Preventing rodent and vermin damage to your caravan

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rodent damage to caravan

For a rat or mouse in need of warmth and shelter, there is A LOT to like about a holiday caravan or lodge!

These furry pests will make themselves quite at home in your happy place given the opportunity, especially when it’s cold. If they manage to get inside your unit, they’ll have plenty of energy to build a nest and anything they can get their teeth into will be fair game – paper, wood, fabric, plasterboard, and even metal. They like to burrow (hello sofas and mattresses!) and have even been known to nest in electrical appliances. All in all, there’s very little that can be considered rat or mouse-proof.

Rats and mice also tend to leave trails of urine and droppings wherever they go. This can contaminate your caravan or lodge with disease; it also sends out a ‘scent signal’ to other rodents who will be only too happy to come and join the party.

Rodents reproduce prolifically too, so their numbers can increase quickly once they’ve set up home. It goes without saying that the more of them there are and the longer they’re left undisturbed, the more serious the outcome is likely to be. But we’re not talking months here… It won’t take too many of them very long at all to cause serious damage, as is illustrated by our recent case study.

Taking steps to prevent vermin damage should be considered part and parcel of being a holiday caravan and lodge owner. It’s particularly important for owners whose parks close for the winter and those who do not regularly visit their happy place during the colder months. Your first line of defence should be good housekeeping.
Your second line of defence should be your insurance cover.

There are some straightforward, easy steps you can take to safeguard your happy place from critters, for example:

*Never block up or cover ventilation ducts/holes in your caravan/lodge. They are crucial to minimising the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Secure possible entry points

Rodents can fit through the tiniest of gaps, especially mice who are able to flatten their ribcage down if need be. They are persistent too, so will exploit every weakness in their search. All they need is a single, tiny entry point, which could be a damaged air vent or even a gap in the floor through which pipes or cables (for example water and soil pipes, or power cables) pass.

Gaps should be filled or covered with appropriate materials to deter infestation – the harder the better, as rodents’ teeth can get through the toughest of materials.

Hidden vs clear and present damage

It’s worth noting that the presence of rodents isn’t always easy to spot as they don’t like being disturbed. In a caravan or lodge their perfect spot could be within insulated panels, beneath floors, in roof voids, behind cupboards and fitted furniture. Where the extent of an infestation is unknown, but is thought to be severe, the costs of investigating the spread and severity of contamination by the removal of floors, walls, ceilings, insulation and fixed furniture is likely to be too expensive, especially given the health and safety concerns attendant with such operations.

It will probably be cheaper and safer to simply replace the unit. This is where a New for Old policy will pay dividends (as long as the Sums Insured amount is sufficient). Customers with Market Value cover would instead receive payment in line with the value of the unit immediately prior to the loss.

Vermin damage cover – the exception to the rule

While this article has focused on rodents, other vermin and pests have been known to infiltrate and/or damage holiday caravans and lodges, including birds, stoats, and insects.

Compass is one of a very small number of other specialist caravan/lodge insurance providers to offer vermin damage cover.

The outcome of this incident would have been entirely different should the owner concerned have insured with a provider that did not cover vermin damage. Does yours?

It’s worth noting that even the best insurers can’t make up for underinsurance and an average rule normally applies. If underinsurance is present, a settlement will usually be representative of the percentage underinsured. For the individuals concerned this was an expensive lesson to learn at the point of claim.

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