Rats, termites and other living things represent a special problem for insurance purposes. The damage they cause can be considered part of an infestation by the insurance underwriter, and that path leads to certain denial of a claim for damages. Special riders can be added to your policy, but you might have to deal with your landlord to avoid the extra expense.
Rats and Rental Insurance
Rental insurance is the same as the property insurance portion of a home insurance policy. The coverage assumes that the homeowner, not the renter, has taken steps to keep the property free of rodents, insects and other infestations. Property that has been damaged by rats is a sign of improper property maintenance, and your rental insurance claim can be denied on the grounds that an infestation is the responsibility of the property owner and the claim should be filed against that policy.
Homeowners Negligence Exclusions
Infestations are not included in typical insurance policies because getting rid of pests is part of maintaining the property. When evidence of rats is discovered, the renter should notify the property owner, who would then take the necessary action to have the pests removed. Since the owner is expected to keep the property free of rodents as a matter of course, insurance claims for rat damage can be turned down because of negligence on the part of the homeowner.
Coverage for Renters
Property renters can purchase insurance against damage done by rats. The coverage is added to your renter's insurance policy as an add-on, called a rider. The rider carries an additional cost not covered by the original insurance policy. Because a rat problem is considered a preventable risk, your insurance company may suggest that you contact the property owner before purchasing a policy.
Legal Infestation Issues
Rats are known to carry diseases that can infect humans. If you rent a home that has a problem with rats, your first step is to contact the landlord and request that the rats be removed. In some locations, failure to remove rodent, bird or insect infestations may be grounds for terminating a lease or can provide the renter with a legal footing to pursue reparations for damages. Contact your state department of housing for methods of dealing with rats in a home that does not belong to you.