ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- A week after a family purchased their first home, they left for a week to visit family for the holidays.

While gone, a squirrel fell down the chimney! The flue was left open by the previous owners and the Drees family hadn't yet noticed.

The squirrel ran throughout the house for a week, causing extensive damage. 

Squirrel feces were everywhere, including on their bed. Scratched floors, chewed baseboards, chewed window frames and door frames.

The squirrel even managed to turn on the hot water in the kitchen sink and leave it on for several days. It swam in the toilet. Eventually, the squirrel burrowed itself in the couple's new sofa, where it built a nest.

After calling Mercury Insurance the adjuster informed the family they will not cover any of the damages because "a squirrel is a rodent." Yet, told them if it been a raccoon they would cover the damages.

Frustrated homeowner Kari Drees said homeowners have insurance to cover freak accidents like this. "Home insurance is supposed to provide a sense of security. We are overwhelmed with what we are supposed to do, and how we can fix all the damage that was done." she said.

Drees said just to get the home clean and sanitized is more than $2,000. Which does not include cleaning or replacing furniture or repairing the windows and door.

Mercury Insurance issued this statement: 

When Mercury Insurance received the claim on January 1st (last Wednesday), we sent an adjuster to the property and learned that -- in fact -- a squirrel had found its way into their home. This was confirmed by the "critter catcher" company that removed the squirrel. 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. 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.

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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