It doesn't take long for raccoons to wreak havoc once they've made their way into your place. Read on to see whether standard home insurance can help cover damage from raccoons.
Even though they may look cute and cuddly, raccoons can be absolute menaces to homeowners — from tearing up vegetable gardens, to destroying attics and crawlspaces, to chewing through your home's wiring, pipes, and more. And that's not even including the health risk they pose, carrying various diseases like rabies and raccoon roundworm, which can affect both humans and pets.
Luckily, standard homeowners insurance will help cover repairs if raccoons damage or destroy your roof, attic, or other areas of your home's structure. However, you're typically responsible for repairing or replacing personal items that raccoons might've damaged, like clothing, electronics, and furniture. Personal property insurance on your homeowners policy typically covers named perils only, and doesn't include raccoons.
Protect your home from raccoon damage by getting a free quote here.
It's always wise to check with your insurer to see what your policy specifically covers you for (and what it doesn't). If you're an Esurance policyholder and have questions about your coverages, you can reach out to us at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). Our licensed agents are here to help at these times.
signs of raccoons in your home
While raccoons may have the appearance of smooth criminals, there are usually some dead giveaways that they've invaded your house:
- Trails between their den and food sources
- Tracks in the mud, soil, or sand immediately around your place, as well as along fire escapes, deck railings, and any other surface that raccoons can use to get inside
- Scratch marks, which can be both outside and inside your house (on trees, near food sources, on rooftops, etc.)
- Smudge marks on the side of your house, where a raccoon can easily climb up and down utility pipes or downspouts
- Droppings, which range between 3 and 5 inches in length, and may be found both inside and immediately outside your place, like on the roof
- Noises, which include calls, chittering, purring, growling, snorting, and snarling — not to mention the pitter-patter of their little paws at night
Getting rid of raccoons
Believe it or not, raccoons are "furbearers" that are protected by law in most states — with specified seasons for running, trapping, and hunting them. However, most states that protect raccoons also have provisions in their laws that allow homeowners to control raccoons that are causing damage to their property. That said, it's imperative to check with your state's wildlife agency before using any type of lethal control method.
Standard homeowners insurance usually doesn't cover raccoon removal — just the damage they cause to your home's structure — so you'll likely be responsible for hiring a professional to help with the problem.
Luckily, the pros will know how to effectively and humanely remove raccoons from your place, especially if you're dealing with a mother raccoon and her young, which is often the case. Plus, it will help you avoid any potential health threat posed by both the raccoons and the waste they leave behind.
how to keep raccoons away
Since these critters are primarily nocturnal and eat pretty much anything they can get their paws on, it's important to look around your property for areas that may be attractive to them — like gardens, garbage cans, and small entry points in your home's roof.
If you notice raccoons consistently scurrying around your yard at night, there are a few preventive measures you can take to repel them so they don't make their way into your house (or damage the outside of it).
Install motion-activated lights
Leaving a light on outside your place at night generally isn't enough to deter raccoons, but installing motion-activated floodlights near more susceptible areas of your home will typically startle the critters enough to keep them away.
If it's not against neighborhood rules and won't disturb your neighbors, try planting some battery-powered radios near outdoor trash cans, chimneys, and other places raccoons like to congregate around your house. Set the radios to a talk station and turn up the volume; raccoons generally avoid interactions with humans, so hearing them nearby is often a good deterrent.
Restrict access to food sources
Make sure your outdoor trash cans have snug-fitting lids to help prevent raccoons from getting in and making a mess in their search for food scraps. It's also best to keep your pet's food and water inside, since raccoons will gladly gobble it up and keep coming back for more.
Patch up your place
Raccoons are expert diggers and climbers, and are also very clever. That means they'll take advantage of any potential entry point into your home, so it's important to inspect your property and patch up any holes in the roof or exterior walls. It's also a good idea to block off access to the chimney, especially before springtime when females are searching for places they can den in to give birth.
It's key to mention that there are currently no approved repellents, toxicants, or fumigants for raccoon problems. That's not to say there aren't repellants on the market, though — including sprays, pellets, powders, and even scented trash bags. Their effectiveness is generally considered hit-or-miss at best, though, and these products won't do anything for raccoons that have already made your house their home.
Roof maintenance tips for homeowners
Properly maintaining your roof is key to protecting your home from raccoons and a whole host of other hazards.
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