Rodent damage: Will your car insurance cover chewed-up wiring?

Cheap Insurance provides advice on how to handle rodent damage to your car and how to avoid it in the future.

John Davey
Posted 5/29/24

Cheap Insurance provides advice on how to handle rodent damage to your car and how to avoid it in the future.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Rodent damage: Will your car insurance cover chewed-up wiring?

Cheap Insurance provides advice on how to handle rodent damage to your car and how to avoid it in the future.


Close up of rubber over wiring in car worn away by rat chewing.

Kamonkanok // Shutterstock

You slide into the driver's seat, ready for your morning commute, only to find your vehicle disabled. The culprit? A mischievous rodent who decided your car's wiring looked like a delicious snack. Unfortunately, this scenario isn't as uncommon as you might think. Rodents, seeking warmth and nesting materials, can wreak havoc on your car, leading to costly repairs. But the real question is: Will your car insurance cover the damage caused by these furry vandals? In this article Cheap Insurance looks at the issues surrounding rodent damage in vehicles, exploring its prevalence, insurance coverage options, and preventive measures you can take to protect your car.

Should I Worry About Rodent Damage?

While a rodent infestation in your car might seem like a scene ripped straight from a horror movie, it's actually a more common occurrence than you might think. Rodents, notorious for their constant need to chew, find cars to be a haven of warmth, shelter, and readily available nesting materials. Unfortunately, this often translates to chewed-up wires and significant repair costs for car owners. So, the question arises: Should you be worried about rodent damage happening to your own vehicle?

Does My Car Insurance Cover Rodent Damage?

Discovering chewed-up wires and rodent nesting materials in your car is a frustrating experience, often leading to costly repairs. Thankfully, in many cases, your car insurance might offer some financial relief. Here's a breakdown of how car insurance deals with rodent damage:

Comprehensive Coverage:

The key to coverage lies in comprehensive insurance. This optional add-on to your car insurance policy typically covers damage caused by events other than collisions, including:

  • Rodent damage (chewed wires, nesting materials)
  • Weather events (hail, falling objects, floods)
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Fire

Therefore, if you have comprehensive car insurance coverage, you're likely covered for rodent damage. However, it's important to remember these additional details.

Deductible: You'll still be responsible for your deductible, which is the amount you pay upfront before your insurance starts paying.

Policy Specifics: While most comprehensive coverages include rodent damage, it's always recommended to double-check your specific policy details with your insurance provider.

It's also important to understand that:

Liability Coverage: Liability insurance, which is typically a mandatory coverage in most states, does not cover rodent damage

Collision Coverage: Collision coverage, which is typically required for financed, or leased vehicles, and a smart choice for high value, or specialty vehicles, does not cover rodent damage.

So, while comprehensive coverage can offer a safety net, Cheap Insurance stresses that consumers should fully understand the limitations and terms of their specific auto insurance policy.

How Frequent Are Rodent Damage Claims?

While the thought of rodents wreaking havoc on your car might seem like an isolated incident, the reality is quite different. Rodent damage claims are surprisingly common, with some estimates suggesting they may account for up to 25% of all comprehensive insurance claims. This highlights the prevalence of the issue and the potential financial burden it can place on car owners.

Several factors contribute to the frequency of rodent damage:

  • Rodent Populations: Rodents are prolific creatures, constantly seeking shelter and nesting materials. Cars parked in garages, under trees, or near wooded areas are particularly vulnerable.
  • Chewing Instinct: Rodents have a natural instinct to gnaw, which unfortunately translates to them chewing on car wires, hoses, and other components.
  • Hidden Damage: Rodent damage often goes unnoticed until significant electrical or mechanical issues arise, leading to costly repairs.

While the exact number of rodent damage claims can vary depending on insurance providers, it's safe to say it's a widespread issue that car owners should be aware of. Knowing this, understanding the potential impact on your car insurance and taking preventative measures become significant steps in protecting your vehicle.

Why Won't Homeowners Insurance Cover Rodent Damage to My Car?

While homeowners insurance offers protection against various perils, rodent damage to your car is typically excluded. Here's why:

Focus on Property: Homeowners insurance primarily covers damage to your dwelling, other structures on your property, and personal belongings within your home. Vehicles parked outside, even in your driveway or garage, fall outside this scope.

Preventable Hazard: Rodent infestations are generally considered preventable occurrences. Insurance companies expect homeowners to take necessary measures to control rodent populations, minimizing the likelihood of damage.

Specific Perils: Homeowners insurance policies typically cover named perils like fire, theft, or weather events. Rodent damage, while frustrating, doesn't fall under these categories.

Therefore, while homeowners insurance won't cover rodent damage to your car, remember that comprehensive coverage in your car insurance often does.

The High Cost of Rodent Rampage: Why Repairs Can Break the Bank

While the sight of chewed wires might seem like a minor inconvenience, the reality of rodent damage to your car can be a financial nightmare. Here's why repairs often translate to hefty bills:

Complex Wiring Systems: Modern cars are intricately wired, with a network of electrical harnesses controlling various functions. Rodents, with their relentless chewing, can easily sever or damage these wires, leading to malfunctions in critical systems like:

  • Engine control unit (ECU)
  • Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
  • Airbags
  • Sensors
  • Lights

Repairing these damaged wires requires specialized knowledge and meticulous work. Replacing entire wiring harnesses can be particularly expensive, as they are often bundled together and difficult to access.

  • Labor Costs: Tracing the source of the damage, identifying affected wires, and meticulously splicing or replacing them is a time-consuming process. Skilled mechanics charge hourly rates, and the complexity of the job can significantly inflate the labor costs.
  • Indirect Damage: Rodent infestations often leave behind debris, nesting materials, and even waste products that can further damage car components or create unpleasant odors requiring additional cleaning and sanitation.

While the exact cost of repairs can vary depending on the extent of the damage and the car model, rodent infestations can easily lead to repair bills in the thousands of dollars. This highlights the importance of both preventive measures and having comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy to mitigate the financial burden caused by these furry villains.

Will My Auto Insurance Rates Increase After a Rodent Damage Claim?

Filing a rodent damage claim under comprehensive coverage typically won't lead to a significant increase in your insurance rates. Here's why.

Comprehensive Claims: Rodent damage falls under comprehensive coverage, which deals with non-accident related events like weather or animal damage. These claims are generally viewed as "acts of God" outside your control.

Minimal Impact: Compared to at-fault accidents or repeated claims, a single comprehensive claim usually has a smaller impact on the cost of your car insurance. On average, a comprehensive claim might raise your premium by around 4.35%.

However, it's important to consider:

Claim History: Insurance companies consider your overall claim history when providing car insurance quotes. Frequent comprehensive claims, even for minor incidents, can eventually lead to higher premiums.

Deductible: You'll still be responsible for your deductible, which can offset some of the cost and potentially make filing a claim for minor damage less worthwhile.

Therefore, while a single rodent damage claim likely won't drastically increase your rates, maintaining a clean claim history and considering the deductible amount are important factors to keep in mind.

How Can I Prevent Rodent Damage from Happening?

While insurance coverage can offer some financial relief after rodent damage, the ideal scenario is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some effective measures you can take.

Physical Barriers:

  • Metal Mesh: Installing metal mesh over potential entry points like the air intake, exhaust pipes, and undercarriage can act as a strong deterrent.
  • Stuffing Entry Points: Stuffing potential entry points like small gaps and holes with steel wool or other tight-fitting materials can discourage rodents from squeezing through.


  • Cleanliness: Keeping your car clean and free of food crumbs, spills, and debris eliminates potential food sources that attract rodents.
  • Odors: Rodents dislike strong smells. Placing strategically placed cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil, white vinegar, or other strong scents can repel them. However, remember to replace these regularly to maintain their effectiveness.
  • Ultrasonic Devices: Some ultrasonic devices emit high-frequency sounds that irritate rodents, driving them away. While their effectiveness can vary, they might offer an additional layer of protection.

Parking Habits:

  • Garage Storage: Whenever possible, park your car in a closed garage. This reduces the exposure to the elements and potential rodent nesting areas.
  • Open the Hood: Leaving the hood open occasionally can help air out the engine compartment and discourage rodents from making it their home.

Professional Help:

  • Professional Pest Control: If you suspect a rodent infestation around your car or property, consider seeking professional pest control services. They can identify entry points, eliminate existing populations, and implement preventive measures.

By implementing these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the chances of rodents targeting your car and causing costly damage. Remember, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of (rodent-chewed) wires.


This story was produced by and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.