When summer is on the way, many of the creatures we call ‘pests’ are waking up or hatching, not to mention looking for food and somewhere comfortable to live – and that could just be your home!
Whilst some pest infestations are quickly removed or destroyed, others cause so much destruction or discomfort that it is necessary to call in the experts. Their investigation and services can come at such a cost that claiming on your insurance might be the only way to pay.
And there is also the chance that they will cause damage to both your property and possessions. Wasps chew wood, moths eat clothes, mice eat almost anything they can find and woodworm are so hungry they can cause major structural damage.
If you do find pests causing a major headache that you cannot deal with simply, step one should be to check your insurance cover. Unfortunately, some household policies carry exclusions that mean you won’t be able to get a pest-related claim paid, but if you have bought a policy without this exclusion, you may be able to get financial help to cover the cost of all the efforts needed to get your home back to normal.
But before we get to that, let’s remember that prevention is better than cure.
Top pest-beating tips
- Ants and cockroaches love leftovers, so store any food you are saving for later inside a sealed container and ideally keep it in the fridge.
- Keep the lid of your kitchen rubbish bin shut. The tighter the fit of the lid, the better. The same goes for your wheelie bin, if you want to deter outdoor scavengers.
- Have a look around your house for cracks or holes in the walls or damaged vents. All sorts of vermin, including mice and rats, can get in through the smallest of gaps and once they find themselves in a comfortable home with access to food, they will be hard to evict. If you find any gaps, seal them up as soon as you can and put traps or poison near the hole in the meantime.
- Clean up immediately after a barbecue. Food waste will draw pests in from far and wide.
- Make sure trees and shrubs aren’t too close to any windows that can be opened. Pests treat trees like ladders and an open window is an invitation to invade. Rodents are also pretty good at climbing!
- Make sure your taps and pipes don’t leak. Pests need water and a puddle can be an unmissable opportunity for them to quench their thirst.
- Beetles and wasps love wood, so if you have accumulated a big pile of wood, in anticipation of the next cold snap, make sure it is far enough away from your house to deter would-be nuisances from becoming house guests.
- Check your pets for fleas and use flea collars or anti-flea treatments during the summer months. Once the fleas are in your house, they are a devil to get rid of.
- Get that vacuum-cleaner working at full blast. Regular cleaning keeps insect eggs out of your carpets.
- If you suffer from Spheksophobia (fear of wasps), here’s a very good tip. Most fabric conditioner will help keep the wasps away, so you can soak some cloth in fabric conditioner and place it in jars around your wooden garden furniture, to prevent the pesky critters from chewing away at it. They are often keen to create pulp to build their nests, so this may help you keep them at bay.
A woodworm infestation is not something to take lightly. Woodworm aren’t actually worms but highly destructive beetles or burrowing larvae. Whilst some better insurance policies will cover the damage they can cause, here are some ways to stop it happening.
- Use a woodworm treatment, to help rule out the risk.
- Paint any wooden floorboards, to stop larvae leaving the wood – something they will do when they want to hatch.
- Keep your house well-ventilated. Woodworm love to reproduce in moist wood. Check the moisture level in the timber within your home, on a regular basis.
- Check for the common signs of woodworm and immediately remove any wooden furniture affected. The things to look out for are small round holes in the wood, fine powdery dust around the holes, crumbly edges to the wood and adult beetles around the holes or in the near vicinity.
Claiming on Your Insurance for Pest Infestation
If you do find yourself in a pest-damaged property and believe you have an insurance policy that covers it, you can make one call to Aspray and let our expert loss assessors and claim handlers advise on whether your cover should compensate you for pest damage and the urgent requirement to deal with an issue.
If you call 0800 077 6705, you can get the ball rolling and access the dedicated claims support that customers often need to help them argue their case. This won’t cost you anything (other than the payment of the excess you agreed with your insurer), if you have Aspray’s vetted contractors carry-out the repairs. It could save you a lot of hassle and also help steer you away from those rather more human pests – cowboy builders!