Spring officially arrives March 20th. March winds, green grass appearing under winter’s thatch, and new visitors to the bird feeder are all harbingers of Spring. So are hungry bears, even in Midcoast Maine.
Each year, in Spring and early Summer the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife receive numerous calls from homeowners who are visited by a bear. Often these visits destroy personal property or disrupt garbage.
During its winter rest, a black bear can lose up to half of its weight. Upon waking it begins to look for high-nutritional foods. The majority of a bear’s diet consists of wild plants, berries, grasses and nuts which they forage for in the wild. However, they will forage in and around homes if food sources are easily accessible there and in the process may cause property damage.
From an insurance perspective, we immediately ask “is that covered?”
Generally speaking, damage caused by a wild animal to your home or personal property is covered by a standard homeowner’s policy as long as the wild animal is not a rodent. The damage must have occurred in a single, identifiable event and not over time where the homeowner could have taken preventative action.
To avoid having your yard become a hungry bear’s dining room, especially if there are reported sightings in your area, follow these suggestions:
- Remove bird feeders when bears are active – check out Bearwise #3 article for some additional tips
- Keep garbage cans indoors until just before pick up.
- Use metal trash bins with a locking top.
- Keep pet foods stored inside.
- Hold off on putting meats and other foods into your compost pile for a few weeks.
- Keep your grills clean and empty the grease cup after each use.
If you want to learn more on how to prevent bear conflicts the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has posted an informative article, see Living with Black Bears.
If you have any questions about what is and is not covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy, we would love to talk with you. Give us a call.