Does Auto Insurance Cover Rodent Damage?
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If a rodent gets into your vehicle and wreaks havoc, there is a chance your auto insurance will cover some or all of the ensuing costs. However, the specifics of your particular auto insurance policy will dictate whether coverage is applicable to rodent damage. Take a close look at your auto insurance policy, read the small print and you will have a better idea if all or some of the costs related to rodent damage are covered by the policy.
Are rodents chewing wires covered by car insurance? Is vehicle damage caused by rats, mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and other rodents covered by your auto insurance policy? Continue reading below to learn everything about rodent damage and auto insurance.
Parts of Automobiles Rodents Commonly Damage
Rodents like rats and squirrels are eager to convert automobiles into their own shelters, especially during the cold months. Just about every part of the vehicle has the potential to be chewed and ruined by rodents. From the muffler to the interior of the vehicle and even the engine compartment, nearly the entirety of the vehicle is susceptible to rodent damage.
Rodents are a major problem as they chew directly through essential interior paneling, oil filters, air filters, and wiring. Add in the fact that rodents leave particularly nasty odors in the vehicle and it is easy to understand why drivers want to prevent rodent damage at all costs.
Rodents make their way into vehicles by clawing up the tires and moving inward through small gaps within wheel wells. At this point, the rodents can enter the engine compartment and interior of the vehicle with surprising ease. Rodents often chew holes in vehicle materials, moving even deeper into the vehicle, possibly all the way to interior wiring. If rodents chew through wiring, it will make it difficult for the vehicle to start properly. Wiring problems can also lead to misfiring or electrical issues such as flashing lights along the dash or dimming headlights. Furthermore, rodents also have the potential to transport food and bedding to engine ventilation systems, causing overheating that can lead to a fire.
Is Insurance Applicable to Rodent Damage?
Standard auto insurance policies that merely include coverage for liability and accidents with uninsured drivers will not cover damage caused by rodents. Similar to damage resulting from a natural disaster, rodent damage is an expense that is considered to be out-of-pocket. However, those who have comprehensive auto insurance that is applicable to a litany of problems will find their policy probably covers damage caused by rodents. This is precisely why most car dealerships that lease vehicles and lenders who extend financing for vehicle purchases mandate comprehensive insurance until the vehicle is either returned or paid off in full.
Examples of Coverage in Action After Rodent Damage Occurs
Comprehensive coverage covers the cost of replacing or repairing the damage caused by rodents. As an example, damage resulting from a nest and damage from frayed wires will be covered if comprehensive coverage is in place. This is important as there is the potential for rodents to cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. Just be sure to confirm with your auto insurance company that rodent damage is actually covered under your policy. The fine print might state that some forms of rodent damage are not covered or rodent damage is not covered in specific circumstances or in all locations.
Consider a situation in which rodents chew through your vehicle’s wiring, creating $400 of damage. The deductible is $500. Therefore, insurance does not kick in and you have to pay for the repairs out of your own pocket. However, if squirrels wreak absolute havoc on your automobile and the damage is $3,000, comprehensive auto insurance will save you $2,500 after paying your deductible.
Furthermore, rodents are known to damage the same vehicle several times over. If you have comprehensive coverage in place, you will have continued coverage even after the initial damage, ensuring you are provided with compensation to offset the cost of subsequent rodent damage after your deductible is paid.
If You do not Have Comprehensive Coverage, Consider Adding It Now
Drivers who lack comprehensive coverage are vulnerable to hundreds, thousands, or possibly even tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage resulting from rodents. Though comprehensive coverage is required for those who lease a vehicle or obtain a loan to buy a vehicle as noted above, it is not required for those who own their vehicle outright. If you are in a situation where comprehensive auto insurance is an optional addition to your policy and you are even slightly concerned that your vehicle might be damaged by rodents in the future, it is time to take action. Opt for comprehensive coverage that includes coverage for rodent damage and you will rest easy knowing you will not have to pay out of your own pocket to repair or replace vehicle components damaged by rodents.
Though there is certainly the potential for the addition of comprehensive coverage to backfire in the form of an elevated monthly premium that never actually pays to cover damage stemming from rodents, you will enjoy an invaluable peace of mind knowing coverage is applicable in the event that rodents gnaw away at your automobile. In general, you can expect the addition of comprehensive coverage to tack on about 10% more to a simple liability-only auto insurance plan. This minor increase has the potential to pale in comparison to the amount the insurer pays toward repairing or replacing vehicle components damaged by rodents.
What About Homeowners Insurance?
There is a common misconception that homeowners insurance covers damage to vehicles caused by rodents. There is no truth to this rumor. Homeowners insurance does not cover any type of damage to vehicles caused by rodents. Even if the vehicle is parked in an attached garage and rodents damage it, your auto insurance is the only type of insurance that has the potential to prove applicable.
Filing the Claim for Rodent Damage
The first step to filing a claim to cover the expenses resulting from rodent damage to a vehicle is to gauge the type of damage and its extent. If the check engine light is illuminated, there is a chance rodents have gnawed at the electrical wiring. However, you should not simply assume rodents are the cause of the problem in question. Bring your vehicle to a trusted mechanic for an in-depth analysis.
Reach out to your insurance company once you are certain rodents have damaged your vehicle. The adjuster assigned to your claim will provide instructions about how to proceed. Be sure to save all related documentation ranging from pictures of the damage to your vehicle to receipts and beyond so you have a paper trail of the damage itself as well as all related costs. Make a couple of copies of each receipt, photo, and other pieces of evidence just in case the original is lost or damaged. Pay the deductible, provide your auto insurer with the documentation, be patient and your claim should be paid as expected.
Final Word – Will Auto Insurance Cover Rodent Damage?
The typical minimum coverage auto insurance policy will not cover damage caused by rodents like rats, mice, squirrels, and chipmunks. In order for rodent damage to be covered, you will need to have comprehensive coverage on your policy. Comprehensive coverage typically covers non-collision claims including natural disasters, theft, vandalism, falling trees, inclement weather, and damage from animals. Rodent damage is also covered under comprehensive insurance.
To add comprehensive coverage to your existing auto policy or to check if you already have comprehensive coverage that covers rodent damage, please contact your insurer.