How To Know If Your Homeowner Insurance Will Cover Pest Control

You venture out on your deck to have your morning coffee only to see a hole-ridden warped board, one of the tell-tale signs that you might have termites lurking within your home. Your first thought may be to call your insurance agent, because pest control for mice, rats, termites, ants, and other animals or insects is covered under your homeowner insurance, right? Well, actually, in most cases, the answer is no. But what about the damage from said pest? The answer can be complicated depending on the pest in question, the damage, and your coverage. You will have to look at your policy and the situation to determine if your insurer will cover pest damage.

Homeowners spend an annual average of $1,915 on home insurance for $300,000 of dwelling and liability coverage with a $1,000 deductible in the United States, according to 2024 reports from NerdWallet. Homeowner insurance guards your home against loss and damage from covered perils such as vandalism, theft, fire, lightning strike, and other disasters depending on your particular policy. It also usually covers the home's contents, such as your personal belongings, electronics, and structures such as garages. When it comes to pests though, most insurance companies name pests as an exclusion in the policy paperwork, meaning they're not covered. 

Why most insurers don't cover pest control

The standard homeowner insurance policy is an HO-3. Again, the policy applies to covered perils and not for damage that occurs from general use of the home, also known as wear and tear. Pests are one of the common damages not covered by homeowner insurance because pests are a preventable event. Insurance companies expect you to perform regular maintenance to keep your home safe and in good condition. If you spot rodents or other pests in your home, you could take reasonable actions to keep them from damaging your property, such as closing off possible entry points and putting down traps to prevent infestation and damage.

You may be wondering if it's possible to get insurance for pest control. Well, in most cases, the answer is no. Insurance companies typically offer some policy add-ons known as endorsements or riders for other disasters not covered under an HO-3. For instance, while insurers don't cover floods and earthquakes, you may be able to add an endorsement for them to your policy. Unfortunately, insurers don't offer pest control endorsements as they don't consider pests or their damage to be a risk that requires insurance coverage. However, there may be certain cases where insurers will cover the damage caused by pests.

When will homeowner insurance cover pest damage?

An insurer may cover the resulting damage from a pest after a covered peril. For example, if mice came into your home after a hurricane or storm, this may be covered, since the storm wasn't preventable. During the claims process, an insurance adjuster will determine whether the damage was avoidable, looking at all the factors. If the pest was a direct cause of damage, then the insurance company likely won't cover it. However, they might if the pest causes damage that's covered under your plan. To provide another example, if a mouse came into your home and chewed through some of the wires in your attic and caused a fire, the resulting damage might be covered, as fire is a covered peril. The same can apply to a home collapse that began with a hidden termite infestation without prior visible damage. In both scenarios, adjusters will look at whether you had previous knowledge of the infestations to determine how much to cover. 

Navigating through homeowner insurance can be tricky. Bottom line, don't anticipate you can make a claim for some unwelcome rodent or insect occupants and expect your insurer to pay for extermination costs. Instead, do your due diligence, such as paying for an annual pest control contract, to minimize the damage you'll incur.