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Squirrel ransacks home of vacationing family

Jan. 7 (UPI) -- A Georgia family said they returned home after a holiday vacation to find their home has been ransacked by a squirrel, and their insurance wouldn't cover the damage.

Kari Drees said she and her family received an alert while out of town that their alarm had been triggered, so they had a friend check on their home in Buckhead.

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"We had a friend come check it out, and our doors and windows were intact so we just thought it was a software issue," Drees told WSB-TV.

The family arrived home to find thousands of dollars worth of damage had been done to the inside of the house.

"We saw wood chippings from the door all over the floor, and as we further inspected it, all the windows had been damaged," she said.

Drees said they searched the home and discovered the culprit -- a squirrel nesting in their couch. She said the animal apparently came down through the chimney and couldn't find a way back out.

"It seems like he was trying to make his way out of the house," she said. "So, he started chewing every window, every door just trying to get out."

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A Mercury Insurance adjuster was sent to the home, but he told Drees the company does not cover damage from rodents or vermin.

"They said if it was a raccoon it would have been covered, but since we saw a squirrel, droppings, that they won't cover it," she said.

Mercury Insurance clarified the policy in a statement.

"Unfortunately, damage done to a property by birds, vermin, rodents and insects is not covered. This is explicitly stated in the contract and all insurance companies we know of have similar exclusions," the company said.

"That said, Mercury Insurance is sensitive to the situation and has offered to pay for safe housing (up to two weeks) while their home is professionally cleaned," the statement said.

Drees said her family is attempting to crowdfund money for repairs and she wants to warn other homeowners to check their insurance policies carefully.

"You would think insurance would cover you for something like this," she said. "Insurance is supposed to provide a sense of security, and it's turning into it's not providing that sense of security."

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