Wild raccoon with one paw raised off the ground in front of a parked car in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a bright sunny day.

They may be cute and even cuddly, but small animals, also known as “critters”, can wreak havoc with your vehicle and your auto insurance. A single rodent, such as a squirrel, rat or mouse, can crawl under the hood of your vehicle and behind the dashboard, causing more damage than you could ever imagine.

Suddenly, you have to file a claim with your insurance company to replace all the wiring or repair damage that could easily run into the thousands of dollars. Not surprisingly, critters look for a warm place they can call home – even temporarily – protected from the elements while chewing on anything that looks or tastes good, including hoses, belts, insulation, and colorful wiring.

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The trouble with critters is, if there’s one, you can usually count on many more being in the vicinity. And, the last thing you want is a rodent infestation where your vehicle’s engine compartment becomes the main party scene for the critter crowd.

Of course, you can take precautions to avoid or reduce the chances of a rodent infestation in your vehicle, thereby, saving you the headache of filing a claim with your auto insurance company that could result in higher rates.

Below are four of the more effective ways:

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1. Use the garage

If your home has an enclosed garage, this is one of the best deterrents for rodents. Park your vehicle in the garage as often as you can, especially on cold nights after you’ve driven it for a while. Neighborhood rodents will seek out a warm place to spend the night and your engine compartment is the perfect place. Plus, if you park on the street, news will spread among the rodent community.

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2. Set a trap

Some people have a problem with this. Setting a trap seems inhumane and you may have difficulty using this method. But, it’s cheaper than replacing your vehicle’s entire wiring harness or its belts and hoses. If you’d rather, check into traps that are more creature-friendly. Whichever you choose, the bottom line is – get the critters out of there before the damage bill becomes excessive.

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3. Prevention using dryer sheets or mothballs

Expelling rodents is much harder than preventing their presence. A couple of natural repellents are dryer sheets and mothballs. Interestingly, rodents don’t like the smell of mothballs any more than we do. For that reason, many people choose to use dryer sheets because they smell better – but, not to the rodents. Be sure to place your weapon of choice in various parts of your vehicle to ward off the critters.

 

A car emitts carbon monoxide gas from its exhaust tailpipe, showing how pollution is formed.

4. Put tape on your tailpipe

This one may sound a bit strange but, if you don’t drive the vehicle frequently and it sits for long periods, taping the tailpipe can prevent a rodent from dying after being stuck in the exhaust system. Not only can this affect the performance of your vehicle, but the smell alone could make the vehicle unable to be driven while you search for the source of the foul odor.

 

Depending on where you live, critters may or may not be an issue. However, knowing a few simple tricks can help you deal with the problem should it arise. And, if your vehicle suffers damage because of a rodent infestation, you want to be sure your insurance company won’t jack up your rates.

 

Take the opportunity to compare so you’ll know where to find the best auto insurance rates available by getting a free auto insurance rate quote today.

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Small Animals Can Wreak Havoc with Your Vehicle and Insurance
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They may be cute and even cuddly, but small animals, also known as “critters”, can wreak havoc with your vehicle and your auto insurance.

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