You try to start your car one morning and it does not start. So you have it towed to your local workshop and the mechanic delivers the bad news … … several electrical wires have been chewed by causing several thousand dollars in damage.
Diagnosis? Some annoying critter decided to make a meal out of your car's internal function …
Rodent damage and car insurance
And you are hoping that your car insurance in Ohio will cover the damage. If you have extensive coverage, you are in luck. Extensive coverage covers animal damage to your vehicle, just as if you hit an animal while driving.
Comprehensive is usually subject to a deductible, so the insurance company will cut a check based on the estimate minus the deductible.
What if you do not have comprehensive coverage? Unfortunately, you are a little lucky and have to pay for the repair out of pocket.
How about rodents and your home?
We have called before where raccoons and squirrels have made their way into a house and caused significant damage to the interior. Many will chew wires, but in some cases the damage is MUCH more extensive. How extensive are you asking? Read this article about raccoons that broke into a house and caused $ 80,000 in damage. YIKES! Pictures Included …
However, unlike the comprehensive coverage on your car insurance, damage caused by rodents is specifically EXCLUDED under a homeowners insurance policy in Ohio. In fact, the exclusion probably mentions several types of animals. Here is an exception directly from one of our company's policies for homeowners:
"We" do not pay for losses arising directly or indirectly from any of the following …
……. Caused by: a. Termites, pests, insects, rodents, birds (except broken glass), skunks, raccoons, spiders, reptiles or bats. loss caused by animals owned or held by an "insured", birds, pests, rodents or insects.
And a final: "However, we do not insure for loss" … Any of the following …. Birds, pests, rodents or insects.
When reading these exceptions, it is important to note that there may be a possibility of interpretation, especially if the specific animal is NOT named. Vermin, however, seems to be a catchall category. In any case, a call to your insurance agent is still the best way.
As you can see from the differences in the exceptions above, while most homeowners have a "critical" exclusion, each company can define this exclusion differently. Please note that not only are non-pets listed, but the exclusion may also apply to your own pets. It is always best to contact your insurance company to find out exactly how the exclusion for YOUR homeowners insurance reads.
At least an annual walk around your house would NOT be a bad idea. You can look for holes, openings that need to be covered or sealed, double check the chimney (and put on a cap if not already), check the windows / screens and look for access points that sparklers can use to enter the house. An attic is a popular place, so at least you would like to look around your roof and windows in that area. As mentioned in the article above, skylights are also a possible starting point.
In the case of rodents (or other "critter" injuries), insurance may not be able to help you. Extensive coverage of your car insurance covers animal damage, but damage caused by animals is normally an exception to the homeowner's policy. If you are unsure, contact your insurance agent (preferably before the damages occur) to verify that your insurance policies cover or do not cover animal damage to your vehicle or home.
For further examples of common exceptions to a homeowner's insurance policy, read our blog – What is NOT covered by my homeowner's insurance policy?
Interested in General Information on Ohio Homeowners Insurance Claims? Read our article – How Ohio Homeowners Insurance Claims Work – for a good explanation of the process.
Questions? Do You Need to Discuss Your Ohio Homeowners Insurance? Call us at (937) 592-4871 or request a quote online. It's fast and easy!