Raccoons can cause extensive damage to homes if left unchecked. As nocturnal creatures, raccoons often access attics, roofs, chimneys, and other areas of a home at night to seek shelter. Once inside, they can wreak havoc by tearing up insulation, gnawing on wood and drywall, contaminating surfaces with feces and urine, and more.
So does your homeowners insurance policy cover the costs to repair raccoon damage?
The short answer is yes, a standard homeowners insurance policy will typically cover repairs to your home if raccoons have damaged the roof, attic, walls, or other physical structure. However, your homeowners insurance will not cover the replacement or repair cost for any personal property that the raccoons ruined, like furniture, clothes, or electronics.
Below we will explore in more detail what homeowners insurance does and does not cover for raccoon damage.
What Homeowners Insurance Covers for Raccoon Damage
A homeowners insurance policy has two basic components – property coverage and liability coverage. Property coverage is what applies to repairing physical damage to your home and structures on your property.
For any damage raccoons cause to the physical structure of your home or property, your homeowners insurance property coverage will pay for necessary repairs and reconstruction. This includes:
Roof damage – Raccoons may tear holes in shingles or roof decking, or even pull off large sections of roofing material to access the attic area. Homeowners insurance will pay for roof repairs or full roof replacement if needed.
Attic damage – Once inside the attic, raccoons commonly tear up insulation, chew on rafters and joists, soil surfaces with feces/urine, and make nests out of insulation. Your policy will cover new insulation, sanitizing damaged areas, repairing chewed wood, and cleanup costs.
Wall/siding/soffit damage – Raccoons will sometimes tear holes in exterior walls or fascia boards to gain entry. Your policy covers patching and sealing up holes, repairing fascia and soffits, and replacing damaged siding or trim boards.
Chimney damage – Raccoons may remove bricks or mortar to get into a chimney flue. Insurance will cover chimney repairs like re-pointing brick or sealing up flues.
Porch/deck damage – Raccoons that live under a deck may chew on structural support posts or deck boards. Your policy pays for damaged porch/deck repairs.
Plumbing/wiring damage – If raccoons chew through pipes or electrical wires while nesting in walls or attics, insurance covers repairs.
The key is that standard homeowners insurance property coverage pays for damage to the physical home structure itself – not the contents inside the home. The property section of your policy has stated coverage limits, so be sure to review your policy declarations page.
What Homeowners Insurance Does Not Cover
While your homeowners insurance covers physical repairs to your home from raccoon damage, it does not provide compensation for:
Personal property – Any furniture, electronics, clothing, or other personal belongings that the raccoons soil, tear up, or destroy. For example, they may tear apart couch cushions, urinate on carpets, chew wiring behind your TV, or make nests out of your clothes. You would not be reimbursed for those damaged items.
Self-repair costs – If you repair raccoon damage yourself, the materials and supplies you purchase are generally not covered. Insurance only reimburses contracted repair costs.
Full home fumigation – Insurance may not pay for fumigating your entire home to remove raccoon odors, feces, or urine. Only affected areas would be covered.
Preventative measures – Sealing up entry holes, trapping/removing raccoons, or cleaning surfaces before repairs would not be covered. Insurance only pays for necessary structural repairs.
Tip: If raccoons damaged expensive personal property like furniture, electronics, or appliances – consider submitting those costs to your homeowners insurance under personal property coverage limits. They may cover a small portion.
Also discuss full home fumigation with your insurance provider, as some may cover this given sufficient damage. Get pre-approval first.
Steps to File an Insurance Claim for Raccoon Damage
If you need to file a homeowners insurance claim for raccoon damage repairs, follow these key steps:
1. Document the damage – Take plenty of photos and video showing all areas of destruction before any cleanup. This provides crucial proof for your claim.
2. Remove any remaining raccoons – This may involve trapping them yourself or hiring pest control. Don’t begin repairs until raccoons are gone.
3. Get repair cost estimates – Contact roofers, general contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc. to evaluate damage and provide repair estimates. Submit all estimates to your insurer.
4. Report claim to your agent – Call your insurance company’s claims department or agent. Explain damage and provide documentation. Be specific about repair needs.
5. Adjustor inspection – An adjustor will likely visit your home to inspect damage and ensure it aligns with your claim. Walk them through all affected areas.
6. Review estimate approval – Your insurance company will send an official damage estimate and covered repair costs based on adjustor inspection. Review for accuracy.
7. Schedule contractor repairs – Once approved, hire contractors to complete repairs per insurance estimate. Only use licensed, bonded contractors.
8. Pay deductible – You will need to cover your policy deductible. Insurance will pay remaining costs directly to contractors after deductible is met.
9. Follow up on reimbursements – If you have any approved out-of-pocket repair expenses or temporary housing costs, submit receipts for reimbursement.
Thoroughly documenting damage, getting multiple repair estimates, and communicating frequently with your insurer can help ensure you receive full entitled coverage for your claim.
Preventing Raccoons from Damaging Your Home
While your homeowners insurance policy covers physical damage from raccoons, you’d surely prefer to avoid such damage in the first place. Here are some key tips to raccoon-proof your home:
Install chimney caps on all chimney flues.
Use heavy-duty screens to cover attic vents, roof vents, soffits, and fascia openings.
Seal any holes, gaps, or cracks in exterior walls, rooflines, or around pipes and vents. Use wire mesh, caulk, wood, cement, or metal depending on the surface.
Trim back any tree branches overhanging your roof. Raccoons sometimes access roofs from trees.
Remove potential food sources like pet food bowls, grease bins, compost piles, and fruit trees from areas adjacent to your house.
Use motion-activated lights and predator urine spray deterrents around the exterior.
Clean out rain gutters so they cannot harbor nests.
Have a professional install chimney caps, vent screens, and exclusion devices to ensure proper seal.
Being proactive is by far the best defense. It will help ensure you never have to find out firsthand what homeowners insurance does and does not cover for raccoon destruction!
What to Do If You Have an Active Raccoon Infestation
If raccoons have already accessed your home and taken up residence, don’t wait – act quickly to remove them before damages multiply! Here are key action steps:
Hire a professional wildlife control expert for removal – Never try to trap or extract raccoons yourself. Licensed professionals have the equipment, methods, and experience to safely and humanely remove raccoons from homes.
Clean all infested areas thoroughly – Use disinfectant and odor eliminator products to sanitize attics, walls, chimneys, and anywhere else impacted. Raccoon feces and urine carry diseases.
Make repairs and close up all possible entries – After raccoons are gone, repair any structural damage right away. Also seal every potential access point into your home so they cannot return.
Have your property monitored – Many wildlife removal companies offer ongoing monitoring and will quickly respond if any new raccoon activity is spotted. Early detection prevents major damages.
The longer raccoons inhabit your home, the more destructive they become. So if you suspect you have unwelcome raccoon “tenants”, take urgent action by calling in an experienced wildlife removal service in your area.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why do raccoons damage homes?
A: Raccoons are naturally inclined to seek out sheltered dens to sleep and breed in. Attics provide warm, dry spaces that mimic their natural tree cavities and burrows. They gnaw, tear, and dig to enlarge cavities or access new areas.
Q: Will homeowners insurance cover a new roof if raccoons damaged it?
A: If just a few shingles or sections of roof decking are damaged, insurance will only cover patch repairs. But if raccoons caused
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