Skip to Main Content

Does home insurance cover rat damage?

exterminator prepping rat trap
Sebastian Ramirez Morales/Getty Images
Bankrate Logo

Why you can trust Bankrate

While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . This content is powered by HomeInsurance.com (NPN: 8781838). For more information, please see our

If you have a homeowners insurance policy, you may have noticed that it can be difficult to know exactly what your policy covers. As such, you may have wondered: is rodent damage covered by homeowners insurance? The short answer is no, rat or rodent damage is not covered by insurance.

That’s because your home insurance will not typically cover any damage caused by rodents, as insurance companies consider rodent infestation to be a preventable issue. However, there are exceptions. In a few specific instances, which are outlined in this article, your home insurance may cover damage caused by rodents.

Lightbulb
Key takeaways
  • Standard home insurance policies typically do not cover damage caused by rats or rodents, because rodent infestation is seen as preventable.
  • Damage caused by rodents may be covered in specific scenarios. For instance, if a rat chewed through a pipe and caused water damage, your insurance may pay out for the claim, since the damage was caused by the water.
  • Home insurance likely will not pay out to cover extermination services.

Is rodent damage covered by homeowners insurance?

You may be wondering: is rodent damage covered by homeowners insurance? Or does home insurance cover mice damage? Rodent damage is typically not covered by your home insurance policy, and that includes damage caused by mice. But why isn’t it covered? Home insurance companies see rodent infestation as a “preventable loss,” or an issue that could be avoided with proper maintenance.

With standard inspections and preventative measures, you can typically prevent rodents from entering your house and causing damage, which is why this type of damage is typically excluded from coverage. Similarly, home insurance companies won’t typically cover damage caused by insect infestations, like termites or ants. Since these infestations are seen as preventable, with neglect or maintenance is typically the reason for infestation, and, as such, home insurance usually won’t cover the cost of pest extermination, either.

A standard home insurance policy typically covers your dwelling, other structures, personal property, liability and additional living expenses. If you’re unsure what exactly falls into these categories, it may be helpful to discuss your policy’s exact bounds and limits with your insurance agent.

Common damage caused by rats and other rodents

Rodents and rats can cause extensive damage to your dwelling. Rodent teeth are harder than copper, iron, aluminum and lead, which allows them to chew through metal, PVC pipes, drywall, rock, aluminum siding, glass, cinder blocks, wood, plastic containers and many other household materials. If a rodent enters your home, you may have to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to rectify any damage done to your walls, wires or pipes.

After the cost of physical damage, you may want to factor in extermination, which typically costs between $172 and $536, according to HomeAdvisor.

When does homeowners insurance cover rat or rodent damage?

Does homeowners insurance cover rodent damage? It typically does not. However, your homeowners insurance may cover rodent damage in specified cases. For instance, if a rodent chews through an outdoor pipe which subsequently causes water damage, your home insurance may cover the damage. This loss may be covered since the rat wasn’t living in your home, and since water damage from a burst pipe is typically covered under standard home insurance policies. Or, if a rodent were to chew through wires on your property and create a house fire, your insurance may pay out to cover it, since the fire, not the rat, caused the damage to your home.

How to prevent rat or rodent damage to your home

Rodents can cause significant damage, but you don’t have to live in fear of an infestation. These concrete, proactive measures may help you prevent rodents from damaging your home.

  1. Eliminate points of entry. Rats can fit through holes as small as a quarter and mice can fit through holes as small as a dime, so you may want to seal off any openings in the exterior of your home – no matter how small.
  2. Find them before they cause damage. Look for the following signs of rodents, so that you can call an exterminator before your home is damaged: odor, noises, urine stains, grease marks, burrows, gnawing damage or droppings.
  3. Set traps: Traps can help catch and kill any rodents that invade your home. Humane traps are also available, which catch rats and hold them until you release the animal.
  4. Keep food in sealed containers: Exposed food may attract rats and other rodents. Putting food away, cleaning surfaces and placing cereal boxes inside of tough plastic bins may act as deterrents.

If you do find rats in your home, calling a professional exterminator will likely be the best way to remove the rodents from your dwelling.

Frequently asked questions

Is raccoon damage covered by home insurance?

Standard home insurance policies typically include coverage for damage caused by wild animals, like bears or deer, but may not cover raccoon damage. Imagine if a bear crashes through your glass patio door and causes damage to the structure, like the door or floors and personal property. In these cases, you’d likely be covered. The distinction comes in classification because policies typically list exclusions for “insects, pests, rodents, and vermin,” so raccoons may be handled differently than wild animals. A claims adjuster or insurance agent can help you figure out whether or not raccoon damage is covered, depending on the situation.

Do rodents pose any risks to my family?

According to the CDC, rodents can transmit diseases to humans, both directly and indirectly. These animals can carry plague, salmonellosis, rat-bite fever, Lyme disease, murine typhus, West Nile virus and more. To keep yourself and your family safe, you may want to keep your home sealed and clean, and call a professional at any sign of an infestation.

Does home insurance cover my dog?

Standard home insurance policies may cover liability from any damage that your dog causes to a guest on your property. However, certain breeds may be excluded from this coverage and you may be required to disclose the dog breed and behavior history when you get your policy in order to have coverage. Your home policy will not cover medical bills associated with your dog. For this type of coverage, you’d have to purchase pet insurance. To find out what your home policy covers when it comes to your dog, you may want to talk to your insurance agent.

Written by
Lizzie Nealon
Insurance Writer
Lizzie Nealon is a former insurance writer for Bankrate. Her favorite part of the job is making home, auto and life insurance digestible for readers so they can prepare for the future.
Edited by
Insurance Editor