Does Home Insurance Cover Termites? Everything You Need to Know

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Termites can cause serious damage to your home, but does home insurance cover it? Find out why termite damage is usually excluded, when it may be covered, and how to prevent and detect termites/PHOTO COURTESY: Getty Images

When I bought my first house, I was so excited to move in and make it my own.

I had big plans for renovating the kitchen, painting the walls, and landscaping the yard.

But before I could do any of that, I discovered something that made my heart sink: termites.

Termites are tiny insects that feed on wood and can cause serious damage to your home.

They can eat away at the structure, the floors, the walls, and even the furniture.

And the worst part is, they are often hard to detect until it’s too late.

If you’re wondering if home insurance covers termite damage, the answer is usually no.

Home insurance policies typically exclude damage caused by insects, rodents, and other pests.

That’s because termite damage is considered preventable and not a sudden or accidental event.

However, there are some rare exceptions when home insurance may cover termite damage.

In this article, I’ll explain what those are and how you can protect your home from termites.

Is termite damage covered by insurance?

Home insurance covers damage caused by sudden and accidental events, such as fire, storm, theft, or vandalism.

Termite damage is not sudden or accidental, but gradual and avoidable.

Therefore, home insurance does not cover termite damage.

The only exception is when termite damage leads to or results from a covered peril.

For example, if termites chew through your electrical wiring and cause a fire, your home insurance may cover the fire damage.

Or if a storm damages your roof and allows termites to enter your home, your home insurance may cover the storm and termite damage.

However, these scenarios are rare and depend on the specific terms and conditions of your policy.

You should always read your policy carefully and ask your agent if you have any questions.

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Home Insurance Covering Termites

Coverage Explanation Example Scenarios
Covered:
Limited Coverage: – Sudden and accidental termite damage: If termites cause sudden and unexpected damage, like a collapsed ceiling or cracked foundation, some policies may cover repair costs (often with high deductibles or specific limitations). – A swarm of termites quickly damages wooden beams in your attic, leading to a ceiling collapse.
Additional Coverage: – Termite inspections and treatments: Some policies offer optional add-ons to cover professional termite inspections and treatments. – You purchase an optional termite coverage clause and schedule a preventive inspection, which detects an early infestation. The policy covers the cost of treatment.
Not Covered:
Preventable damage: Most policies exclude gradual termite damage that could have been prevented through routine maintenance. – Over the years, termites slowly damage wooden floorboards due to lack of proper ventilation or moisture control. This damage is not covered.
Existing infestations: Many policies won’t cover termite damage present at the time of purchase, as it’s considered a pre-existing condition. – You buy a house unaware of a hidden termite infestation. The damage found later is not covered.
Cosmetic damage: Purely aesthetic termite damage, like minor wood warping or discoloration, is typically excluded. – Termites slightly damage wooden trim without affecting structural integrity. The repair costs are not covered.

How do you get rid of termites?

If you suspect you have termites in your home, you should act fast and call a professional pest control company.

They can inspect your home, identify the type and extent of the infestation, and recommend the best treatment option.

There are different types of termites, such as subterranean, dry wood, and damp wood.

Each type requires a different treatment method, such as liquid, bait, or fumigation.

The cost of termite treatment can vary depending on the size of your home, the type of termites, and the severity of the infestation.

Unfortunately, home insurance does not cover termite treatment costs.

That’s why it’s important to prevent termites from entering your home in the first place.

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How do you prevent termites?

The best way to prevent termites is to keep your home dry, clean and well-maintained.

Here are some tips to prevent termites:

  1. Fix any leaks or moisture problems in your roof, pipes, gutters, or foundation.
  2. Keep wood, mulch, and firewood away from your home’s foundation and siding.
  3. Trim any trees or shrubs that touch your home or roof.
  4. Seal any cracks or gaps in your walls, windows, doors, or vents.
  5. Use treated wood or metal for any outdoor structures, such as decks, fences, or sheds.
  6. Inspect your home regularly for signs of termite activity, such as mud tubes, wood damage, or discarded wings.

You can also hire a pest control company to perform annual inspections and treatments for termites.

Some companies offer termite warranties or guarantees that cover the cost of future treatments or repairs if termites return.

However, these warranties may have limitations and exclusions, so make sure you understand the terms and conditions before you sign up.

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What does termite damage look like?

Termite damage can be hard to spot, as termites often hide inside the wood and leave little evidence on the surface.

However, some signs can indicate termite damage, such as:

  1. Hollow or soft-sounding wood when you tap or knock on it.
  2. Cracks or holes in the wood or walls.
  3. Sagging or buckling floors, ceilings, or walls.
  4. Blistering or peeling paint or wallpaper.
  5. Termite droppings, which look like small, dark pellets.
  6. Termite wings, which are shed by swarmers, the reproductive termites that fly to find new colonies.

If you notice any of these signs, you should contact a pest control company as soon as possible.

The longer you wait, the more damage termites can cause to your home.

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