A house was badly damaged by an explosion after a bees’ nest blocked a chimney, leading to a gas build-up which ignited is just one example of how pests and vermin are running riot in homes, according to insurer LV=.
The home insurance firm says pest controllers report a surge in damage as rats and other rodents seek shelter from harsh winters in houses and forage for food in build-ups of rubbish resulting from less frequent bin collections.
Bees’ nest ‘bomb’ triggers chimney gas explosion:
In the worst incidents, one home was infested by 220 rats and another by 500 mice.
One in ten (9%) pest controllers have visited homes damaged by fire caused by a rodent chewing through power cables, and, according to LV= claims data, whole houses have been destroyed by fire.
More than a quarter of homes (27%) has claimed off insurance for incidents blamed on rats, mice, squirrels and foxes – and the rise has coincided with councils cutting back on collection and insisting waste food is separated from other rubbish.
The insurance firm says research also shows one in five homes (21%) has been damaged by rodents or other pests which has cost more than £500million to put right.
Three out of four (73%) householders say they have suffered from pests, like ants, wasps, mice, rats, squirrels and moths, living in their properties.
Not all home insurance policies cover pest damage, warns LV=.
Pest controllers say that any home can fall victim to rodents and pest, but older houses are more vulnerable because they may have cracks and openings.
John O’Roarke, managing director of LV= home insurance, said: “Pests are small but powerful and can wreak havoc in the home, from bees blocking chimneys and rodents chewing cables, which can destroy whole houses. The dangers of ignoring a pest problem can be devastating and those who find unwanted guests in their home should call in the experts before it is too late.”