Termites may never star in a blockbuster franchise like the Tyrannosaurus rex, but they demand recognition.
Both creatures trace back to the cretaceous period, surviving a mass extinction.
While the T. rex perished, termites endure, causing approximately $5 billion in annual property damage, notes the National Pest Management Association.
Does Home Insurance Protect Against Termite Damage?
Standard homeowners insurance excludes coverage for termite damage.
It addresses sudden and accidental issues, whereas termite damage is gradual and preventable with maintenance.
Poor maintenance-related problems aren’t covered by home insurance, which also excludes termite extermination fees and preventive measures, considering them routine maintenance costs.
Under What Circumstances Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Termite Damage?
Exceptions are rare, but there are instances when home insurance may cover termite-related issues.
1. Termite Damage Leading to a Covered Problem:
If termites damage your home’s wiring, causing a house fire, your home insurance generally covers the fire-related damage.
2. A Covered Problem Resulting in Termites:
Termites might be covered if, for example, a sudden pipe leak creates conditions conducive to termites, or if a storm damages your roof, triggering an abrupt termite infestation. In such cases, both storm and termite damage could be covered.
Apart from these exceptions, home insurance does not cover termites. To safeguard against termite threats, homeowners can explore pest control companies providing annual inspection and treatment plans.
Spotting Termite Damage
Recognizing termite damage is crucial for early intervention. Keep an eye out for these signs:
- Termite Tunnels: Observe muddy tubes resembling vines near the house foundation.
- Wood Damage: Detect maze-like patterns carved by termites in wood.
- Hollow-sounding Wood: Tap on wood surfaces throughout your home to identify a hollow sound, indicating termite damage.
- Cracks and Holes: Look for cracks in beams and small holes in wood and walls caused by termites.
- Irregular or Sagging Floors: Buckling floors may signify termite activity.
- Buckling Ceilings or Walls: Termites burrowing into wood can lead to ceilings and walls buckling and sagging.
- Actual Termites: Identify flying ants, as they can resemble termites.
- Shedded Wings: Discarded wings, especially after swarming, may indicate termite colonies nearby.
Types of Termites
Understanding the termite types helps in identification and prevention:
- Soldier Termites: Pale red, light brown, or white; responsible for defending the colony.
- Swarmer Termites: Dark brown or black, about four millimeters in length; reproduce and have two pairs of wings.
- Worker Termites: Cream-colored, three to four millimeters in length; maintain, build, and repair the nest, and forage for food.
Termites in the U.S.
Termites are present in all states except Alaska. Three main types are:
- Subterranean Termites: Nest in soil, feed on wooden structures, more common in southern states.
- Drywood Termites: Nest in dry wood, found mainly in select states.
- Formosan Termites: Aggressive and destructive, bore tunnels through walls; found in several states.
Taking proactive steps is crucial:
- Regularly Check Wooden Areas: Inspect door and window frames for termite damage.
- Maintain Distance: Keep plants and mulch two to three feet away from the house.
- Prevent Moisture Accumulation: Ensure storm drains divert water away from the foundation.
- Fix Leaks: Repair leaky faucets, gutters, and roofs.
- Remove Debris: Clear dead trees, branches, and plants around the house.
- Firewood Management: Avoid stacking firewood next to the house.
- Use Treated Wood: Refrain from using untreated wood for home structures.
Repairing Termite Damage
Efficiently addressing termite damage requires strategic steps:
- Inspect Your Home: Identify signs of infestation, such as tunnels or termite droppings.
- Consult Professionals: Contact an exterminator to assess the damage and recommend a suitable course of action.
- Seal Entry Points: Close cracks or crevices where termites might enter.
- Remove Infested Wood: Seek professional assistance, as temporary support may be needed for removal and replacement.
- Treat with Borate Solution: Apply a borate solution to the affected area to eliminate termites effectively.
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