Article Courtesy of WFLA Channel 8 News
By Victoria Price
Published July 19, 2019
CLEARWATER — A Clearwater
woman became something of a celebrity when a
giant alligator broke into her home back in
But now, she says
she’s getting anything but the A-list treatment from her
insurance company as she tries to claim the damages the
gator left behind.
At the end of May, Mary Wischhusen woke up in the middle of
the night to find an aggressive, 11-foot-long gator had
broken into her Eagles Landing home. The creature smashed
windows, wine bottles, and glass furniture, and left holes
in her walls.
The giant window toward the front of her home is still
boarded up with plywood.
“There’s no one willing to help me fix the problem, and I
don’t have the money to fix the problem,” Wischhusen said.
Wischhusen filed a claim under her homeowners insurance for
the window and wall damage, only to have Florida Peninsula
reject the claim about a month later.
“Because it was a gator that broke it, and they don’t cover gators,” she
explained. “If it was wind, they would have fixed it. If it was anything but
a gator, they would have fixed it.”
8 On Your Side looked into the matter and found that some homeowners
insurance policies will cover damage caused by wild animals. However,
Wischhusen’s explicitly states damage from rodents, reptiles, and other
animals is not covered.
We reached out to Florida Peninsula to find out if gator damage would or
could ever be covered under one of its policies.
Don Silver, a publicist for Florida Peninsula told us that because the claim
is on a condo, that most structural and exterior damage claims are typically
handled by the association’s policy and that applies in Wischhusen’s case.
Silver added that the denial was appropriate, based on review of
Wischhusen’s policy and claim.
“Insurance is a very complex subject to cover with companies being bound by
both statute and the terms and conditions of each policy,” Silver said.
8 On Your Side has not been able to make contact with the Eagles Landing HOA
to determine why it won’t cover the damage.
Wischhusen said the damage was quoted at thousands of dollars which she is
currently on the hook for, meaning this gator break-in could also break the