Why you need pest control insurance
Most standard home insurance policies do not give you pest protection. Home insurance is based on insuring against unforeseen risk in association with your house buildings. Pest protection is not seen as a risk but a result of inadequate house maintenance, or unsuccessful preventative measures against common pests. It is preventable, and therefore not a risk but part of the duty of care of the householder.
Bespoke pest control insurance works in a similar way to a boiler insurance policy. In exchange for a fixed sum, it will pay for damages up to the specified amount caused to a property by named pests. A routine inspection of the property, by a pest control expert, may be required prior to commencement of the policy to check for any existing pest control issues. Existing problems are not normally covered unless an additional fee is paid. Thereafter, a routine inspection may be included as part of the policy, to check the necessary preventative measures are in place, and there are no pest protection issues.
Before deciding on pest control insurance, you need to determine how likely a pest invasion of your house is.
What are the types of pests?
There are ten common types of animal and insect pests. Some of these can severely damage your property, and even undermine the building’s fabric if left unchecked. Others carry health risks if they come in contact with your food, or their excretory and waste products contaminate your home. There are also the pests that present a less serious threat but you may be uncomfortable sharing your home with.
Here we’ve shared a few common household pests, with details on how they invade your home and the type of damage they can do, to help you decide if pest insurance or pest control insurance is for you.
How to stop rats invading your home
The most common rat deemed a pest in the UK is the brown rat. The main problems with rats in your home, apart from the unpleasantness of sharing your house with them, are that rats are disease carriers, through the pathogens present in their urine and faecal waste.
Rats are also gnawing mammals, making them very destructive. They gnaw to make their nests. They gnaw to get to the food. And they gnaw just because they can!
Rats, if hungry, will eat almost anything. Good housekeeping and house maintenance are vital for rat prevention. Food should be stored in glass or metal tightly sealed. Waste should be stored away from the house in closed bins. Gardens should clutter-free and any organic garden waste stored away from the house, preferably in sealed containers.
Make sure you fill any holes in the house walls or wood with weatherproof silicone or metal mesh. The idea is to make your home and garden less of an attractive place for rats to make nests.
How to prevent bed bugs
Bed bug infestation is more common than you might imagine. The life cycles of bed bugs vary but can last up to two months. Signs that you may have bed bugs are skin deposits, black dots on your bed linen (which are droppings) or dark red spots on your bed, where the bed bugs are squashed. Vacuuming and tidy bedrooms, reduce the chance of a bed bug infestation but professional pest control help may be necessary to eradicate them.
If you stay in hotels, do not put your clothes or luggage on the hotel bed linen. When you return home, wash clothes at a hot temperature and store luggage in the garage.
Cockroaches are disease carriers and hard to get rid of once you have them. Good hygiene is the main way to prevent them, as is ensuring entry points into the house are sealed. Keep food in sealed containers and vacuum daily - evening time is best, as they are nocturnal. Clean up crumbs and spills on worktops, furniture, floors and food storage areas. Don’t leave waste and particularly food waste in the house overnight. If cockroach prevention is unsuccessful, call in the professional pest control experts.
How to stop ants in house from becoming a nuisance
Ants follow the food source. Worker ants are sent out to scout for food, so they are most likely to come into your house if you leave uncovered food, crumbs of food or drink spills on floors or worktops. Ants will congregate close to food sources and so are problematic in food areas.
The best ways to deter ants is to keep your food and waste in tightly sealed storage areas and keep all food preparation areas clean. Limiting entry points is also important.
In addition to the prevention measures, there are many DIY products available to get rid of ants in the house. If these fail and your ant problem is persistent you may need to call professional pest control experts to remove them.
Protection against mosquitoes
The best way to avoid mosquitoes is to cover up when out of doors and wear mosquito repellent. Stopping mosquitoes getting in your home will also reduce the risk of mosquito bites. Keep doors and windows closed or using fly screens on doors and windows. Use of mosquito repellent spray and killer may also help. Mosquitoes are not currently a major pest in the UK but with future environmental changes, they may become so.
Spiders are not considered dangerous household pests in the UK. They are positive insect predators, killing and eating other insects. However, in the autumn, when spiders move indoors they may be more visible and many people dislike seeing them in their homes. Spider prevention is best achieved by blocking their entry points i.e. open doors and windows and holes in walls and wood. Removing their food sources is key. Pick up and dispose of dead flies and other insects. Vacuum regularly and remove spider webs when they appear. You can buy sprays to deter spiders from entering the home too.
We’ve explored how to protect your home from pests that are found in the UK. Generally, eliminating entry points, food source and nesting places and practicing good hygiene is essential to household pest protection, whatever the pest. If it is too difficult to undertake these prevention measures, you may want the peace of mind of pest insurance. Taking out pest control insurance will help to achieve this.