A wild or unattended animal can cause significant property damage to your home, especially if the animal gets trapped for several hours. Attorney Bill Voss explains how to get your home insurance provider to pay for animal damage, as well as standard exclusions on homeowner’s policies.
Does My Home Insurance Policy Cover Animal Damage?
Animal damage coverage generally protects against damage caused by large animals, such as deer or bears. Pets are usually excluded from policies unless the homeowner has a specific extension. Wildlife damage coverage may be part of your:
This pays for repairs to your home's structure and anything attached to it, such as a covered walkway or attached garage. For example, if a bear broke into your kitchen, dwelling coverage may repair damage to scratched doorways and broken built-in appliances.
Other structures coverage
This pays to repair or replace detached structures on the property, such as barns, sheds, fences, and detached garages. For example, if a deer damages your greenhouse, you would file a claim under your outbuildings coverage to get payment for broken panes of glass, lost plants, and other costs.
Personal property coverage
Personal property coverage usually carries an exception for wild animal damage. If a wild animal destroyed your personal belongings, you need to check your policy carefully to see if you’re entitled to compensation.
If a wild animal damages your garage, you might be able to supplement your home claim with auto insurance. A comprehensive auto insurance policy might pay for repairs if your vehicle was damaged while it wasn’t in motion.
Types of Wildlife Damage That Might Not Be Covered
While reviewing your policy, you should also know the applicable reimbursement limits and deductibles. If your deductible is $1000 and your damage is $1200, it may not be worth it to file a claim. In addition, if your pet damage maximum is $500, you will only receive $500. regardless of the amount of damage the animal caused. Additionally, policies typically exclude animal damage that the homeowner can mitigate or prevent. For example, insurers often refuse to cover:
Squirrels, mice, rats, and other vermin can damage the walls and wiring in your home. It doesn’t take long for these rodents to multiply and turn a small nest into an infestation. Mice are well-known for their ability to chew through wooden beams, make nests out of insulation, and disrupt electricity by chewing on electrical wires. Other vermin, such as raccoons, skunks, and opossums, can cause extensive damage to your home's structure and personal property. Your home insurance policy will likely not cover rodent damage because owners are responsible for regular maintenance and calling an exterminator at the first sign of unwanted animals.
Termites, woodworms, wasps, ants, and other insects can disintegrate a home’s roof and walls due to the number of pests involved. Home insurance companies rarely cover insect damage to personal property or the home’s structure, even if you’ve taken pest control measures.
Woodpeckers should be discouraged from nesting or hunting on your roof, porch, siding, soffits, or wooden deck supports. The holes they make open your house to water intrusion or further pest infestations.
Bats can do just as much damage as mice, with the added danger of rabies infection and harmful exposure to their droppings. If bats are in your attic, you'll need to call a professional to remove them and prevent their return. However, you’ll likely have to pay these expenses out of pocket.
Let Us Help You Get Payment for Damage to Your Home
If your policy states that you have coverage, but your insurer refuses to pay, the Voss Law Firm can help. Your insurer may be guilty of bad faith tactics, entitling you to serval times the value of your claim in damages. Call us at 888-614-7730 or complete our contact form today to get answers to your questions, or start reading your copy of our free book, Tricks of the Trade: How Insurance Companies Deny, Delay, Confuse, and Refuse.