will cover such damage and are shocked to find pest damage is rarely covered. When a policy does cover pest-related damage, it is usually only due to specific circumstances.

Do Pests Affect My Homeowners Insurance?

Most pest damage is excluded from coverage in homeowners insurance or renters policies. Insurance policies are a balancing act between covering incidents so people purchase the insurance while excluding incidents that could lead to claims that are so numerous or so expensive that the insurance company would lose money. As such, most pest damage is deemed “expected” and “preventable” – and is therefore excluded from coverage.

Preventable Damage is the sort of thing that occurs over a period of time. For example, a concrete path or driveway could start to lift from the root of a nearby tree which is also close to the house. It is possible to prevent that tree root from also damaging the house’s foundation by taking action at the first sign of a problem, which (in this case) would be the pavement lifting. So, they could have prevented the damage to the house.

Expected Damage relates to things that should have been handled by a homeowner. For example, leaving food out, which can attract insects and rodents, is known to be a problem and should be avoided. Any damage caused by such an infestation would not be covered because it should have been expected and curtailed.

Unexpected Damage involves incidents like storms. Lightning striking a home and causing a fire, or shorting out its electrical service, could be deemed unexpected damage.

When Does Home Insurance Cover Pest Infestations?

Damage from pest infestations is only covered when it is unexpected. Even then, it may not be covered if the infestation was considered preventable.

For example, mice chewing wires and causing an electrical fire may be covered because routine notice might not detect it. Even then… the damage would be covered, but mice treatment probably would not be.

However, if the homeowner mentions having heard mice scurrying in the walls or signs of a rodent infestation in the weeks or months beforehand, an insurance company could deem the incident preventableeven if the electrical fire was unexpected. It will depend upon the exact terms and conditions of the policy.

This is why termite and similar damage are rarely covered. That is especially true if there is a wood pile next to the house… because this is a known way to attract termites and other wood-chewing insects to a home.

All of this means that it is vital for homeowners to take proper precautions to deter and prevent pest infestations and to treat them as soon as possible if one happens. Not doing so could lead to even unexpected damage that would otherwise be covered to be declined.

Call Arrow for All of Your Pest Control Needs

Regardless of the type of pest or time of year, if you think you have an infestation of any kind, call us right away. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help you live in a critter-free environment. To get started, contact Arrow Exterminating today.

Is Pest Damage Covered by Homeowner/Renter Insurance? Serving Long Island and surrounding areas

Richmond | Kings | Nassau County | Suffolk County

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