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Why Rat Damage isn’t Covered by Most Insurance Policies

1st November 2011

Terminex recently performed work at a multiple flat property, which due to severe rat damage (wiring damaged and pipework) , required the entire ground floor to be taken up, causing the kitchen and bathroom to be removed to gain access. This was an extremely expensive problem as “acts of god” (i.e. those hungry rats) are not covered by most home insurance policies. So with a £50,000 plus bill to repair the wiring, pipework and replace the kitchen and bathroom, there are now a lot of very upset flat owners -  as each flat owner has to contribute towards the repairs, even though only the ground floor flat has suffered damage.

The cause of this problem was rats entering the property via an uncapped open drain, which was underground under the main house, and which rats had entered from the main outside sewer. Once inside the open drain, they only had to burrow to the surface and find themselves under the ground floor of these poor people’s house.  If you have seen the “Incredible Mr Fox” and think that he was clever, then think again; your urban rat is just as cunning and equally clever at finding its way into your home, especially if someone has failed to cap old drain pipes.

So be warned, if you are doing any renovations that involve drains, please make sure you check with your builder to ensure that they have capped all old drains.  This is particularly a problem if your new kitchen extension is built over former external land, which formerly contained main drains.  Often your council’s building control department will require you to rebuild new drains outside the boundary of your property, but when doing this, be certain that all old drains (that are under your new extension) are capped to prevent rats gaining access.

Please contact us if you would like us to provide any advice on risks from rats when planning your new extension, as we can save you thousands of pounds in possible future damage if you take some simple precautions before you start building.  Builders do not often build properties to reduce the risk of rat and mice infestation, but it is important to consider these risks in the planning stage, not after your beautiful new kitchen is built and you discover a major problem.

Best Wishes with your home renovations.

Love from your Terminex Team x