What To Do When You Find Rats In Your Home

Have you found an oversized rodent dropping hiding in one of your cabinets? Maybe you noticed it in the dust that you've just swept out of your basement. Either way, that one dropping is your first warning sign that you have unwanted guests moving in – you have rats. What do you do now?

Look for Further Evidence

Return to the area where you found the dropping. Begin looking all over for any holes, signs of chewing, more droppings or trails of damaged building materials lying about. You will have to move any boxes or storage bins that are stacked against the walls – these provide the perfect cover for rats to dig their way through walls and collect bedding to make a home.

When you find evidence, you know where to begin the process of eliminating them before they completely take over your home.

Bait, Trap and Kill

You have four basic options – trap the rats in humane cages, use sticky traps, set snap traps or set out bait loaded with poison. The method of elimination that you choose is something that you'll have to decide on your own – If you don't want to kill the rats, you can use humane traps that will hold them until you release them in the wild. If you want to kill them but don't like the idea of setting poison out, snap or sticky traps would be best, but if you're battling a large infestation, you'll have the fastest results by setting poison out for them to take back to the nest to share with the colony.

Note: One big problem with using poison is that the rats may not leave the house before they die. If there's an internal water source that they can rely on, they will not go outside looking for the water that the poison forces their bodies to need.

Does homeowners insurance cover any rat removal or damage repairs?

In most cases, no – you will be left footing the bill to both remove the rats and to repair the damage that your home has sustained. One thing that the insurance may cover is if the damage has caused an unexpected disaster – say the rats chewed an electrical wire and your home goes up in flames – they may cover the claim.

To better understand what your insurance will and will not cover, you will need to talk directly with your agent. There may be exclusions hiding in your policy or riders that can be added to protect you from expenses associated with pest control.