During the spring and summer months, the Northeast sees a dramatic increase in wildlife activity as animals come out of hibernation. Mating season for most small mammals and birds occurs around this time and as a result, there is a higher possibility of homeowner property being damaged. Mothers looking for safe nesting space for their babies will look to sheltered and secure areas. Unfortunately, this can mean the walls of attics or underneath porches. This activity can also cause both interior and exterior damage to your house – damage that is usually not covered under Section I of the Homeowners’ policy. Loss caused by animals such as birds, vermin, rodents, or insects that attempt to access shelter by utilizing pre-existing structures is not covered under most standard policies. Damage caused to your dwelling by large mammals such as bears is covered under your policy, but otherwise, it is good to take steps in order to limit the ability of animals to enter and possibly damage your home.
Here are some steps that homeowners can take to “animal proof” their home:
- Make sure that screens, windows, and sliding doors are free of holes or tears
- Seal possible exterior entry points in places such as roof openings and vents or holes near the base of the house
- Adding screens over vents and placing chimney caps over chimneys will help prevent entry while maintaining smooth air flow
- Remove any hanging tree limbs and other vegetation that is very close to the house
- Add sturdy screening to the bottoms of porches and decks
Taking these measures could greatly reduce the risk of possible damage caused by animal activity over the next few months and into the fall, saving you time, money, and a lot of frustration in the long run.