Homeowners insurance is a lifesaver when it comes to costly repairs from unexpected damage. The important thing to remember, however, is that your policy might not cover everything. One such catastrophe could be a termite infestation.
If you find yourself suddenly dealing with termites, you might be asking yourself a slew of questions, such as “does homeowners insurance cover termite damage?” Before that, you might be wondering what the heck termites are and why these pesky things are in your home! Let’s go over what termites do and whether insurance can help you out.
How Do Termites Damage Your Home?
According to Orkin, termites damage around 600,000 homes a year in the US, and homeowners spend about $5 billion annually on termite damage. Yikes!
Termites have been wreaking havoc for more than 120 million years. Yes, they even met the dinosaurs. They’re commonly known as the “silent destroyers” because they can go undetected for quite some time chewing through the wood around your house. They are usually not found until it’s too late. It’s important to know the signs of termites to detect them early and stop them in their tracks.
Finding Termites and Detecting Damage
Termites can be hard to detect if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Here are some of the most common signs of termites.
Termites love wood. If you take a close look at wood in and around your home, check for carved out patterns. If you suspect the new artwork in your wood is from termites, it’s time to call the exterminator.
One of the telltale signs of termites is tunnels around your home. Look around the foundation and exposed wood. The tunnels will look like mud, and resemble vines.
Doors and Windows That Feel Stuck
If you’ve been having trouble opening doors or windows, it could be due to termites. As we already know, termites like wood. So, if you have wooden doors and windows they’re going to take up residence there. This can cause other structural damage problems if they’re left to chomp away for too long.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Termite Damage?
Alright, you’ve found the problem, and it’s termites. It’s important not to panic just yet. Now that you know what’s going on, you’re going to be able to fix it! The question is, however, will your homeowners insurance cover the termite damage.
The short answer to this question is no, homeowners insurance doesn’t typically cover termite damage. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), many homeowner insurance policies will not cover termite damage, or the removal of them.
There’s a reason for this. Typically, infestations like termites are preventable with proper maintenance by the homeowner. Insurance companies see this as the homeowner’s responsibility, so see no reason to cover damage that, in their eyes, was preventable.
When you’re buying a home, you’ll need to have it inspected. Make sure that they look for termites, and termite related damage. You may be able to get the price knocked down if they find damage, and get it fixed by the previous homeowners at no cost to you.
Is There Any Scenario Where Homeowner’s Insurance Would Cover Termite Damage?
Now, there is a way that it’s possible homeowners insurance will cover termite damage. Termite damage that is just unsightly isn’t going to be covered, but most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover the damage if it:
- Causes risk or peril such as a fire
- The house collapses from the damage
You’ll need to check into your policy, but a sudden house collapse will typically be covered. That means the house will actually have to collapse and be uninhabitable. Cracks and sagging from the damage don’t count.
A house fire is unfortunately self-explanatory and will be easy to prove when filing an insurance claim, so you should likely be able to get it covered.
What Do I Do If I Have Uninsurable Termite Damage?
If you’re unable to get the termite damage covered by your homeowner’s insurance, you still have options. Hiring a professional team to remove the termites will be most efficient, but can be costly.
According to Forbes, the average price for termite removal is between $230 to $930. The team will assess your home for size, the extent of the problem, and where it’s located. We recommend shopping around and getting multiple opinions before choosing a service.
You can also look into removing the termites yourself, but it will take extensive research and may not be worth the risk.
How to Prevent Termites
If you are worried about termites, there are plenty of steps you can take to prevent them. We already know they love wood, so you can start by getting rid of their habitat. Remove all of the wood near the foundation of the house to keep them from finding a way inside.
You should also keep firewood and mulch far away from the house. A rule of thumb is to not have any exposed wood that could create an entry point for them near the foundation of your home.
You should also keep plants and moisture away, too. Having a professional come out to show you what to do will help you make sure that you don’t miss any spots.
G&G Independent Insurance is Here to Help
Looking for homeowner’s insurance? Look no further than the team at G&G Independent Insurance! Contact us today for a free quote to get started,