We are ablaze with summer sunshine, temperatures that entice us outdoors, and a yard full of critters and creatures. Most of the time we coexist peacefully but occasionally wildlife can wreak havoc and cause damage to your home or auto.
Contrary to popular belief not all incidents of wildlife invasion to home or auto are covered under your standard policy. Most insurance companies have guidelines as to how they will pay claims. Here are a few common scenarios and how most insurance companies on a whole will react.
First Scenario: You park your car outside in your driveway and some adventurous wildlife a.k.a. mice, chipmunks or other assorted rodents find the engine compartment of your car is warm and dry. They find a place to make residence and proceed to chew some wires. You get up in the morning and try to start your car, only to find their handiwork has caused your engine not to start. Is this covered?
Is it covered by your auto insurance? Yes, auto insurance almost always pays for damage done to your vehicle by an animal. It is considered a comprehensive loss (loss that is not the result of a collision) for you have no real way for you to prevent it. As long as you carry comprehensive coverage on your automobile, this auto should be repaired and paid for by your auto insurance company.
Second Scenario: After an inspection of your home by a local pest control firm, you find a major termite infestation that has had time to grow due to neglect of routine inspection. This lack of attention to maintenance demands fumigation of the house and damage repair to the woodwork in your home. Is this covered?
Is it covered by your homeowner’s insurance? Most likely, there will be no coverage. If basic home upkeep is not maintained and the loss prevented by regular care, most insurance companies will exclude any damage caused by insects or animals.
Third Scenario: A family of squirrels decides to nest in your attic. During their stay, they decide to chew on your plumbing line. The pipe bursts when they have chewed through it. The resulting water damage to the attic and your bedroom ceiling and flooring below is extensive. You get an estimate for repair of the damage- it is several thousand dollars to fix it. Is this covered?
Is it covered by your homeowner’s insurance? Yes and no. Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover “sudden and accidental” losses your home. The coverage for damage would include the damage to your attic and your bedroom subject to your deductible. Your coverage would not extend to the repairs of the damaged pipe for this would be considered home maintenance. Your insurance policy excludes any maintenance work needed on your home.
We hope this is helpful information and we at Brownell Insurance Center are willing to help you with any of your coverage questions and needs. Enjoy your summer and try to curtail the mayhem caused by critters that have gone bad.
Blog written from information provided by AAA member publications – Robin Jones on June 19, 2017