As if the recent bad weather had not caused enough chaos, rats are now invading homes because councils have cut back on pest control and insurers have failed to fix drains damaged by the summer's flooding. The boss of one large insurance company says that homeowners across the country are facing misery as rat communities displaced by the recent flash floods find their way into households.
Water deluged drains and sewers of the past few weeks have mobilised rat populations previously living underground, driving them above the flood waters and in some cases through cracked drains and into homes. The nation's booming rat population – currently at 80 million – will continue to rise due to contributing factors that together present the ideal environment for the proliferation of vermin.
The combination of flash flooding, an ageing sewer system, councils cutting back on services including pest control and weekly bin collections, plus insurers failing to adequately repair damaged drains is creating the perfect breeding ground for rats in residential areas.
Home owners in the South East, Midlands and North East have already reported a surge in rat problems and unfortunately this will continue even as flood waters recede. Often home insurers refuse to fix minor drainage problems labelling these as 'serviceable' because the drainage system is still working – yet this enables rats to get into the system and cause wider problems.
Insurers, it would appear, are using vague terms to wriggle out of paying for proper repairs. Although the word 'serviceable' does not seem to appear in home insurance policy documents – and the insurance industry has failed to provide a definition for this vague term – this provides a loophole which some companies are exercising.
With the rat population thriving inside our aged sewer systems, home insurance companies have a duty to work harder for customers who have accidental damage cover. By conducting comprehensive repairs on all drains, no matter how small the damage, insurers can protect their customers from rat infestation and help curb the population increase.
Rats can swim up to half a mile, even against a current, in a sewer pipe: young rats can squeeze through a tiny hole, plus they can chew their way through building materials and pipes to create larger access points. Females breed up to 10 times a year and each litter can contain 10 baby rats – so it is easy to see how the population grows so fast.
The advice for property owners is to always insist that full repairs are carried out on problem drains to protect against rat infestation and never accept part fixes or 'serviceable' excuses from insurers. Paying out an insurance excess for part fixing a drain will not stop rats and is a waste of money. If you have any worries regarding your insurance cover for your premises, call Westhill Insurance Services. Our professional team can advise you with regard to all manner of problems caused by the recent floods and, as an independent insurance company, will shop around to find the best insurance cover for you.
No one likes rats – and chucking money down the drain won't fix them either. It's time to take on the rodents – so give Westhill Insurance a call and let us provide you with insurance which is as water tight as it can be!
Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.