Worrisome wasps and cheeky squirrels are causing claims to rise

Here at LV = our home insurance claims that relate to animal infestations are at an all-time high.

Between 2021 and 2022, squirrels have caused the most havoc and claims following their presence were up 51%. We’ve also seen accidental damage home insurance claims which involve animals increase by 35% within the same period!

Squirreling away in lofts

So far in 2023 we’ve seen a number of claims relating to squirrels - the average claim costing around £3,000, mainly due to chewing through pipes, cables, decking and fascia boards. They’ve also been moving roof tiles, making a home in lofts, coming down the chimney, or sliding down guttering causing damage.

In one case, a claim cost £30,000 and required the customer to move into temporary accommodation due to damage of the roof timbers and underfelt, before gnawing through the master bedroom ceiling covered in artex and containing asbestos.

Other claims have included damage from squirrels and rodents chewing through wiring in lofts and motor homes, resulting in damage to 17 solar panels, a customer receiving an electric shock when washing up as an electric current was running through the water and a motor home fire due to an electrical fault from the wire being chewed.

Working Wasps

We’ve also seen a rise in claims due to wasps and their nests, as some homeowners are attempting to smoke-out or burn the nest, resulting in setting fire to their property. This usually occurs in the loft space, which is often housing flammable materials such as carboard boxes and timber frames, which set alight very quickly and easily. On average, buildings insurance claims linked to fires cost around £30,000.

One of our most recent claims was from a fire that started from a smoke bomb, which was being used to kill a wasp nest in the loft. The fire service attended the property and there was extensive damage to the rafters, beams, ceiling joist, roof and chimney stack, as well as contents within the loft.

Our Claims Director Martin Milliner commented “ With an increase in the frequency and severity of storms we’ve seen over recent years, there is a higher chance of animal infestations in loft spaces where animals can get in due to dislodged roof tiles. Our data certainly shows the increase, and making sure your clients are checking their homes for any gaps which could let animals such as squirrels enter the home, would help prevent the majority of damage we see to pipes and electrical cables.”

Remember, if any of your clients find a pest infestation, they should contact a professional to help.