Mouse plague not covered by home insurance, with one or two exceptions
We found 3 policies that will cover you if mice cause fire or water damage.
A plague of mice continues to cause havoc across regional New South Wales and Queensland communities, pushing many farmers and local businesses towards bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, most home insurers will not cover damage to crops or houses caused by rodents.
As Finder insurance specialist Taylor Blackburn said, "Providers generally see insects, vermin or rodents as a preventable problem that's related to the general upkeep of the home."
"While the current situation in New South Wales and Queensland is unprecedented, not to mention heart breaking for those involved, it doesn't change the way insurers cover rodent damage. In other words, it's still the homeowner's responsibility to fork out for the damage, not the insurer."
Fewer than 1 in 5 insurers we looked at offer any type of rodent cover
However, there are a couple of exceptions. Finder looked at 16 home insurance policies and found 3 that cover you if the damage done by rodents results in a fire or sudden escape of liquid.
"Most home insurance policies won't cover damage caused from rodents chewing through electrical wiring," Blackburn said.
"However, Australia Post, Domain Insure and ANZ will cover you for subsequent damage; for example, if mice chew through a wire that then leads to a fire on your property or causes water from a pipe to flood a part of your home."
The current home insurance inclusions may not be able to help most people with infestations, but it's not unheard of for mice to cause this kind of damage. Just this week, a family in Narrabri in New South Wales lost their home to a fire caused by mice chewing through wiring in the roof.
Fortunately, nobody was injured but the family didn't have home and contents insurance, so they weren't covered for the damage caused by the mice and now face having to pay to rebuild their home from scratch.
|Provider||What their PDS says||Apply|
|There is no cover under any section of your policy for any claim, loss, damage, cost, injury, death or legal liability, that is caused by or arises from:|
insects, vermin or rodents, however, we will cover resultant damage to the extent it's covered under the Insured Events Fire or Escape of water or other liquid;
(For example, we will cover damage caused by fire due to a rat chewing through an electrical wire.)
|Domain Insure||What is not covered?|
Loss or damage caused by:
insects, vermin or rodents, except if they cause damage covered under the listed events of:
|There is no cover under any section of your Policy for any claim, loss, damage, cost, injury, death or legal liability, that is caused by or arises from buildings under construction or undergoing renovations, alterations, additions, or repairs that:|
Sydney residents on alert
At the moment, rural communities in New South Wales and Queensland have been the worst hit, but experts have warned that the plague could spread to Sydney by winter, in part due to the warmer temperatures and abundance of food.
Paul Mangold, pest control expert at Fantastic Pest Control, said that "there's definitely a cause for concern in Sydney, as rodents will be looking for domestic roofs as the regions get colder and colder. Unfortunately mice are renowned for spreading via transport methods too, so trucks coming and going from our farmers to the cities only make the problem worse.
These pests can also get pregnant when they're just six weeks old, and can give birth to up to 10 newborns every 20 days. The best way to protect your homes from mice and other rodents is regular, professional pest control. If you live in a particularly vulnerable area, it's worth coming up with a plan with your pest controller for the use of baits and traps if needed."
Prevention is also key when it comes to rodents, said Finder's Blackburn. "Old-fashioned snap traps and seal and glue traps can catch mice and rats with the help of different types of attractant – you can use things like peanut butter, or apples."
If the mouse plague does spread to urban areas as some have predicted, now is a good time for Australians to take a look at their home and contents insurance policies and see exactly what's included. Concerningly, a Finder survey of 582 home insurance customers found that more than a quarter (26%) of home insurance customers don't know what their policy includes.
Those who aren't covered for fire or water damage caused by mice should consider switching to a different policy. It might not cover all rodent damage but it can still protect you if something more serious occurs.
Compare your options for free on Finder and you could save up to $1,653 per year by switching home insurance.