Reader question: After damage caused by a rat infestation, our home insurers said they would not cover the costs incurred from damage to our property. Is this standard in France?
Home insurance policies in France generally do not cover costs associated with pests (nuisibles).
This includes bedbugs, insect infestations and rodents (rongeurs), and insurers will not usually pay out for damage to the home caused by these animals.
Although it is not covered in most standard policies, it can be possible to add protection either against pests in general or just against rodents (which will include rats and mice) with your current insurer.
You can ask them about this or you could make enquiries with other insurers to see how much it would cost with them, should you wish to change policies.
Not all insurers will offer this protection though because of the high damage costs associated with these pests.
Those that do offer an extension to your policy often charge a few extra euros per month (between €2 and €5).
If you own rodents as pets, you should also check if your insurance covers damage to the property caused by them – for example, if they chew through a wire which starts a fire.
If you have rats on your property, you should lay rat traps or try to get rid of the animals as quickly as possible.
In this case it may be best to call a pest control worker immediately to prevent serious damage to your property.
Is pest control covered?
This is more commonly found in professional indemnity insurance (assurance à responsabilité civile professionnelle), for business properties, than in ordinary home insurance.
Where it exists it will cover property damage or injuries that happen during the disinfestation process and may also pay for the cost of the professionals and the equipment they use.
If it is not included in your policy already, you could also ask your insurer about the possibility of adding it.
Whose responsibility is it to deal with pests?
In rented properties, it is the landlord’s obligation to pay for pest control measures, even if not covered by the insurance policy they have for the property.
In buildings with shared communal areas, anybody who has a pest infestation should warn the building’s managing agents as well as others in the building.
If the damage caused spans across multiple units, the bill for disinfestation should be split between all parties.