Rodent Damage
One of the worst parts of having a rodent infestation in your home is the literal damage that they will cause to your property. Not only do these furry squatters make a mess, but they cause legitimately hazardous damage to the structure of your house.

Some of the most common types of damage you will encounter from rodents include:
  • Chewing on wires, causing a risk of fire
  • Gnawing on wooden beams in the attic
  • Destroying pipes and causing water damage
  • Destroying insulation, making it less effective in your home
If you suspect that you have a rodent infestation these are the main issues to be looking for. Before you take any further precautions for keeping rodents out, you are going to have to deal with these issues. Take a look through your basement and attic to look for any chewed wires, pipes, or wooden beams.

If you find serious damage in any of these areas, you are going to need to deal with this symptom before you can deal with the cause most of the time. The risk of a house fire or water damage is incredibly high. Further, you are likely going to be best off contacting an electrician, plumber, or contractor for any of this type of serious damage.

Rodents and wires: A deadly combination

You may find yourself thinking, “I can understand a rodent chewing wood and pipes to get to the water, but why would they chew on wires? Wouldn’t they just be electrocuted?” That’s a valid question if you are unfamiliar with the habits and lifestyles of rodents.

If a wire happens to be close to a nest where rodents are living, that wire will be chewed. Rodents like to make nests in places that are warm and dry, and in most houses, wires are found in warm and dry areas. This makes for wires to be targeted for chewing, as they are in the way of the rodent’s nesting area.

As for why rodents don’t get electrocuted, it is mainly because they do not chew on more than one wire at a time. That means there is no grounded connection that would cause electrocution. That said, if a rodent is standing on some type of conductive surface, they will certainly be electrocuted and could even cause a fire right then and there.

Knowing why rodents chew on wires can help determine where to set traps and keep them at bay. Chewed wires can be an expensive fix, so keep this in mind when dealing with a rodent problem.

Will this be covered by my insurance?

So, you have found rodent damage and are ready to get it fixed. You decide to call up the company you have a home insurance policy with to find out how you can solve this issue. You explain the situation and end up hearing the following phrase:

“I’m sorry but rodent damage is not covered under your policy.”

Infestations by rodents are usually considered to be issues involving your home maintenance and most policies leave the onus of situations like this on the homeowner to conduct repairs. Luckily, there are services that do this for you, so you don’t have to deal with this burden alone.

Now, there are situations in which a rodent infestation could lead to a payout from your home insurance policy. For example, should an infestation lead to damage to your home wiring that leads to a fire, most policies will payout. This is because fires are considered a peril in most home insurance policies.

There are, however, exceptions in some home insurance policies and it is important to get in contact with your insurer to discuss what specific protections and circumstances are in place for your specific plan.

How to prevent rodents from entering in the first place

So, now we know that insurance just will not be any help through this difficult experience. While you will have to pay a fair amount of money out of pocket to repair the damage caused by rodents, you should also do yourself a favor and spend a bit of money on preventing any further infestations in the future.

There are no 100% certain ways to keep rodents out of your home, but there are a number of steps that you can take to make your home as rodent-proof as possible.

To begin to secure the home you can:

Seal any holes that could lead outside of your home. This includes even small holes that you may not think a rodent can fit through. For example, a full-size rat is able to get through a hole as small as a quarter. The best material to seal your attic with is some form of galvanized steel mesh.
Outside, you should keep vegetation trimmed back and away from the walls of your house. Rodents are able to climb ivies and trees to find their way into your house.
  • Keep firewood away from the walls of your house.
  • All garbage containers inside and outside of your house should be tightly sealed.
  • Keep your food stored in airtight containers.
  • Make sure there is no pooling water or dripping water inside or around your house.
  • If possible, attempt to eliminate any clutter from your residence.
  • Place steel screens over roof vents and make sure you have a secure chimney cap.
  • Always shut doors when exiting your house.
  • Ensure that all of your window screens are in good condition.
Use caulking to seal any edges that could be allowing air to escape from your home. Rodents can smell the air leaving your house and be attracted to the smells that it carries.

In the case that rodents still find a way to enter and damage your home, it is also useful to know how to get rid of them. There are many online resources, such as pest control specialists that provide a lot of information on how to safely remove rodents.

If you take the time to rodent-proof your home using these steps you will mitigate the risk of having to deal with serious issues like needing to have the wiring fixed in your home. The cost of doing this may be steep, but it is certainly less inconvenient than losing your home to a fire.