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Last updated: August 22, 2023

Does Car Insurance Cover Rodents Chewing Wires?

Here’s the type of insurance policy you’ll need to have coverage for rodent damage.

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There are few things more frustrating than getting in your car when you’re running late only to find out it won’t start. And things get worse when you find out your car won’t start because a critter has chewed your car’s wires.

The good news is that depending on the type of insurance you have, you may not be on the hook for the repair costs. Keep reading to learn when car insurance covers rodents chewing wires, how much repairs cost, how to file a claim, and more.

Does Car Insurance Cover Rodents Chewing Wires?

In some cases, an auto insurance policy covers damage to your car from rodents chewing wires. You’ll have this coverage if you have a full coverage policy, which includes comprehensive coverage.1

Comprehensive coverage is an optional coverage that pays for damage from incidents other than collisions. For example, it would pay for damage from storms, fallen tree branches, theft, and, in this case, rodents chewing your car wires.


If you carry only your state’s minimum required liability insurance, then your policy won’t cover rodents chewing wires, and you’ll be forced to pay for repair costs out of pocket.

How Do I Know If I Have Comprehensive Coverage?

The simplest way to find out if you have comprehensive coverage is to either check your policy documents or ask your insurance agent.

If you are financing or leasing your car, then you probably have comprehensive coverage. Most lenders and lessors require that borrowers and lessees carry full coverage car insurance.

Why Rodents Chew Car Wires

There’s some debate as to why rodents chew car wires. First, many pest experts agree that chewing is a biological instinct for rodents. Their teeth never stop growing, and chewing on objects, including car wires, is a way to trim them.2

Additionally, rodents may be attracted to your vehicle because they need a place to stay safe, warm, and dry to hide from predators and inclement weather. Your car provides the safe space they need, and they find your wires in the process.

A final, heavily debated theory about why rodents chew wires is that they like the taste. At some point, vehicle manufacturers began using soy-based wiring in cars. Some people theorize that these wires taste good to rodents, and that’s part of why they chew them.

Not all experts believe this theory. However, it’s popular enough that in 2018, Toyota was on the receiving end of a class action lawsuit for using soy-based material in its wires that attracted rodents.3 A judge threw out the case,4 and while an appeals court later overturned that decision,5 the case was dismissed again in August 2022.

The Cost to Repair Rodent Damage

Rodent damage might seem like a minor problem that is relatively cheap to fix. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. According to Kelley Blue Book, it can cost up to $4,000 to repair the damage that a critter caused by chewing on your wires.6

Fixing the problem the rodents caused isn’t just about replacing the wires. You may also need additional repairs to the systems to which those wires were attached. Additionally, rodents can drag in twigs, grass, and other materials that can impact the way your vehicle runs.

When you add up the work of removing the necessary panels, replacing the wires, repairing any other damaged parts, and cleaning the space where the rodent was, you could be looking at several days to a week of work, which may require a rental car. Let’s hope you have rental car coverage as well as comprehensive coverage.


If you have comprehensive insurance, you won’t have to pay the full cost of the repairs. Instead, your out-of-pocket costs will be limited to your deductible. The average deductible is around $500.7

How to File a Claim for Rodent Damage

The process of filing an insurance claim for rodent damage is the same as filing a claim for any other damage. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Check your insurance coverage. Read your policy to make sure you have comprehensive coverage that will pay for rodent damage. You can also check to see if your policy includes rental car coverage for the time your car is in the shop.
  2. Document the damage. Take pictures of the damage to submit along with your claim. These pictures will help your insurance agent understand the extent of the damage.
  3. Contact your car insurance company. Depending on the insurance company you use, you might be able to file a claim via the website or mobile app. Otherwise, you can file the claim with your insurance agent directly.
  4. Get an estimate. Before your insurance company pays out the claim amount, it will usually require that you get an estimate for the cost of damages.
  5. Complete the repairs. Depending on your insurance company, you might receive a check for the cost of repairs (minus your deductible), or your insurer might send it to the repair shop directly.

How to Prevent Rodents From Chewing Your Car Wires

Even if you have an insurance policy that covers rodent and animal damage, it’s still best to avoid that situation altogether. Here’s what you can do to prevent rodents from chewing your car’s wires:

  1. Park your car inside whenever possible. You’ll reduce the chance of a rodent being able to access your vehicle.
  2. Remove food sources. Food and garbage around your car can attract mice, rats, squirrels, and other animals. Keep food sources away from your car, if you want to keep your electrical wires intact and protect your car.
  3. Use repellents. Buy repellant sprays and other products designed to deter critters from getting into your car.
  4. Move your car regularly. If your car sits for a long period, it may be more likely to fall victim to rodents.
  5. Check for potential entry points for rodents. Sealing off these entry points, which can include holes in the body of your car, such as those that can occur from rust or collisions, prevents rodents from being able to get inside.


Even the most well-maintained vehicle can fall victim to rodent chewing. And unfortunately, the cost of repairs can reach thousands of dollars. The good news is most comprehensive insurance policies cover damage caused by rodents. Additionally, there are steps you can take to prevent critters from being able to get into your car in the first place.


Can rodents damage a car’s engine?

Yes, a rodent can damage a car’s engine by chewing on its wires and leaving debris on or in it. In fact, your check engine light is often the first sign that rodents have gotten into your car.

What will drive rodents away?

There are repellants that keep rodents away from vehicles. These repellents come in the form of sprays and pouches, and even plug-in devices, that you can put near your car.


  1. If a squirrel chews up wires in your car, are you protected? Allstate. (2014, Feb).

  2. Protect Your Car Wiring from Rats, Squirrels and Other Rodents. Terminix. (2023).

  3. Toyota Soy Wiring Class Action Lawsuit Resurrected. AutoBody News by GoParts. (2020, Sep 21).

  4. Judge tosses lawsuit against Toyota over rats gnawing on car wiring. Detroit Free Press. (2018, Jul 3).

  5. Heber v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT. Case available via CaseText. (2020, Aug 19).

  6. Is Rodent Damage Covered by Insurance? Kelley Blue Book. (2022, Jan 25).

  7. How Do Auto Insurance Deductibles Work? American Family Insurance. (2023).