From the claims department FAQ files — what critter damage is covered?

Cooler temperatures mean those critters that have been wandering around the neighborhood are starting to think taking up residence in your house for the winter might be a good idea. Problem is, these freeloaders aren’t paying rent, and they can really do a number on their “living space” in your home.

Homeowners should take a look at their policies to make sure they are covered in the event the above scenario plays out.

Understanding coverage starts with realizing many insurers differentiate critters from vermin/rodents, insects, and birds. For instance, a raccoon is not within the definition of vermin or rodent. So in many policies, damage done by raccoons would be covered. But damage from a squirrel, a member of the rodent family, wouldn’t be covered.

If the responsible culprit isn’t present in the dwelling any longer, a claim representative may contact a pest control professional to help determine what type of creature caused the damage. However, periodically, that fact can’t be ascertained. In those cases, the benefit of the doubt likely will be given to the policyholder and the claim paid.

You can head off such claims or expenses by taking precautions now to lock out unwanted guests. For an article about how to keep your home free of pests this fall and throughout the year, click here.