If you’ve ever had an unwanted critter invade your home or damage your property, you may have wondered – will my homeowners insurance cover this? Damage from birds and animals is a common home insurance claim, but coverage varies between policies. Read on to learn what standard homeowners insurance does and doesn’t cover for animal-related damage.
Homeowners insurance typically does not cover bird or animal damage in the USA. This is because bird and animal damage is considered to be a maintenance issue, and homeowners insurance is typically only intended to cover unexpected events, such as fire, theft, and vandalism.
However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, if a bird or animal damages your home as a result of a covered event, such as a storm or fire, your homeowners insurance may cover the cost of repairs.
Standard homeowners insurance provides coverage if birds or animals damage the exterior of your home. This includes damage to:
Birds and squirrels often nest in roof rafters, leading to damaged shingles or holes. Insurance will pay for roof repairs.
Rodents or woodpeckers may gnaw on or peck holes in siding. Insurers will cover siding repairs or replacement.
Many creatures like raccoons can tear through screens on windows or doors. Insurance will cover new screens if they are damaged by animals.
Inside your home, basic homeowners insurance will cover:
If raccoons, squirrels, or other rodents get inside and stain or tear up carpet or hardwood, insurance will pay to repair or replace flooring.
If animals chew through drywall or insulation, insurers will cover holes and damage.
Gnaw marks from squirrels or mice are covered to repair or replace damaged furniture.
While homeowners policies provide broad protection for animal damage, there are a few exclusions to be aware of:
The cost of trapping, removing, or exterminating nuisance animals is not covered. You must pay for pest control yourself.
Damage to lawns, trees, shrubs, or gardens from deer, rabbits, or other culprits is not covered by standard policies.
While the initial hole or damage is covered, insurance does not pay for repairs due to mold or structural damage that occurs over time after the animal intrusion. This is considered maintenance that is the homeowner’s responsibility.
To limit damage and claims, it’s important to proactively pest-proof your home:
Homeowners insurance provides valuable protection if animals or birds invade your home. But it’s always better to prevent damage proactively if you can. With some diligence, you can avoid most unwanted critters and keep your insurance premiums down. If you do suffer damage, be sure to contact your insurance agent right away to file a claim.