A plague so biblical, it wouldn’t be amiss in the book of Revelations. Yes, we’re once again talking about the mouse plague occurring in rural and regional NSW, that is reported to be spreading to Sydney in the coming winter months (experts say no, but a mouse map app has had an uptick in reported sightings in metropolitan areas).
It’s causing hundreds of millions in damages, and hundreds of hectares of farmland are being wiped out because of these tiny little rodents. Although recently, there was a Mouse Control Program announced, it’s limited to a $500 rebate for eligible households, a $1,000 rebate for eligible small businesses, and free mice bait for farmers — not nearly enough for the damages people are facing.
In fact, in one instance, the mice caused a house fire that resulted in the destruction of the property — all because mice chewed through electrical wires. Unfortunately, in this instance, the family did not have house insurance, so will have to rebuild their home and possessions from scratch.
However, as Insurance News reported on May 17, when it comes to insurance policy coverage, vermin damage “has always been an exclusion” and farmers are expected to absorb it as “a business risk.”
Or, as Finder insurance specialist Taylor Blackburn puts it “While the current situation in New South Wales and Queensland is unprecedented, not to mention heartbreaking for those involved, it doesn’t change the way insurers cover rodent damage. In other words, it’s still the homeowner’s responsibility to fork out for the damage, not the insurer.”
However, three home insurance policies do give you cover if “the damage done by rodents results in a fire or sudden escape of liquid.” These include Australia Post, Domain Insure, and ANZ. In fact, in a press release distributed on May 28, ANZ announced it is providing “financial support for customers dealing with the mouse plague in regional Australia”, which may include the waiving of fees and temporarily pausing loan repayment.