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Does Home Insurance Cover Pest Control?

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  • Does Home Insurance Cover Pest Control?

Certain pests and bugs can seriously freak you out. Spiders and snakes are what do it for me. Creepily crawling and slithering all over the place. But then certain pests cause a serious damper on your lifestyle — and can even harm your home insurance.

There’s no worse feeling than finding remnants of termites gnawing through your walls, ants sneaking out of cracks and drains, mice and rats scuttling throughout the night, cockroaches quickly leaving at the sight of man-made light or — maybe even worse — creepy crawling bed bugs creating a stir in your room. Let’s break down how your home insurance policy views pest and vermin damage.

Does Home Insurance Cover Pests or Pest Control?

The majority of home insurance policies (including homeowners, renters, landlord and condo insurance) don’t cover any damage pests cause to your home or belongings, nor will they cover the cost to control or remove those pests from your property or any additional living expenses if you must vacate the premises while they’re being fumigated.

One of the main reasons is because home insurance was designed to cover damage that occurred suddenly and accidentally, and pests usually take time to move in and destroy your stuff instead of showing up one night and causing chaos, as a burglar would.

Does Home Insurance Cover Vermin Damage?

Unfortunately, home insurance doesn’t cover vermin damage either. Damage caused by vermins, like mice and rats, falls under the same category as pests, so your policy typically excludes the damage they cause and the cost to remove them.

Here’s a look at some of the most common pests and vermin that affect homes each year, and their detrimental impact they can have on your home.

1. Termites

Causing more than $5 billion (with a B) in property damage each year, termites are the biggest silent sleeper pests that can have a serious impact on your homeowners insurance policy. Getting rid of termites involves tenting your property and finding a hotel room (or good friend to crash with) for a few days while professionals exterminate them with poisonous gas.

If that doesn’t sound fun, the price tag associated with infestation and removal won’t either. If you catch them early, you’ll likely get away with paying $600 to $1,500 removal fee. But if you procrastinate and let them gnaw at your home’s wood, it could wind up costing you tens of thousands of dollars to repair your home’s structure.

What’s worse is that many homeowners insurance policies don’t cover termite removal or damage from termites, so you may be stuck paying every penny out of your own pocket. Termites can typically be prevented through regular maintenance, so we strongly advise keeping an eye out for them.

2. Mice/Rats

Mice and rats are the defining breeds of rodents that nobody wants to see — let alone see frolicking through their home. It’s estimated that at least 21 million homes in the United States are plagued by mice and rats each year — plus they’re carriers of devastating diseases that could be fatal to humans.

Mice and rats are just a nuisance, they tend to chew through electrical wires in homes — especially during colder months when they’re seeking food and refuge from the outdoors. This act of indecency is estimated to have contributed to nearly 1/4th of all home fires that begin with electrical wiring.

3. Ants

Once they’re in your home, ants — especially carpenter ants — seem to never go away no matter how hard you try to remove them. Ants are pests that are simply annoying, a little creepy and can have a serious effect on the infestation.

Carpenter ants can actually burrow themselves deep into the wood of your home, creating a home and a ton of damage along the way. While it typically takes years for carpenter ants to do serious harm to your home’s infrastructure, they’re tiny and often go undetected, which is just another reason to conduct an annual home inspection.

4. Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are terrible creatures to find in your home, and almost every time bed bugs are a result of someone other than the person who finds them. They come from hotels, used furniture and can travel in small confined spaces back to your home in purses, backpacks or even on your clothes.

The average cost of bed-bug removal depends on how early you spot the infestation. My skin is crawling as I write this, but I don’t have bed bugs. Many people don’t find out they have bed bugs until it’s far too late, you need to spend $10,000 on removal and $3,000 on new furniture and your home insurance company is telling you it’s not covered.

5. Cockroaches

Although cockroaches don’t directly create damage to homes, they can be used as a sign of a home’s cleanliness. Homes with cockroaches are likely to have other problems — like food waste issues, rotting wood and even mold.

Cockroaches are attracted to subpar living conditions, so keeping a clean home typically leads to fewer cockroaches, which then leads to fewer issues you may have with your home.

Conduct a Home Inspection

Conducting a home inspection every year is the best way to find pests and vermins inside your home and stop the problem before it’s too late. Hiring a professional to do the home inspection can save you a ton of money and more hassle than it’s worth dealing with the long-term problem.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.