Does home insurance cover damage from mice?

Reviewed by Rena Novotny

It’s just a harmless little mouse. Or is it?

When mice get into your house, they can cause substantial damage. Mice can chew up insulation and wiring, creating fire hazards that can be very expensive to repair. They can also cause significant damage by gnawing on paintings, books, mattresses and documents which may be irreplaceable. They even carry bacteria, viruses and parasites into your home, posing a risk to your family’s health.

If you’re wondering how to handle mouse infestations, you’re not alone. Read on to learn how home insurance treats damage from mice, and how to prevent the little critters from causing problems.

A mice

Does home insurance cover mouse damage or the cost of extermination?

Short answer? No.

Your home insurance policy most likely will not cover damage caused by mice or any other vermin. This is a standard exclusion found in virtually any home insurance policy available in Canada. This means that it’s critically important to take care of mouse problems quickly. It may seem unimportant if they chew through a bag of food, but it’s another thing entirely when they start chewing on the wiring and reproducing in the walls!

Mice reproduce quickly; within three months, six mice can multiply into 60. Keeping that number in mind, it’s easy to imagine just how quickly a single pair of mice can turn into an infestation. If enough mice have taken over your home, professional extermination and mouse-proofing may be necessary to bring the problem under control.

Skunks, squirrels, raccoons, insects, and other vermin

Depending on where you live, there may be any number of other rodents that like to invade homes and rough things up.

Skunks are common in many Canadian cities. They love to burrow underneath houses, porches, or sheds. If they decide to spray around your property, the stench will quickly seep into everything and take forever to get rid of.

Raccoons, too, can be the scourge of homeowners everywhere. Raccoons grab at things, tip over garbage cans, and create mischief and mess in equal measure.

There are plenty of insectoid vermin as well. Termites, ants, cockroaches, and plenty more are quite happy to reside in or around people’s homes.

Just like with mice, home insurance policies in Canada will not cover damage caused by pests of any nature. Nor will they cover the cost of exterminating them or pest-proofing your home. Even comprehensive policies exclude vermin from coverage. For this reason, you need to be proactive when it comes to dealing with mice and other vermin.

Preventing damage from mice

To keep mice and other rodents out of your home, here’s what you should do:

  1. Get rid of any mice you see. If you see a mouse, don’t wait to deal with it. If you notice any signs of mice, like droppings, a foul smell, or chewed-up materials, assume that you’ve got a mouse hiding somewhere. If there’s a mouse in your house, you have essentially two options: baiting or trapping. No matter which type of device you use, place them in areas you’ve observed the rodents or their signs.
  2. Seal holes and cracks. Check doors, windows, and vents all over your home, and seal even the slightest gap that you find. Mice can squeeze through almost unimaginably small openings.
  3. Seal food sources. Keep your food in sealed containers, and keep your pantry tidy. That includes pet food, too; don’t leave bowls of pet food lying around.
  4. Keep things clean. It goes without saying that rodents are attracted to easy food sources. But it goes further: piles of trash or debris—inside or outside—are prime hiding locations for vermin. Keep your whole property tidy to make it harder for mice to sneak around.
  5. Watch your greenery. Shrubs and other plants growing right against your home make it easy for rodents to hide while they’re seeking an entrance to the house. Keep dense plants at least a few feet away from the house. Similarly, keep tall trees pruned back so rodents can’t use them to hop onto the roof.

If you take these steps, hopefully you’ll keep your home mouse-free. However, if you’re getting overrun with mice, rats, or other vermin, don’t hesitate to call a professional—especially for more dangerous animals like skunks or raccoons.

Prevention is best, but it’s important to take care of vermin infestations quickly, before they cause serious damage.

Want to learn more? Visit our Home Insurance Basics resource centre for dozens of helpful articles to guide you through the ins and outs of home insurance. Or, get an online quote in under 5 minutes and find out how affordable personalized home insurance can be.

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