Small Critter Problems May Not Be Covered by Your Homeowners Policy

The Risk

The National Pest Management Association (NMPA) estimates that termites cause $5 billion in damage every year. But most homeowners policies do not cover all damage from termites, ants, raccoons, and mice. In some cases, however, indirect damage caused by critters may be covered. Let’s look at the following examples.

  • Termites eat through a roof truss in your home, causing the roof to collapse. This causes $50,000 worth of damage, $10,000 of that to replace the truss eaten by the termites. Your homeowners policy may not cover the $10,000 direct damage to the truss. The indirect damage from collapse, such as interior damage to your furniture, may be covered.
  • Mice chew through electrical wires causing a fire in your home. The cost to replace the electrical wiring, direct damage, may not be covered; the indirect fire damage may be covered by your homeowners policy.


Protect Yourself and Your Home

Preventive maintenance is an important step in keeping your home, likely your largest investment, free of pests and in tiptop shape.

  • Periodically check your home for cracks in the walls. Unscreened soffits and vents, too, are easy-entry areas for pests.
  • Keep inside air conditioner filters clean. Dirty filters can trap moisture, which is a magnet for pests.
  • Repair torn window screens.
  • Keep trash cans clean and lids sealed.
  • Make sure your irrigation system is working correctly so does not spray on the walls of your home.
  • Make sure your rain gutters are clean and your downspouts in good repair. It is vital that you keep water away from your foundation as much as possible.


Pest Control

Homeowners living in Florida and South Carolina must deal with plenty of pests. Proactive maintenance on your southeastern home is necessary to keep them from invading your home, perhaps causing extensive damage. Consider choosing a reliable pest control company that will monitor for pests and help prevent infestation. Your friends or neighbors may be able to recommend a high quality company. In addition, check with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) for local, reputable pest control companies in your area. Some companies provide warrantees against infestation or re-infestation. These warrantees may cover the cost of treatment only, or may pay for damages caused by pests.

Talk With Your Insurance Agent

As you can see, your homeowners policy will probably not cover direct physical damages caused by pests. However, you probably will have coverage for any indirect damage. Just where the dividing line is may be complicated.

Be sure to discuss these issues with your insurance agent. He or she can explain what your homeowners policy covers and where coverage may be limited.

Use our Agent Locator to find a Frontline Insurance agent in your area.

Please remember that the comments contained in this blog are general in nature and that coverage under any specific policy of insurance will depend upon the terms and conditions of such policy.