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Is There Homeowners Coverage for Roof Damage Caused by a Protected Species? 

Is there an exception to the bird damage exclusion if the homeowners tried but were unable to remove the birds because they are a federally protected species?
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is there homeowners coverage for roof damage caused by a protected species? 

A flock of vultures camped out on an insured's residential roof and caused major damage, which resulted in significant interior water damage after heavy rain. The homeowners took all reasonable actions to remove the birds but were limited in what they could do because the birds are a federally protected species. 

The homeowners insurance policy excludes damage by birds. The insurance company has agreed to cover the ensuing interior water damage but won't cover the roof. 

Q: Would there be any exception to the bird damage exclusion since the homeowners tried but were unable to remove the birds before the damage occurred? 

Response 1: Why would there be coverage? The policies are clear that damage caused by birds is excluded. You're lucky the adjuster didn't try to extend that to the interior damage.

Response 2: Ironically, this claim can be covered under a commercial property package form 10/30. Although, it must be a flat roof because the vultures eat the tar to aid digestion. Was there nesting or infestation? If not, this could be a covered loss. One of my company partners had to shell out $75,000 based on the fact there was nesting and minimal signs of defecation in their situation.

What proof has the company provided in their denial? What is their reasoning to cover the interior, and not the exterior?

Response 3: Damage by birds is excluded. The birds damaged the roof. I think that's the bottom line. I'm surprised the company agreed to pay the ensuing water damage. 

Response 4: I do not see how the insured's good-faith attempts change the exclusion. The carrier is correct to pay the resulting water damage, as ensuing water damage from it is typically covered. 

Response 5: If there was some weird exception to the exclusion, it would have to be in the form. If the home is covered under the ISO homeowners form, I don't see any way to provide coverage. The carrier would be correct in providing coverage for the resulting damage but not the damage to the roof. 

This question was originally submitted by an agent through the Big “I" Virtual University's (VU) Ask an Expert service, with responses curated from multiple VU faculty members. Answers to other coverage questions are available on the VU website. If you need help accessing the website, request login information.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023