If a squirrel chews up wires in your car, are you protected?

By Allstate

Last updated: July 2023

When you think of animals that can damage your car, squirrels might not be the first critters you think of. But squirrels and other rodents have been known to chew on car wiring, causing damage to a vehicle's electrical systems.

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Squirrels — and other rodents — sometimes take shelter by climbing up inside a car, under the hood. Because squirrels' teeth never stop growing, they constantly gnaw on things to help keep them from getting too long. Sometimes, when they're hiding out in a car, they choose to chew on the wires — which can cause electrical problems in your car.

How can you know when a squirrel has decided to camp out under your hood and chew on your car wiring? It isn't always easy to tell, but if your check engine light comes on, or your car doesn't start, those are possible symptoms. Your mechanic will need to examine the car to determine whether squirrels were the culprits.

If a squirrel does mistake your car wiring for a chew toy, is the damage covered by your auto insurance? The answer depends on the coverages you purchased as part of your car insurance policy.

Comprehensive coverage

A key step toward knowing whether damage from squirrels or other rodents might be covered under your auto insurance policy is to double-check whether you have comprehensive coverage. This type of coverage helps protect you against damage that's not caused by a collision — and that often includes damage from animals, such as squirrels.

Comprehensive coverage is an optional coverage on an auto insurance policy, although if you lease your car or are still paying toward your auto loan, your lease holder or lender may require it. If it's not required in your case, you may choose to add comprehensive coverage to your auto insurance policy, to help protect your car in case of damage or losses not related to a collision, such as animal damage, theft, fire and other causes. If you're not sure whether you have comprehensive coverage, read your policy or check with your insurance provider.

There are some steps you can take to make your car less attractive to rodents looking for something to chew on. Click here for some tips.

Whether you know that squirrels cause problems with the cars in your neighborhood, or you just want to make sure you're properly protected, it's always a good idea to be armed with knowledge.