Homeowners insurance protects against unexpected damages and losses a homeowner may experience. However, most homeowners insurance policies do not cover termite damage or infestation, although some exceptions exist. Keep reading to find out more about homeowners insurance coverage and termite damage.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Termite Damage?
No, homeowners insurance typically does not cover termite damage or treatment for an infestation. This is because termites are seen as a pest that is preventable and can be avoided through regular maintenance and inspections.
Homeowners should take proactive steps, such as routine inspections, preventative measures, and termite control treatments, to prevent the costly damage caused by termites.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Termite Treatment?
No, homeowners insurance doesn’t usually cover the cost of termite treatments. Termite treatments are also considered a preventative measure that homeowners are responsible for to protect their property from damage.
Budgeting and planning for termite inspections or taking steps to prevent termites as part of your regular home maintenance is recommended.
When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Termite Damage?
Homeowners insurance may cover termite damage if it results from a covered issue, like fire or water damage, depending on your policy. However, it usually isn’t covered if the damage results from neglect or lack of maintenance.
Homeowners insurance will only cover termite damage if it results in a covered issue, such as:
- Leaking water pipes can attract termites and may be covered under water damage if the leak is sudden and not due to lack of maintenance.
- A fire caused by termites chewing through wires may be covered.
- If the house collapses due to termite damage and the homeowner was unaware of the infestation, insurance may cover the rebuilding. However, the claim would likely be denied if the homeowner was aware.
What Homeowners Insurance Companies Cover Termite Damage?
Termite damage is generally not covered by insurance companies. However, you can buy a termite warranty or termite bond from a pest control company instead.
A termite bond is a service agreement between you and a pest control company that guarantees regular termite inspections (and treatments, if needed). This is not the same as a termite letter, which is often required when purchasing a home.
The provider may pay for repairs if a home becomes infested with termites while covered under a termite bond, depending on the coverage you purchase. There are different types of termite bond protection plans, but most homeowners spend between $500 and $2,000 on one.
Pro Tip: Always carefully review the terms and conditions of the agreement before signing to be sure you’re covered.
Signs of Termites
Homeowners should watch for signs of termite activity. Termites can invade homes in various ways, so be vigilant for signs of termites in ceilings, baseboards, walls, and windowsills. If you notice any of the following signs, it is highly recommended that you contact a local termite control service to prevent infestation and further damage.
Check your home and other structures on your property for the following signs of a termite infestation:
- Banging or clicking noises: Clicking, rustling, and banging sounds in your walls could indicate termites are moving around your home.
- Discarded wings: Termites shed their wings when they find a new home. Finding wings around windowsills and other possible entry points can mean a termite colony is nearby.
- Frass: Also known as termite droppings, frass looks like piles of sawdust or small wood-colored pellets around baseboards or walls.
- Mud tubes: Subterranean termites build mud tubes to protect themselves while traveling between their nest and food sources. You’ll often find these termite tunnels along the foundation or walls of a house.
What Does Termite Damage Look Like?
Termites may severely damage structures and landscapes if not discovered and dealt with quickly enough. To protect their homes, homeowners should be able to recognize the telltale signs of termite damage, which include hollow-sounding wood, sagging flooring, and tiny holes in drywall.
- Tiny holes: Some types of termites make entry points in drywall or wallpaper, leaving very small holes. There are often spots of mud or paint damage around them.
- Floors sag: Termites can cause structural damage in flooring, leading to sagging or buckling.
- Hollow wood: As termites eat, they leave tunnels, causing wooden surfaces to sound hollow when tapped on
- Maze-like patterns: If you find damaged wood with a rough, muddy maze of tunnels, this is likely caused by termites.
How Long Does it Take for Termites to Do Damage?
The extent of damage caused by termites largely depends on the size of the colony, but on average it takes three to eight years for termites to do major damage. Large colonies have the potential to cause damage more quickly.
Also, some species of termites are more destructive than others. A mature Formosan termite colony can destroy a home within two years.
- Subterranean: The subterranean termite is not only the most common type of termite in the U.S. but also one of the most destructive. They typically live underground, and as the colony grows, they can destroy the structure of a home in five or six years.
The subterranean Fomosan termite is a major concern due to its rapid reproduction and ability to destroy a home in two years or less.
- Drywood: Forming smaller colonies, drywood termites infest attics, walls, furniture, support beams, and wood floors. While they cause damage at a slower rate, an untreated drywood termite colony can cause significant damage.
- Dampwood: Dampwood termites thrive in moist environments and infest wood with a high moisture content. They are commonly found near leaky pipes, tree stumps, or roof eaves. Although they typically cause damage slower than subterranean termites, they are more challenging to detect and can cause damage for years before being noticed.
How Much Does Termite Treatments Cost?
The total cost of termite treatments depends on the termite species, size of the infestation, and required treatments. The average cost of termite treatments is between $275 and $863, with most homeowners paying around $558. This price can be higher or lower depending on your home’s location and how much of your property must be treated.
How Much Does Termite Damage Repair Cost?
For most homeowners, termite damage repairs cost between $550 and $3,000. Termite species, wood type, wood condition, infestation size, and the presence of alternative food sources are some of the variables that affect how much damage is done to the wood.
How to Prevent Termite Damage
Preventive measures are crucial for termite control. To prevent termites from causing harm to your home, it is essential to schedule regular termite inspections by a professional pest control company. By taking the following steps, you can also reduce the chances of termite infestations.
- Prevent water accumulation near your home’s foundation. Termites are attracted to moisture, so ensure you regularly clean downspouts, gutters, and splash blocks to keep them working properly.
- Remove waste lumber or wood scraps from your yard, as it can draw termites. Consider the cost of a yard cleanup service to remove debris to keep termites at bay.
- Keep mulch away from your foundation. Mulch can attract termites and should be 6 to 12 inches away from your home. Also, seal any cracks that may develop in your foundation to prevent termites from entering.
- Protect your firewood by keeping it off the ground, stored on stands, and at least 30 feet from your home. Keeping termites out of firewood can keep them out of your home.
- Lower humidity levels in crawl spaces, basements, and attics with good ventilation or by installing a dehumidifier. With less moisture available, these spaces are less likely to attract termites.
FAQ: Termites and Insurance Coverage
Is Termite Damage Covered by Renters Insurance?
Renters insurance generally does not cover termite damage as it is seen as preventable. It primarily covers losses from events like fire or theft, which are considered direct and sudden. While landlords are usually responsible for pest control, they may not be obligated to reimburse you for items damaged by termites.
Is Carpenter Ant Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
Carpenter ants don’t eat wood like termites, but they can still cause damage by digging tunnels in wood to build their nests. Insurance companies view getting rid of carpenter ants as part of a homeowner’s regular maintenance. Even if you didn’t know about the infestation, insurance usually doesn’t cover ant-related damage to walls, floors, or ceilings.
Do Termites Eat Home Insulation?
Termites do not eat home insulation directly. However, if termites infest the walls or structure of a home, they may damage insulation indirectly by creating tunnels or voids.
When to Call a Pro
Since homeowners insurance usually does not cover termite damage, it is crucial for homeowners to take proactive measures in preventing and addressing termite infestations.
If you suspect termites are trying to invade your home, contact a local termite control company today for an inspection to keep termites from devouring your home and your wallet.