Does Renters Insurance Cover Rodent Damage?

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  • Does Renters Insurance Cover Rodent Damage?

Rodents can become a huge problem, especially when they weasel their way into the home you’re renting. Or worse, you find they’ve torn up your precious personal belongings. If rodents pop up in your home, who’s responsible?

Will your renters insurance policy help you? Let’s take a look at a few different scenarios and try to pinpoint the fault to you or your landlord.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Rodent Damage?

Unfortunately, renters insurance rarely ever covers rodent damage. In the eyes of your insurer, rodents are caused by a lack of upkeep and general negligence on either the landlord or policyholder’s behalf. This typically applies to both rodents and pests.

Renters insurance coverage only applies to a number of covered perils that are all considered to have occurred suddenly and unexpectedly. In the case of rodent damage, there were likely some outliers that drew them into your home, some clues they were in the home that you may have overlooked, and a fair share of damage that could’ve been mitigated before they were eventually terminated.

However, since renters don’t own the property they live in, it’s their landlord that typically gets the short end of the stick when dealing with said damage. Rodents usually tear through walls and carpeting before making their way to your personal belongings like clothes and electronics.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Mouse Damage?

Mouse damage or rat damage are never covered by renters insurance because both instances are deemed to be preventable. There are preventative measures you can take to deter mice and rats from entering your home, and the damage they cause isn’t considered to be sudden and accidental.

Mice and rats are the most common rodents that make their way into homes. For those living in the country, field mice can become a huge problem. For those living in bigger cities, the bigger and more aggressive rats are a problem.

But since infestations from rodents and vermin are likely to be known by either the landlord or renter, the damage they cause is rarely ever covered. If you suspect a problem, you need to notify your landlord as soon as possible. This will help mitigate any further damage to your belongings and their property. But are they ultimately responsible since it’s their property? Let’s take a look.

Is My Landlord Responsible for Rats or Mice?

This is a tricky question with an even trickier answer. Just because your landlord owns the property doesn’t necessarily mean they’re responsible to pay for the damages caused by rodents. At the end of the day, you’re the one living in the home, and you’re responsible for caring for the property.

While your landlord will definitely be responsible for repairing any rodent damage to their property, they’re not liable for the damage to your belongings. Therefore, they’re not responsible for repairing or replacing any of your belongings.

However, your landlord may be responsible for exterminating the rodents or vermins from the property. As in they’d pay and you wouldn’t be financially responsible. But this is where things can get a bit hairy. Many states don’t explicitly state the landlord is responsible for rodent or pest control. They may be able to let the issue go until you cough up the money or move out.

But your landlord is responsible for providing a livable home at all times. So a mass infestation could qualify for an unlivable situation. Unless that rodent is a bed bug. That’s a whole different story.

What About Bed Bugs?

Unless bed bugs were spotted prior to you moving in, you’re solely responsible for getting rid of them and repairing or replacing any of your belongings that may have been infested. Renters insurance will not cover bed bugs under any circumstance.

What’s even worse is if you, or a guest of yours, introduces bed bugs into a fully furnished apartment — whether it’s a long-term or short-term rental. You could be held financially responsible for ensuring the home is devoid of bed bugs, and you could even be held responsible for replacing any furnishings your landlord provided and were affected.

Why Are Rodents Usually Excluded From Coverage?

Rodents are excluded from coverage for similar reasons as mold and pet damage are excluded. The damage that occurred likely could’ve been avoided, and it’s certainly not sudden and unexpected in the eyes of insurers.

Protect Your Belongings With Renters Insurance

Averaging just $12 per month, renters insurance can protect your belongings for the cost of a few cups of coffee.

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

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