IS ANIMAL REMOVAL COVERED BY HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE?
I hear a lot of questions from customers about insurance coverage. Homeowners with wildlife problems are often unsure if our services are covered.
The short answer is: often yes, sometimes no.
Here are the biggest questions we hear about dealing with insurance companies:
Do I have to use my insurance company’s preferred provider?
No! Your insurance company will probably suggest a company to remove the animals, but you can choose the company that is best for you. You want someone that you trust will do the work right.
What animal problems are covered by home insurance?
Individual policies vary, so you should always check your specific policy.
In my experience, damage caused by mammals (including raccoons, opossums, and bats) is usually covered. However, homeowner coverage usually excludes “vermin,” which includes infestations of squirrels, mice, and rats.
Is the removal of racoons covered by home insurance?
If you’re looking for reimbursement aner a raccoon problem, insurance companies might reject your claim at first. Sometimes, homeowners are initially denied coverage because the raccoons were misidentified as “vermin” or “household pests.” In my experience, this is incorrect. Even if your policy excludes damage from rodents, removal of raccoons could qualify for coverage. I take the position that raccoons are not rodents or vermin!
I called my insurance company, but they said I’m not covered. What should I do?
Don’t give up yet!
Ask for a written rejection notice so that you have the specific reason your claim was denied.
Sometimes, insurance companies will misidentify your animal problems as a “vermin infestation” or “household pests.” Problems with critters like raccoons or bats are often miscategorized this way. If this is the case, its important to make your case to the insurance company. We encounter these problems all the time, and are always happy to help advocate for homeowners with insurance companies. There’s a good chance the damage is covered, so it’s always worth a little persistence. I’ve seen many insurance companies revise their stance and approve the claim when the homeowner discusses the situation with their agent. Don’t give up—your home and your safety are worth it!
Is attic cleanup and decontamination covered by insurance?
If you’ve had bats, raccoons, or other critters take up residence in your attic, you know that they can leave lots of damage behind. The job goes way past simply removing the animals. Your home isn’t back to normal until cleanup, decontamination, odor removal, damage repair, insulation replacement, and restoration have all been completed.
Every policy is different, but many insurance policies do cover attic cleanup and repair. I recommend calling your insurance agent at the beginning of the project to ask for a claim number. This is a good way to stay ahead of potential issues.
What can I do to make sure my claim is accepted?
I’ve noticed some things over the years that help homeowners deal with their insurance companies.
If your claim has been rejected, make sure you get the reason in writing. Sometimes, in the process of creating a written rejection, the agent will actually discover that you’re covered after all.
Most importantly, don’t wait on the insurance company. Putting off dealing with an animal problem will only make matters worse. Your insurance company shouldn’t dictate who you hire, wrongfully deny coverage, or delay getting your home back to normal.
Questions about getting animal removal covered by insurance? Need to schedule an inspection? Get in touch with us at 440-236-8114.