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Does car insurance cover rodent damage?

Your policy will pay out, but only if you buy this optional coverage.

Rodents can cause a great deal of car damage by chewing through wires or nesting in the engine. But if you keep extra physical damage protection on your car, you can rest easy knowing your car insurance likely covers the damage. For recurring visitors, keep critters out of your car by storing it in a drum-tight garage and driving regularly.

Is rodent damage covered by car insurance?

Yes, many car insurance companies cover rodent and other animal damage under comprehensive coverage. However, comprehensive is optional if you own your car outright, so you’ll need to add this coverage to be protected.

For drivers with a car loan or lease, your contract will require you to get comprehensive, which means you should have coverage. If you didn’t opt for this add-on, you’ll be out that money from your own bank account.

What kind of rodent damage is covered by car insurance?

Damage often happens when rodents chew through your car’s wiring or leave nests and food in the engine. However, your insurer may cover other types of damage too. Specific situations may vary by provider, but examples include:

  • Mice chewing through wires or other components
  • Rats breaking or cracking glass or mirrors
  • Hitting a large rodent and popping a tire
  • Squirrels dropping objects and denting your car

What’s not covered?

Having the right coverage means your car can get the repairs it needs after damage from small animals. But your insurance may not cover everything involved with your rodent problem.

  • Personal belongings. If rodents get inside your car and chew up personal items like electronics or jewelry, these won’t be covered unless you have personal contents car insurance coverage through your car or homeowners insurance.
  • Rodent damage to your garage or home. It’s unlikely that your homeowners insurance covers damage to your home, such as chewing on cupboards or electrical wiring in the garage.
  • Cleaning services. Rodents could leave your car in need of a deep clean, which you’ll have to pay from your own funds.
  • Rodent retrieval. Rodents might set up camp inside your car if it’s parked for a while, requiring animal control to remove it.

What should I do if rodents damage my car?

After finding out that a rodent ravaged or dented your ride, you may decide to file a claim for your car. When doing so, it’s important to gather all the facts and details so that you can decide how to move forward.

  1. Inspect your car. Look for all rodent damage incurred both under the hood and inside the car. Damage to wiring, seats, electronics and glass are all possible here.
  2. Document the damage. Take photos as soon as possible to prove your claim.
  3. File a comprehensive claim. Report the rodent damage to your insurance provider with as many details as you can.
  4. Get a repair estimate. Consider getting an estimate before filing a claim so that you know if repairs cost more than your deductible. If not, you could avoid a claim on your insurance.
  5. Receive payment for rodent damage. You may receive a payment in the mail or paid directly to your mechanic if you file a rodent damage claim.

How to file a claim for rodent damage

You might want to report damage as soon as you know about it for a quick, smooth claims process. Your insurer might need several days or weeks to settle your claim, but filing only takes a few simple steps:

  1. Enter details about the rodent damage in an online claim or relate them to an agent or representative.
  2. Send photos, damage estimates and other necessary documents to your insurance company.
  3. Allow one to two business days to speak with an adjuster.
  4. The adjuster may need further information or need to schedule an in-person visit to assess the damage, even if you already have estimates.
  5. Agree to an offer from your insurer to settle your claim, sign the paperwork and receive your payment.

Costs to repair animal damage out of pocket

Repair costs can differ widely based on what part of the car the animal damaged and how severe it is.

For example, dents, dings or new paint jobs might cost between $60 and $300. However, rewiring an entire car due to chewed wires could cost $1,200 to $1,500.

In addition, replacing glass could cost you up to $2,000, depending on your car model. If the damage doesn’t require a full replacement for glass or wiring, repairs may cost less.

How to prevent rodent damage to your car

If you’re dealing with a recurring rodent problem or live in a rural area, you can take multiple steps to protect your vehicle.

  • Garage your car. Tucking your car away in an enclosed space lowers the chance of rodents bedding down inside your car for the night.
  • Tidy up food sources. Since animals are attracted to things they can eat, store snacks, trash, dog food and other food away from your car or in a sealed, airtight container.
  • Take less-used vehicles for a spin. Unused cars welcome new inhabitants as a permanent home, but driving regularly can discourage this from happening.
  • Stay away from rodent-friendly areas. When possible, park your car away from thick wooded or grassy areas, which might attract rodents.
  • Set up traps. For recurring visitors, consider humane traps to catch the animal or barriers prevent them from getting to your engine, such as a wire mesh.
  • Use special tape. To protect your car’s electrical system, you could try wrapping the wires in a foul-tasting tape as a deterrent.
  • Call animal control. You might get the professionals to take care of the animal if you know the same rodent keeps coming back to your car, like a neighborhood raccoon.

Bottom line

Rodents can cause expensive damage to your car, depending on where the damage happened. However, comprehensive could save you from paying for these repairs yourself. Shop several insurers to find the best protection and value possible for comprehensive coverage.

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