Does Insurance Cover Bat Removal?
The issue of homeowners insurance covering bat removal is something we get asked a lot. The most straightforward answer (as we are not insurance professionals) is it depends on your insurance provider and the policy you have with them. I did some research for this blog, and I must admit, without login information or an insurance-policy to check with, there’s not much to go off. It can be hard to find information, especially on your specific style of home and need for bat removal. So, after you realize you need bat removal, there is the factor of whether your insurers deem them as “pests” or “wildlife.” Once you determine that, it’s on to deciding if you hire someone that’s going to do any structural changes the home at all.
In most cases, based on the insurance companies I found that had any information on their websites, insurers will not cover bat proofing. They mostly consider them pests and believe the homeowners are responsible. Their reasoning on this issue is pretty simple and straight forward. Getting bats into the home is preventable; it’s considered a maintenance issue. As homeowners, we signed up for this. I mean, being able to paint the walls whatever color we want, having pets, no more seeing your creepy neighbor in the hall, and being able to have an actual yard and not a parking lot of an apartment building is incredible. However, replacing your gutters and unfortunately, sometimes bat removal is not the most exciting aspect of being a homeowner.
Bat removal isn’t the only pest or wildlife creature that is not covered by insurance. However, from what I find, it can be one of the most expensive. Unlike removing an opossum which can be done with a trap or by hand, bats need a more delicate approach. They are super fragile and can be injured or killed very quickly. Therefore, a lot of people who haven’t had bat proofing or bat removal completed do not always understand. The complexity of what it can take to get rid of them can be extensive.
Based on what I was able to find on the Insurance Information Institutes website, bat removal would fall under maintenance of the home. So, I looked up the definition of general home maintenance. What I found was interesting. I read into the article and had issues finding anything on bats or even a section on what might be covered by insurance. Home repairs also classify as periodic maintenance on the home. These can classify under insurance policies for more extensive repairs caused by “nature.” Well, “nature” is defined as a lot of things, but based on what I found, they mostly mean bad-weather more than they do animals or pests.
Maintenance is the process of maintaining or preserving someone or something, or the state of being supported. The best comparison I can think of for maintenance on your home would be on your car. Just like changing your oil in your vehicle, you need it done. It’s an expense you occur because you have a car, it’s regular maintenance. Your car insurance does not cover the cost of your oil change because of this. The way the insurance companies view the bat situation is that it’s one hundred percent preventable. Thus, you are very unlikely to see any insurance help for the issue.
Now I am sure there are some insurance companies out there that will cover bat removal under some plans. However, based on my research, the significant names in insurance across the Midwest will not cover this issue. I think it is essential to know your insurance coverage and what you can afford if you can add any extra coverage for these “general maintenance” issues. Having that rainy-day fund, as a homeowner and renter, is super important. Insurance is excellent, and we all wish it covered everything we need it too, but we all know that is not the case in most situations. Which brings up the issue of making sure you are fiscally ready for any maintenance issues you might encounter on your home.
Bats In The House
I know from experience, yes, I have also had bats. When bat issues arise, it’s always important to get it taken care of immediately. If you procrastinate, the problems only get worse. You can run into expounded cleanup issues that might arise, for example. Now that we know your insurance rarely covers bat proofing and removal, we can talk about any clean up required. The home will need cleaning to remove unwanted waste from the bats that took up residence during that time. Now would be a great time to consider an attic restoration.
An attic restoration service involves cleaning out soiled insulation, guano, sanitizing the attic, and most likely re-blowing the insulation. We do see this service covered by insurance more often than bat proofing. The reasoning behind that is because the bat guano in your attic can cause histoplasmosis. Histoplasmosis is super dangerous to your health, especially if you have any preexisting respiratory issues. My brother has had pneumonia in the past as he was in a car accident and intubated for a good while.
Now if you or someone you know has had pneumonia in the past, you know that it is easier to contract it in the future. Just like most everything nowadays. When my family found out we had bats when I was younger, that was a giant concern for my family. Our insurance was excellent and helped pay for the attic restoration process. We were lucky enough to never deal with histoplasmosis in the family.
While insurance doesn’t cover bat proofing one hundred percent, there are certain cases where you can get some financial relief. Now, these vary based on where your located and who you have for insurance, though. Did you buy the home or building recently (within the last twenty-four months)? Did the home inspection miss any bats? If so, your bank’s inspector, real estate agent, or even the previous owner could be found partially or fully liable for the whole situation.
Now that you know more about whether your bat proofing is covered or not. Now you can take better steps to make sure you are hiring the right company for the job. Spend your money wisely; make sure they know what they are doing. Additionally, make sure they have a good experience and most importantly, please, please, please make sure they are going to offer you an extended warranty. If you are going to spend your money and get this issue taken care of, make sure the people doing it are going to be there for you if any bats get back in.