We have a lot of raccoon’s living in the Portland Metro area. Some of them live in trees, some live in dens and some of them try very hard to live with you in your home. If they are lucky enough to get access to some of your unused spaces like the attic or crawl space, they will make themselves right at home, get cozy and probably even have a few babies. The damage that they do to an attic or crawl space can be catastrophic. We inspect a lot of homes that have (or have had) raccoon’s dwelling underneath them and the damages generally amount to between $1,000 and $4,000 when they are needing a crawl space restoration.
Many home owners just cannot afford this kind of money, but they also cannot live with the damages and, not to mention, the contamination that is left behind. That brings us to our big question, “Will insurance companies cover damages caused by raccoon, opossum or other wildlife”?
The answer to that question can be a little murky and can deal with some gray area. First and foremost, it depends on your insurance carrier and what kind of policy you have. With all of the crawl spaces that we have inspected and found severe damages, I would estimate that about half of the customers had an insurance policy in place to cover much of the costs. And, in many instances, the home owner had insurance coverage, but did not even realize it!
Insurance companies almost never will cover the entire amount, but they will generally cover a significant chunk. In our dealings with claims, we have observed some common questions that will be asked during the process. First, they will want to be sure that the wildlife activity is recent (within the last 6 months in most cases). They will also want to identify what kind of nuisance wildlife it is. If it is a raccoon, they are far more likely to have it written in the policy over something else like an opossum or skunk. Next, they will want to know how the animal gained access to the space (broken vent screen, open door, etc.)
When determining how much they are willing to pay, insurance companies can start to get picky. We will put together an entire bid that includes removing and replacing all of the contaminated parts and generally find that the claim will only about 1/2 or 1/3 of our recommendations. I have found that all insurance companies are a little different on this and it always surprises me what they will not pay for. Lastly, there will surely be a deductible that needs to be paid before any of the costs will be covered.
So, that leaves us with just a partial payment usually occurring for damages. Regardless, it is important to always look into this option before proceeding. Maybe it will work for your situation, maybe it will not, but it should always be researched. At New Leaf, we help our customers through this process, providing pictures and expert assessment at no charge. If you find yourself in this undesirable position and need someone to help guide you through it, please give us a call!