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Does homeowners insurance cover rodent damage? 

Do you have a problem with rodents like rats and mice in your home? See how home insurance deals with it.

Unfortunately, home insurance doesn't typically cover rodent damage. Rodent damage, like termite damage, is commonly an exclusion in most Australian home insurance policies.

But here's how we can help.

This guide covers why insurers won't cover things like rodent damage, how to get rid of rats and some ways you can prevent an infestation.

Why doesn't home insurance cover rodent damage?

You might wonder why a home insurance policy won't usually cover rodent damage, given it covers so many other things. Here are some of the reasons a home insurance policy won't cover rodent damage:

  • Insurers generally distinguish between damage that was preventable and foreseeable and damage that was unpreventable and unforeseeable.
  • There are plenty of preventive measures a homeowner can take to keep rodents away.
  • There are also lots of things a homeowner can do to deal with a rodent problem when it appears – and before it turns into a damaging infestation.

Insurers generally see rodents as a preventable problem that's related to the general upkeep of the home. In other words, it's the homeowner's responsibility, not theirs.

What do the home insurance companies say?

We looked at five major Australian home insurance providers. Here's what their product disclosure statements (PDS) say.

BrandPDS wording
Budget Direct LogoWe will not cover loss or damage caused by termites and other insects, birds, lizards, rodents or vermin.
Westpac logoYour policy does not cover any loss or damage that is caused by or arises from:
• vermin, insects or pests, or
• animals or birds biting, chewing or scratching.
Youi logoWe will not pay for:

… loss or damage, other than relating to fire, caused by household pets or any animal, bird, insect or vermin;

Everyday InsuranceYou are not covered for any loss or damage caused by or resulting from, or the costs incurred from or of:

… insects (including termites), birds, wildlife or vermin.

Picture not describedWe will not pay for any loss or damage which is caused directly or indirectly by:

… vermin, birds or insects.

What's the best way to get rid of rats?

Prevention is better than a cure where rodents are concerned, but if you do end up with a rat infestation, it is possible to bring it under control.

If you think you have a rat problem, you should act quickly because a small issue can quickly snowball into a big one.

You'll often need to take a trial-and-error approach to see what works best, but the two main ways to get rid of a rodent once and for all are trapping and baiting:

one

Old-fashioned snap traps and seal and glue traps can catch mice and rats with the help of different types of attractant – some people swear by peanut butter, others by apple. Trapdoor-style models are an option for those who don't want to kill the animals.

two

Baits are a last-resort option and use powerful rodenticides. They can be a hazard to pets and children and can also harm the environment (e.g. if the poison ends up affecting animals other than the ones you're targeting). You should never use baits inside the house, and if you're going to use them outside, make sure you read the directions carefully.

If the problem still won't go away, it's time to call in a licensed pest professional. Let them know about any animal welfare or environmental concerns you have, so they can factor those into the plan of attack.

How do I prevent a rodent infestation?

Rats and mice look for three things in our homes: food, water and shelter. If you do your best to take those away, you'll go a long way to stopping rodent problems before they happen.

Like with termites, it's better to be proactive than reactive. Here are some tips:

Seal any gaps and holes in the building that rodents could get through.

A mouse or rat can get through even a tiny opening. To seal up holes, you can use a combination of steel wool and caulking agent, cement, hardware cloth, metal sheeting or another method. In houses, holes often show up in the following areas:

  • In attics
  • Behind ovens, fridges, cupboards and cabinets
  • In flooring corners
  • Under sinks and dishwashers

On building exteriors, check the following:

  • Around any holes made for gas, electrical and plumbing fittings
  • Near siding and roofing joints
  • Around vent and chimney openings

Keep a decent gap between vegetation and your house.

Rodents are good climbers and jumpers.

Practise good hygiene around the home and especially in the kitchen:

  • Clean up spilt food quickly.
  • Keep non-refrigerated food in sealable plastic or metal containers.
  • Don't leave unwashed dishes lying around.
  • Don't keep garbage bags in the house for long.
  • Wipe down countertops and tables regularly.
  • Keep rubbish bins sealed.
  • Keep pet bowls clean and free of leftovers, and keep animal food (dog food, birdseed, chook feed, etc) in sealed containers.

Keep your compost bins or compost heap a good distance from the house.

Don't put meat in the compost, and when you add scraps to a heap, turn the pile so the new scraps are covered.

Don't leave piles of garden waste lying around in the garden, and keep woodpiles off the ground.

These are potential nesting sites for rodents. Also, if you have fruit trees in the garden, don't leave dropped fruit on the ground for long and prune at the end of the season. Putting steel sheeting around the trunk can be a good way to stop rodents from pinching the growing fruit.

Is it time to switch home insurance?

While home insurance can't usually help with rodent problems, it's always a good idea to check on your current policy now and then just to make sure you're still getting the best deal. Compare your options below and get a quote from some popular Australian home insurers.

Name Product Finder Rating
Finder AwardBonus
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
4.5/5★★★★★
Our verdict: The most popular insurer on Finder, Budget Direct prioritises low-cost cover and gives you up to 30% off your first year for new combined policies purchased online. This is a big reason it won this year’s Finder Award for value.
Youi Building and Contents Insurance
4.5/5★★★★★
Best Rated Brand
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
4.5/5★★★★★
Our verdict: Finder’s 2022 Insurer of the Year for Customer Satisfaction and our Top Pick for Fire Damage cover. It’s good if you want a tailored quote over the phone.
QBE Home & Contents Insurance
3.5/5★★★★★
Green CompanyBonus
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
3.5/5★★★★★
Our verdict: Finder's Top Pick for Floods plus cover for other common claims such as fire and theft). Its discount is better than most – 20% off your first year with a combined policy.
Honey Home & Contents Insurance
4.5/5★★★★★
Finder AwardBonus
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
4.5/5★★★★★
Our verdict: Honey gives you $250 smart sensors to reduce accidents and estimates your rebuild costs for you. Honey was a finalist for the comprehensive category in this year’s Finder Awards.
Bonus
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
3/5★★★★★
Our verdict: Get up to 20% off when you buy a combined home and contents policy. Terms, conditions, underwriting criteria and minimum premiums apply, which may reduce discount. Make sure your rebuild costs are accurate though – Australian Seniors don’t do underinsurance cover.
Kogan Home & Contents Insurance
3/5★★★★★
Bonus
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
3/5★★★★★
Our verdict: Good comprehensive cover (issued by QBE). Also, get 22% off on your first year's premium when you purchase a new combined Home & Contents insurance policy online + $10 monthly credit. T&Cs apply.
Qantas Home and Contents Insurance
4.5/5★★★★★
BonusFinder Award Finalist
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
4.5/5★★★★★
Our verdict: Earn up to 30,000 Qantas Points with every Qantas Home Insurance policy you take out by 7 February. T&Cs and exclusions apply.
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