When The Plague Hits: Your Homeowner's Insurance And Pests
Even if you are a cleaning fanatic, you are likely to host some unpleasant pests from time to time. Who hasn't caught a mouse or two? And cockroaches are not nearly as rare as we'd like them to be. If you were one of those unfortunate folks who brought home bedbugs from a trip, you know that scrubbing everything in sight doesn't always help. If you find your home in the midst of a bug or rodent infestation, you may naturally reach for the phone to call your insurance agent. Before you do, read your policy.
Bug and Rodent Exclusions
Almost every homeowner's policy carries an exclusion on rodent and insect damage. Most damage caused by these creatures is done over the long term. It's not as if termites struck one day and your home's frame collapsed the next. Those termites were in there for a long time, gnawing away while you were either unaware of their existence or in denial about the ants with wings you saw in the kitchen. Insurance companies rightfully feel that a mouse problem that has been left to multiply over the course of months isn't their problem. If you see something, you need to do something immediately and not wait until pests have wreaked havoc on your home.
In a few instances, your home might be covered from pest damage if the influx was "sudden and unexpected." For instance, if your home had wind damage and a family of opossums decided to move into your attic, the cost of pest removal might be covered. Experts warn that it's usually only these types of collateral damages that are covered unless you take out a special pest policy, which may be somewhat costly. If your home was invaded by a dozen rats surging up through your sewer pipes, your insurance agent would probably be able to help you with the pest removal expenses. Your mental health bill would be another issue. Basically, if you've known you had a "little" problem and didn't take steps to fix it, you will be out of luck with your homeowner's policy.
If you do have an infestation, feel free to talk to your agent before you pay the pest removal service any big bucks. Just be aware that your coverage in this area is limited to a few special circumstances. The wiser course would be to call before you have a problem and see exactly what procedure your agent recommends if you find your home invaded by pesky critters. Visit http://www.unitedsecurityagency.com for more information.