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Avoid unwanted animal visitors

Winter is approaching, and we’re all going to spend more time indoors. But we may not be alone: rodents and other vermin are also more inclined to try to get inside our homes. This can inflict serious damage – but is this covered by your household insurance?

A recent article on the This is Money website warns that the damage by unwanted animals in the house can be extreme, including chewed wiring or pipes. Rats are particularly worrying: four years ago an 80-year-old woman was killed after rats ate through gas pipes in her house, causing a massive explosion. But cover under household insurance policies varies hugely according to provider. The British Insurance Brokers’ Association warns that “the vast majority of household policies exclude damage by vermin”.

The advice therefore is to take steps to prevent unwanted animals getting in. According to a spokesperson from Co-operative Insurance, “simple measures such as sealing gaps in the skirting boards and managing household waste properly could help to avoid unnecessary cost and distress.”

Pest control firm Rentokill has more advice: “As cold weather sets in, rodents look for shelter in all sorts of places.” Householders should look and listen for warning signs such as scratching noises, droppings, ammonia-like smells, signs of damage, ripped packaging, nesting or burrows.

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