The periodic cicadas are due to emerge—good thing that cicadas do not bite or sting and are benign to humans. Their acoustical talents will give you notice that they are near, but don’t worry, they aren’t going to invade your home. There are many other pests that can infest your home silently and cause lots of damage. Your homeowner insurance policy will not cover loss caused by birds, rodents, insects, domestic animals and other vermin. Insurance companies consider that type of damage a maintenance problem and not a covered loss.
But there are situations in which a policy will cover damage involving animals. If a rodent causes a fire by chewing electrical wires, the fire damage is covered—too bad for the rodent. The collapse of a home is covered if “hidden” insect or vermin damage caused it. The damage from a collapse would be covered, but not the actual damage to what caused it. For example, if termites infest a support beam under a home and the home collapses, the cost to replace the beam would not be covered, but the damage to the walls, floors, etc. would be. The “hidden” part is what gives coverage for this so you need to know what to do to keep pests from doing their damage. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a Citizen’s Guide to Pest Control which can be found on their website—www.epa.gov.
Here are a few pest prevention tips:
- Remove piles of wood from under or around your home to avoid attracting termites and carpenter ants.
- Destroy diseased plans and fallen fruit that might harbor pests.
- Do not let litter or garbage accumulate.
- Caulk openings in walls.
- Remove tree branches that touch your home.
- Keep vegetation, trees shrubs and wood mulch at least 18 inches from the house.
Collapse is also covered if it is by weight of people, animals, equipment or contents and weight of rain or snow which collects on a roof. I wonder how many people it would take to collapse a house. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the second definition of vermin is “an offensive person,” maybe your insurance company knows more than you think about losses caused by pests and vermin… TPW