One question we often get is, “Does My Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover Termite Damage?” This is a reasonable question but should be discussed with you insurance agent to be sure.
A Home is one of the largest investments most families will make, so the question is a legitimate one, especially with insurance premium costs these days. Having the proper protective policies, homeowners insurance and warranties in place to protect your investment is something every family should be concerned with long before destruction occurs.
Today we will discuss your homeowners insurance policy and find out if it covers termite damage. We will also explore ways to prevent termite damage from occurring as we try to help you protect one of your largest investments.
So, Does My Homeowners Insurance Cover Termite Damage?
Unfortunately, most homeowners insurance policies will not cover termite damage. Such policies are usually in place to protect against natural disasters, fires, storm and flood damage, and other damage which is sudden, unexpected and unpreventable. Termite damage is preventable and pest control companies have been stating this for years. The problem is that many homeowners don’t bother protecting their greatest asset from termites, until it has already sustained damage.
Damages like this found in a floor joist are just one of the many reasons you need termite protection in place before damage occurs.
Is Termite Prevention Worth It?
For years, Four Seasons Pest Solutions has been urging customers and the general public to invest in preventative care against termites. We say it over and over but still, it falls on many deaf ears. So when termite damage occurs, homeowners immediately rush to their insurance policy for some quick relief from the costs associated with those damages. Most are shocked when the claim is rejected and the costs fall back on them.
Termite damage is not something that happens overnight. It’s a long process which can span months, years and even decades. Insurance companies refuse to cover what the homeowner has allowed to slowly destroy their home. Can you blame them? You had the chance to spend a miniscule amount of money to protect against termites and chose rather to allow them free access. If you were an insurance company, you would refuse it too.
Tens of thousands of dollars in repair costs can result from termite damage. Plus, once you find them, a termite treatment is an absolute must. But what if you had gotten that preventative treatment 5 years ago? What would it have saved you? Let’s break that down in a scenario we recently addressed.
A Case of Should Have, Could Have, Would Have
“If only we known that termites were going to do this, we would have had a termite treatment when we first bought the house!”
Mrs. Dimitri and her husband purchased their home in August of 2015. They had a termite inspection and it revealed no visible signs of termites. They thought they were safe, especially since the home had just been built. We offered a preventative treatment and recommended it take place before they moved in. Our proposal was rejected and the Dimitris chose to leave the home vulnerable to termites.
A Shocking Surprise
In early April of 2020, something they never expected to happen, shocked them to the core. A swarm of termites had emerged from the living room floor and had covered the floors of the main level. To put it lightly, there were tens of thousands of swarmers!
The Dimitris called Four Seasons Pest Solutions and wanted an inspection and treatment right away. Upon inspecting the crawlspace, it was discovered that around 25 floor joists, a band board, seal plate and main beam were damaged by termites. This is just what we could see. What was hidden would turn out to be even worse.
Turning to their homeowners insurance for some relief from the termite damage repair costs, the Dimitris were promptly rejected. They were now faced with hiring a contractor out-of-pocket to asses and repair the damage. Upon inspection and assessment, the contractor found that the termites had also infested the exterior wall of the back side of the home. Roughly 5o linear feet of wall had been attacked.
Termite swarmers, like these in this graphic art, can emerge as early as February. This is a sign that termites have likely been active for at least 4 years.
The Costly Truth About Leaving Your Home Open To Termite Damage
We performed our treatment and got the Dimitris set up on a strong and solid warranty. In their case, the termite treatment cost was $1500.00 with an annual warranty fee of $125.00. To put this in perspective, if they had taken the treatment in the beginning, they would have invested $2000.00 in their preventative treatment including 4 years of warranty, at the time termite damage was found. Instead, they were faced with a repair bill of over $15,000.00 and still had to pay for treatment costs.
The point of this particular case is that we could have saved the Dimitris $15000.00 if only they would have opted for the preventative termite treatment when it was offered. Their home would not have needed to be torn apart for repairs and they wouldn’t have been displaced from it for several weeks, living in a local hotel. The cost alone is staggering but being temporarily displaced from your home is equally unfortunate. Yet, every homeowner has the opportunity to prevent a similar scenario from occurring at their own home. It’s called preventative termite control and every home ought to have a plan with a warranty in place.
Why is Termite Damage Considered Neglect?
For a couple reasons in fact: because it was preventable and it happened over a period of time. The average colony of termites will usually take around four years to mature and produce swarmer termites. In that time, routine inspections and preventative measures could have prevented the colony from surviving, thus preventing structure damage.
So your agent is correct when he says you’re not covered, and rightly so. You wouldn’t expect your auto warranty to cover failure to change oil, would you? Of course not because that is neglect. It may seem like you’re saving money by not changing the oil, but really, you’re setting yourself up for catastrophic engine failure!
When it comes to termite damage, not having preventative measures in place is like inviting termites in and offering them free room and board with an all-you-can-eat buffet; your home! It should come as no chock when you find out they accepted the invitation.
Along with Treatment, There are Complimentary
Ways to Help Prevent Termites
Like all pests, termites require shelter, food and water. Like a stray animal, if it doesn’t find these things at your home, it will simply move on. That’s why along with preventative treatments, it’s equally important to employ other preventative measures.
Ways to Prevent Termite Damage
The first step in reducing the possibility of termite damage is to keep them from entering your home. Besides preventative treatment, here are some ways to help ensure they don’t enter:
- Immediately repair any water leaks
- Reroute standing water away from the structure
- Keep firewood and other stored cellulose materials 20 feet from the structure and 6 inches off the ground.
- Maintain clean gutters and working downspouts
- Route downspout exits away from the structure
- Don’t use mulch against the foundation
- Remove any dead wood and stumps near the structure
- Keep landscape plants away from the structure’s foundation.
Although these measures can help reduce the chances of an infestation of termites, they are not full proof. A preventative treatment is your best line of defense against costly infestations and repairs from termite damage. A little money invested now can save you a whole lot of money down the road.
What Does Four Seasons Pest Solutions Offer for Termite Prevention Since Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover Termite Damage?
We use several products in defense against termites. Our preferred product is Termidor. Termidor is an industry leading termiticide with spectacular results and a track record that’s impeccable. With Termidor, we can guarantee against infestation for as long as 10 years!
Termidor, as well as other termiticides, is applied to the structure foundation, providing a continuous barrier of treatment in the soil around the structure. The liquid termiticide is applied sub-soil and sub-slab. This means it goes into the ground and beneath the surface, where termites live and forage for food. Here, it intercepts the termites as they go about their regular routine.
Are Termite Treatments Safe?
We receive this question very often and the quick answer is yes. When termiticides are used in a manner consistent with their label instructions, they are completely safe for you, your family and your pets. Termiticide labels go as far as to instruct how to treat near well water and streams to avoid contamination. Respecting and following the label is what professionals do every day. You can always trust Four Seasons Pest Solutions to provide a safe and secure termite treatment every time.
How can I know if I have termites?
There are several signs of termite infestation. Among the most common are swarmers, mud tubes or mud tunnels and damage. Keeping an eye out for these three signs will help you identify an infestation but not prevent it.
Once termites have discovered a viable food source within your home, they will work tirelessly to expand their colony and eat every gram of wood they can. After they are present for around four years, they will begin sending swarmers out to start new colonies. This can happen from February until mid June or later, and can peak during April or May in Kentucky and Tennessee.
What Should You Do if You Suspect You Have Termites?
If you suspect a termite infestation in your home, it may be too late for preventative care. It could be that serious damages have already occurred. You need a full termite inspection and a treatment plan. This needs to be performed by a licensed, insured and reputable pest control company like Four Seasons Pest Solutions.
Our fully trained and qualified inspectors are ready to take care of your deepest concerns and implement plans to help you rest easy knowing you are covered with a great treatment backed by the warranty of a great company. We’re ready for your call! Homeowners Insurance may not cover termite damage, but Four Seasons Pest Solutions can stop it from ever happening!
And remember, it’s okay to live among pests… but you don’t have to live with them!