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Does my home insurance cover pest damage?

By HUB SmartCoverage Team on June 10th, 2024

During summer, the pickings are plentiful for rodents and insects.

In the warmer months, they’re outside looking for food and a place to call home. But they can damage your property in a variety of ways – even structurally – and may be carriers of disease. That’s why you must be vigilant and keep an eye out for signs you have guests you don’t want.

Damage from rodents and insects is not covered by home insurance policies because it’s considered a wear-and-tear issue that is preventable or the result of homeowner neglect. Your insurer expects you to maintain your property.

Generally, when pests take up residence, it’s not a problem that happens overnight. The cost of extermination or wildlife removal is also your responsibility. The best line of defence is to be observant and take steps to prevent infestations.

Signs of pests

Orkin Canada and other pest control experts suggest keeping an eye out for:


  • Droppings: Everywhere from kitchen cabinets, counters, floors, drawers and baseboards. (Wear gloves for removal. These are unsanitary.)
  • Gnaw marks: On everything from wires, food containers, furniture and flooring. Pay attention to scratching noises, especially at night.
  • Greasy rub marks: Along baseboards, walls and potential entry points from their oily fur.
  • Burrows/nests: Look in hidden spots like dense vegetation, bushes and rocks. Nests can be found in dark corners between walls and garbage areas.

PRO TIPS: Seal holes and crevices. Store food properly. Check your basement and attic – rodents prefer less travelled areas.


  • They’re inside: If there’s more than a few wayward travellers in your house, there’s likely a large colony nearby.
  • Around pet bowls: Ants in or around your pet’s bowl may be a sign of infestation.
  • Ant hills outside: If you find them near the building or against walls of your home, that could be a sign they’ve created a large underground nest.
  • Sawdust trails: In the case of destructive carpenter ants, which excavate galleries within wood structure to create nests, they leave behind sawdust-like wood shavings. Look for trails near wooden beams, flooring or furniture – particularly damp or decaying wood – making areas prone to moisture such as basements, attics and crawl spaces prime targets.

PRO TIPS:Keep food in tightly sealed containers. Properly dispose of food waste, clean dishes in the sink and keep areas clean and dry. Power wash your driveway and the sidewalks regularly to clear away residue that could attract ants.


  • Hollow timber: Termites consume wood from the inside out, leaving a thin layer of timber. When you find wood structures impacted by termite damage, it will sound hollow.
  • Tight fitting doors and windows: Moisture produced when termites eat and tunnel through door and window frames can cause the wood to warp, making them tough to open them.
  • Quiet clicking: That’s what they sound like when munching inside a wall!
  • Exposed tunnels or mud tubes: Tunnels in wood can be evidence of a possible termite infestation while their slender mud tubes provide them shelter.

PRO TIPS: Reduce moisture levels. Fix any leaky plumbing and gutters. Store lumber and wood outside.


  • Droppings:Cockroaches, which can spread harmful bacteria, leave behind a dust of black droppings less than 1mm wide and of varying lengths.
  • Smear marks: If water is abundant, cockroaches produce brown and irregularly shaped smear marks on the wall or floor.
  • Shed skin: Cockroaches shed nymphal skins 5-8 times as they mature to adulthood.
  • Damage: Beyond the unusual signs of damaged food packaging, they will attack organic goods including leather and books.

PRO TIPS: Clean and vacuum regularly. Store food in tightly sealed containers. Make sure cupboards remain dry. Fix leaky faucets and cracks in plumbing. Seal crevices and openings in walls and floors.


  • Clusters of wasps: Especially near an entrance to a potential nesting site.
  • Chewing or scraping:These noises can come from inside walls or other secluded areas.
  • Mud tubes:These or chewed wood will be visible near potential nesting sites.

PRO TIPS: Remember, wasp stings can be a serious health risk. Keep a yellow-toned light on in areas where wasps may nest since they prefer to rest in the dark. Secure garbage lids. Fill abandoned rodent holes in your lawn.


  • Garbage invasions: They are experts at raiding your garbage.
  • Scat: Droppings are typically left near the bottom areas of trees, piles of wood, and similar locations.
  • Scratches: Most raccoons scratch surfaces of trees, particularly towards the bottom. They also scratch sheds, porches, and other structures.
  • Unusual sounds: According to studies, raccoons can produce in excess of fifty unique sounds. These include growls, high-pitched squeals, purrs, chittering noises, snorts, and snarls.

PRO TIPS: Cover all possible entrances. Use trash cans with tight-fitting lids and bring pet food inside. Trim overgrown trees and foliage.


  • Droppings:An obvious sign, along with foul smell from urine or water damage on your ceiling if they’ve taken up residence in your walls/attic.
  • Unusual noises:If they’re inside you may hear chewing and scurrying sounds.
  • Birdfeeder/garden damage:This includes dug up pots and plant damage.
  • Roof damage:Look of signs of roofline damage, holes in shingles.
  • Nests:Check attic for insulation, chewed wiring (a fire hazard) or wood.

PRO TIPS:Seal small holes in walls and sidings. Remove overhanging branches.

Should you discover any of these pests and it’s a bigger problem than you can handle, it’s advisable to contact a local pest control company or wildlife removal service. They have the tools and experience to do the job safely and humanely. The best defence, however, is to maintain your home so they can’t take up residence in the first place.


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