Q: We live in the city and just bought a cottage in the country for weekend getaways. I’m looking forward to sitting on the deck and watching the birds feed and deer wander around. But there’s one potential visitor I’m not too thrilled about. The previous owners told us that a grizzly bear once broke into the garage and helped himself to a freezer full of meat. I never thought of wildlife as a home hazard until now. Am I covered if a wild animal causes damage to my property?
We posed this question to Ryan Busman, a Farmers® agent in Saginaw, Michigan, who is knowledgeable about home insurance and also knows a thing or two about run ins with wildlife.
A: It might be fun to watch wild animals from a safe distance, but it’s a different story when the carousing goes on inside your home. Even the cuddliest creatures can wreak havoc when no one’s looking. I can only imagine what a grizzly would do with a mouthwatering selection of steaks inside your home.
I’ve seen firsthand the aftermath of a deer barging into a furniture store. This giant buck crashed through the front window and spent the night rampaging through aisles of beds and sofas.
Animals are also adept at damaging the exterior of buildings. Believe it or not, I see a lot of houses with the corners chewed off. Apparently, vinyl siding is very appetizing to some animals, and corner pieces are choice cuts. Vacation homes are especially vulnerable because they tend to be located where there’s more wildlife and fewer people.
The bright side to all of this — besides having an amusing story to tell — is that Farmers policies may provide coverage for the home itself and what’s inside when animals attack. There are some exceptions. For example, your policy might exclude damage from pests, such as rats, lizards or bats. And if the damage is caused by your pet, that will likely be excluded as well.
In the case of the grizzly, this may include physical damage to the garage, like broken windows and shredded drywall, the ransacked freezer and even those juicy steaks. Your policy may also cover the cost to professionally remove any debris resulting from the covered loss. Whatever bears do in the woods, they can also do in your home.
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