Are Rodents Chewing Wires Covered by Car Insurance?

Most incidents involving animal damage, including rodents chewing on wires, are covered by comprehensive auto insurance. However, not every insurance policy has this coverage.

As long as you've chosen to add comprehensive coverage, your insurance will usually help pay the repair cost (minus any deductible). However, you can also take the proactive steps below to stop rodents from chewing your car's wires altogether.

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How does car insurance cover rodent damage and chewed wires?

Your car insurance will generally cover the cost to repair or replace areas damaged by animals, such as frayed wires or damage due to a nest, if you have comprehensive coverage.

Rodents are prevalent across North America, and they sometimes hide away inside cars, trucks and RVs. Once they're inside, they can chew on electrical wires or make a nest, damaging the vehicle in the process and possibly making it inoperable. Fixing it can cost hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.

Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your car or truck from any cause other than a collision. In addition to damaged wires, comprehensive insurance also pays for things like:

  • Hail damage
  • Falling debris
  • Vandalism

However, confirm with your insurance company that rodent damage is covered. It may not be in every location or circumstance.

Comprehensive coverage is usually mandatory for a car you lease or loan. Lenders require it to protect their investment. If it's not included, it can be added on, so check your auto insurance policy to see whether you have coverage — before you've discovered rodent damage.

Adding comprehensive coverage typically adds 7% to 11% to a basic, liability-only car insurance policy. The exact amount you'll pay depends on the model of your car, your location and your driving history.

When you're repairing the car-wiring damage, remember that your insurance will only cover the cost of the damage if it's greater than your deductible.

For example, if the bill to repair the wiring damage is $400, but your deductible is $500, insurance won't cover you. You'll be responsible for the entire amount.

If rats or squirrels damage your car and you don't have comprehensive coverage — or your deductible is too high for coverage to go into effect — you'll have to pay for the damage on your own. But it may be a good idea to add comprehensive coverage after repairs are completed, as rodents often strike the same vehicle more than once. You may not be covered this time, but you can save yourself some future hassle.

Does homeowners insurance cover rodent damage?

Unfortunately, homeowners insurance doesn't cover damage to your car, even if it's parked in your garage or on your property when the animals get inside. Additionally, damage from rodents generally isn't covered by homeowners or renters insurance, so you wouldn't be able to make a claim if the rats damaged your home's wiring, either.

Why do rodents chew car wires?

There's no clear reason rodents like to chew on car, truck and RV wires. One theory is that the wires resemble branches, and the animals think they are chewing on wood. All rodents do this to wear their teeth down (rodent teeth grow constantly — much like our fingernails — so they have to trim them somehow).

Another theory is that since car companies have recently switched to soy-based wire casings, the animals are eating them for nutritional value. However, a class-action lawsuit against Toyota to this effect was dismissed in 2018, suggesting the soy-based wiring is not conclusively the cause.

How to prevent rodents from chewing car wires

While your car insurance will help absorb the cost of repairs for damage by vermin, it's ideal to prevent the damage in the first place or stop it from recurring. Here are some techniques that may protect your vehicle's wiring from rats, squirrels and other unwanted pests.

  • Park your car elsewhere: If possible, park your car inside your garage, where mice and rats won't be able to get into your vehicle easily. Make sure you seal any holes that you find in your garage walls. If parking indoors isn't an option, look for a place away from grass and other areas where varmints can hide.
  • Eliminate food sources: Food is the biggest thing that attracts pests, so moving food sources away from your car may fix the problem. Make sure your garbage cans are tightly sealed, and don't store pet food or other edible items where rats, squirrels or mice could get them.
  • Repel or catch the rodents: You can use traps or sonic repelling tools to try to catch or disperse the rodents. This method works best if your car is parked in an enclosed area.
  • Use "rodent tape" or other chemical deterrents: Some people with rat problems have been able to deter the animals by wrapping the wires with spicy tape. Bitter or sour sprays, which rodents don't like, can work, too.
  • Move your car regularly: Animals are likely to move into a vehicle that's been parked for a long time. Driving your car every day, or even every week, may make it a less appealing target.

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