Insurance, raccoon damage, and getting it all covered by your homeowners insurance can be a daunting task.
By the time you become aware of raccoons’ presence, most likely they’ve already been there for quite a while transforming your house into their new playground.
It takes no more than a couple of weeks for raccoons to ravage your property, not to mention the serious and life-threatening risks that raccoons pose to human health. Accidental contact with feces or urine by touch, ingestion, open wound or a bite can wreak havoc on the human body, with children being the most exposed. Treatments to prevent or cure diseases like rabies, roundworm or leptospirosis can easily amount to thousands of dollars.
Such an unpleasant scenario for these cute creatures, isn’t it? Since the money involved to take back your house and peace of mind are significant, the question “Will my insurance company cover the damage done by raccoons?” is an understandable worry.
Most insurance companies are willing to pay for raccoon damages if you correctly submit your claim. However, even if your claim is rejected at first, you may still have a chance to have your expenses covered by your homeowners policy.
Here at Get Raccoons Out and All Animal Removal, we understand how insurance companies work. Even though we cannot guarantee how your insurance company will respond, over the years, we have been very successful at helping our customers receive the coverage they deserve.
We’ve put together a helpful guide on how to correctly submit your claim for raccoon damages.
Depending on your policy terms and your own savvy, you may be successful after following just the first few steps you’ll find here.
If instead your claim is denied and, based on your policy terms, you feel this is not right, you may have to fight a bit more and go through all the steps we’ve outlined in order to receive your coverage.
The “Vermin Exclusion” Clause
The first roadblock on your way to reimbursement may be the “Vermin Exclusion” policy term. When you call your insurance company, chances are that they will inform you that your case falls into the vermin category. Based on that, they may refuse to accept your claim.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines vermin as “any of various small animals or insects that are destructive, annoying, or injurious to health.” At first glance, it looks like your insurance company is in the right and you’re doomed to pay your expenses. In reality, the meaning of the term vermin is very controversial and often misunderstood even by insurance companies.
The fact is that the courts do not usually consider raccoons or bats as vermin. For this very reason, nowadays some insurance policies specifically exclude raccoons and bats. So, if your insurance policy doesn’t specifically mention raccoons, don’t give up. Continue pursuing your right to receive the coverage you deserve for removal, repair and restoration.
Insurance, Raccoon Damage, and How To Successfully Get Coverage
When dealing with insurance companies, it’s important to have the right approach and attitude from the beginning. The way you present the matter and the very words you use to explain the problem can determine how your claim will end up. That is why the assistance of a professional with years of experience can make the difference between success and failure.
Keep in mind that your field agent is not a raccoon expert and he may not understand the magnitude of the problem. So being well informed on the subject, or even better, having a professional to assist you, will give you a real advantage and a better chance to receive your coverage.
Here is an easy, step-by-step guide to having your insurance company cover raccoon damage:
Step 1: Contact Your Field Agent
As soon as you become aware that raccoons are in your house, you should contact your field agent without delay.
Avoid an aggressive approach but kindly explain your concern about what’s going on in your house. A gentle approach always makes everybody more relaxed and cooperative, and right now you just need to gather information.
Ask your field agent questions like:
• Will they pay for the trapping?
• Will they cover dropping removal?
• Is decontamination included?
• Are the repair and restoration expenses covered?
• What if somebody in the family or a guest needs rabies shots?
• What is the policy’s list of excluded pests? (This will determine if raccoons are covered or not)
Don’t get discouraged if your agent tells you that your claim will not be accepted. Right now your goal is just to collect information, not to file your claim.
Step 2: Hire A Wildlife Professional
It is important for the wildlife professional you choose to be a trusted one with good experience in the field. You want the raccoons to be gone forever and all the restoration work done to your complete satisfaction.
Plus, a trusted company like All Animal Removal is willing to communicate with your insurance company. When we talk to them on your behalf, with photos of the damage and written reports, your likelihood of getting coverage is significantly higher.
Step 3: Submit A Claim
The next step is to submit your claim in writing. Submit it even if the field agent already refused your claim. These are important points you should include in your letter:
• Inquire whether raccoon damage is covered and to what extent
• Include a statement of anticipated damages and risks as assessed by the wildlife professional
• Provide your wildlife professional’s contact information
• Express your concern about the damages, loss of value to your property, and health risks for you, your family and visitors
• Always request a written reply
When you send a letter to your insurance to submit your claim, your case will be taken to the adjuster’s desk and you’ll bypass the field agent. Unlike the field agent, the adjuster is not concerned solely about money spent on coverage. He or she will consider the possible liability issues pertaining to the company, such as consequent health problems.
Often, your letter along with a good report from your wildlife professional is enough to persuade the adjuster to grant you the coverage you deserve.
If instead your attempt is not yet successful, move to the next step.
Step 4: Request Information About The Appeal Process
If the insurance company refuses your claim, it doesn’t mean that your chance to receive your coverage is lost. If you believe that the claim has been denied unjustly or without reason, you can still appeal and keep asking for them to cover your expenses.
Collect the information you need on how the appeal process works. It is best to do this in writing. Ask, of course, about the appeal procedures but express once again your concern about the raccoons, the health risks for your family and visitors, and the loss of value to your property. If they haven’t yet provided it, request again a written denial of your claim.
Step 5: Have A Third Party Submit A Letter for You
This is the last attempt to receive your coverage when, after following Step 4, you still can’t settle an agreement with your insurance company.
Which third party can you ask to submit a letter for you? It can be your wildlife professional, for instance. Here at Get Raccoons Out and All Animal Removal, we have excellent experience assisting our clients and boosting their chances to receive coverage.
You may ask even your doctor to explain how raccoons in your house can pose a serious threat to your family, children and visitors. Another option is to look for legal support and have an attorney contact your company.
Final Considerations On Getting Coverage From Your Insurance Company for Raccoon Damage
Hopefully you do not have to go through all these steps to have your insurance company pay for the raccoons’ removal and damages. As we stated at the beginning, most companies cover this kind of incident.
The task of trapping the raccoons, protecting your house from their return and restoring your house to its original state requires knowledge and technical expertise and can be expensive.
With our help, you can have your house cleared out and receive the quality of products and services you deserve, and we will help you claim your money from your insurance company.