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Does Insurance Cover Rodent Damage?

Believe it or not, squirrels, mice, rats and other rodents are attracted to your car. They may seek shelter near the engine for warmth. They may also chew the wires. If you have comprehensive car insurance, any rodent damage that occurs inside your vehicle will be covered. Without comprehensive insurance, you will have to pay for the damage out-of-pocket.

Why Do Rodents Eat Car Wires?

The reason rodents eat car wires is because their teeth never stop growing. They chew on wire insulation, hoses and belts to trim their teeth. This is similar to dog nails and cat claws that can cause severe damage and pain if left unclipped. There is a myth that rodents like the taste of wires, but most pest control companies maintain that it's more likely that wires are convenient and easily accessible.

If you notice signs of rodent damage, it's important to act ASAP to protect your car and get rid of the infestation. Chewed car wires should be treated seriously and require professional repair.

How Does Auto Insurance Cover Rodent Damage?

Comprehensive insurance covers the cost of repairs for non-collision-related events, like rodent damage. Your insurer will generally request photos and proof of the damage when filing a claim. No matter where you live, rodents and furry pests will always be seeking shelter in your car, RV or truck. Once they settle in, they can cause hundreds of dollars worth of repairs.

Comprehensive insurance can also cover events like:

  • Hail

  • Vandalism

  • Falling objects

  • Theft

  • Hitting an animal

  • Fire

  • Natural disasters

  • Broken windshields

  • Riots

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Rodent Damage to My Car?

Sadly, your homeowners insurance policy would not cover damage to your car, even if your car was parked in your garage or on your driveway when the rodents moved in. Even when rodents create damage to your home by chewing on wiring, your homeowners or renters insurance would not cover the cost of repairs.

How To Tell if a Rodent Has Damaged Your Car

If you keep your car well maintained and know how it normally runs, any unusual signs should immediately notify you of a guest. For example, there may be a strange odor or your "check engine" light may turn on. If the car refuses to start you may have issues with your car's wiring. When you check under the hood, look for evidence of a family of rats, like rat droppings and chewed wires around the engine block. If you know something is wrong with your car, it's good to have a mechanic take a look. Being proactive about any issues with your vehicle could save you hundreds of dollars, since replacing a frayed wire is much more cost-effective than a major repair.

Some issues to look out for when it comes to rodent damage include:

Frayed and chewed wires

Rodents trying to tend to their teeth are especially attracted to the insulated coating on your car's wiring system. They can chew through the protective coating and expose the wires, leading to massive issues.

Shredded car seats

A tell-tale sign of a rodent infestation is shredded seats that show obvious signs of tearing and biting. Rodents like to burrow through any material, especially your soft car seats.

Rodents chew on wire insulation, hoses and belts to trim their teeth, which never stop growing.

Blocked air vents

If you're having issues getting hot or cold air through your vents, having it checked out might protect your car. Rodents tend to like building nests in the air vents by using debris and loose material found in your car.

Rodent droppings

Rodents will urinate and defecate all over, even in their own nest. Not only does this become smelly, but it's also dangerous to inhale. Plus, some rodents can spread salmonellosis and hantavirus to humans. While rodent droppings can be small and easily overlooked, they are an obvious sign that rats have made a home inside your vehicle. Bring your car to an auto repair technician so they can thoroughly inspect and clean it.

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Can Rodents Ruin More Than Car Wiring?

Rodents can chew through the protective wire coating in your electrical system, but they won't stop there. Rodents can ruin your car by chewing their way through hoses, panels and more, creating nests and leaving droppings.

Chewing

As discussed earlier, rodents need to chew on materials to trim and sharpen their teeth. Their incisors never stop growing, and if they don't keep them in check, it could hinder them from being able to eat and survive. As such, they will chew through materials like:

  • Power steering lines

  • Wires

  • Hoses

  • Plastic panels

Nesting

Just like any living creature, rodents like to have a home to shelter them from the elements. Unfortunately, your car is rife with nesting materials, including:

  • Carpet insulation

  • Hood liner insulation

  • Upholstery

You can find nests under the center console, in the engine compartment, behind plastic paneling, and in air conditioner ducts.

Comprehensive insurance covers the cost of repairs for non-collision-related events, like rodent damage.

How To Prevent Rodents From Chewing Car Wires

While comprehensive auto insurance can give you peace of mind knowing your car is protected, it's always good to practice preventive maintenance to avoid the hassle of dealing with rodents, to begin with. There are some ways to ensure that rodents don't cause issues, including:

  • Park your car in your garage: If you have one, it's a good idea to park inside your garage away from pet food, trash bins, birdseed, and any other items that would attract rats or mice.

  • Keep your car clean: Make sure to throw away any food wrappers, trash, and other substances that rodents might snack on. Keeping your car clean not only makes your life easier, but it also makes a rodent infestation less likely

  • Use rodent repellents: If you want to take extra precautions against rodents, you can use rodent repellers like peppermint oil, mothballs, and more.

  • Use your car often: Rodents and pests prefer to nest in small spaces, especially when it's cold outside. Your car hood may look very attractive, especially if it's parked for extended periods of time. Even if you don't need to drive often, it's always a good idea to start your car every few days to keep rodents from entering.

FAQs

Is it common for rodents to eat car wires?

Yes, rodents eat wires, plastic and more. Once in your car, rodents may start eating car wires to help trim their teeth and to use as part of their nest's material.

Why do rats go into car engines?

During the winter, rats may seek heat and shelter: which your car engine easily provides. Rodents may crawl into your car engine to stay warm and start eating the wiring while they nest there.

How to tell if a rodent is in your car

You can check for unwanted guests by looking for a few sure-fire signs, like droppings, bad smells, torn and damaged upholstery, and mechanical and electrical damage.

Are You Covered?

Comprehensive car insurance may cover damage caused by rodents, including chewed and frayed car wires. Not all car policies protect you against rodent damage, so check with your insurance carrier to make sure you're covered. If you're looking for more information about comprehensive auto insurance, SmartFinancial can help by comparing quotes from different car insurance providers so you get the best coverage. Just enter your zip code below and answer a few short questions to view free insurance quotes in your area.

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