Owners of Trashed Home: Why Couldn't It Have Been a Raccoon?

Georgia couple's insurance doesn't cover squirrel damage
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2020 9:35 AM CST
Owners of Trashed Home: Why Couldn't It Have Been a Raccoon?
A squirrel runs through London on Oct. 22, 2019.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

A Georgia couple returned from vacation late last month to find an intruder had visited nearly every room in the home they'd inhabited for only a week. That intruder—responsible for a running faucet, feces on the furniture, and wood chips across the floor—turned out to be a rather energetic squirrel. Dustin Drees was inspecting the mess in the Atlanta suburb of Buckhead, as his wife and young daughter waited outside, when he noticed a trail of tiny paw prints leading out of the chimney. "He ran across the couch, ran through the dining room. It even went in the bathroom, somehow got in the toilet, and then went in our daughter's room," the 30-year-old first-time homeowner tells the Washington Post. The rodent also chewed on doors and nearly every window frame, and somehow managed to poke holes in the glass, in its effort to get out.

Found hiding behind a couch pillow, the squirrel was assisted in its exit by animal control. But the couple say they're now left with a $15,000 bill for damages not covered by homeowners insurance. "I've had moments of wondering why we purchased this house in the first place," says 27-year-old Kari Drees. "You're supposed to have a sense of security and be protected in these types of situations, and I just feel like insurance companies find loopholes to get out of paying for things." Mercury Insurance, which offered to pay for two weeks of temporary housing, says the couple's contract "explicitly stated" that damage by birds, vermin, rodents, and insects wasn't covered. "All insurance companies we know of have similar exclusions," it adds. The couple only wishes it had been a raccoon instead. Per the AP, those damages would have been covered. (Squirrels also do a number on cars.)

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