Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Termite Damage?
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Termites are pesky little insects that can wreak havoc on your home. These tiny creatures have the ability to bite through wood, metal, plastic, furniture, support beams, siding, and pretty much any matter you will find in and about a home. Unfortunately, by the time you find out you have termites, considerable destruction has probably already been done.
Since homeowners insurance policies are meant to cover sudden and uncontrollable accidents and events, termite damage is not typically covered. In fact, most home insurance companies do not offer termite damage as a covered peril even if you want to pay additional fees to do so. That said, here are a few tips to help mitigate the nightmare of termite damage from your home.
How to prevent termites
The first step to stopping termite damage is to prevent it from happening in the first place. There are several things you can do as part of your routine home maintenance to keep these pesky insects away. Termites need food and moisture to survive. They especially like eating wood.
With this in mind, keep wood containers like raised gardens and landscape timbers away from the foundation of your home. Also, keep water from building up in the areas around your home’s foundation. A good practice to follow is to create a four-inch gap between your home’s foundation and any mulch, wood, plants, or moisture. This includes positioning rain gutters to deposit water a few feet from your house.
For added protection before you suffer any property damage, look into preventative treatments against termite infestation. You can have your home regularly treated to create consistent barrier protection. In most parts of the country, a termite inspection and a foundation treatment is required when selling or buying a home by mortgage companies before the sale can go to closing.
The pest control company Terminix lists valuable information on treatment options based on the type of termite, geographical location and environmental concerns.
How to identify termite presence
No matter the type of termite, they leave telltale signs of their presence easily found if you know what to look for. One of the first indicators is wood damage. Sometimes termites leave a sporadic pattern in the wood they’ve been eating at it. Termites can also leave tunnels around your foundation and the exterior of your home that look like vines made from mud.
As the infestation grows, you will start to see more of the insects themselves. They have a similar appearance to that of ants, but they have two sets of wings, straight antennas and are light yellow in color. Termites also tend to leave evidence of their presence by accidentally dropping a wing or two where they’ve been.
How to get rid of termites
If you discover you have termites, there are several ways to get rid of them. If you’re especially lucky, you’ll discover these pesky insects before they cause much damage. In this case, it may be as simple as a do-it-yourself pesticide treatment. You can also bring on a professional exterminator to treat the area. If damage is more extensive, it may require you to remove the damaged area to include walls, plaster, and more. The area will have to be treated and repaired, and that could cost thousands of dollars in time and money. This is why prevention and identification of termites is so important.
Termites cause homeowners millions of dollars in structural damage every year. Knowing how to prevent termite infestation, how to identify termites before too much damage is done, and how to get rid of them if infested will go far in preventing a significant dent in your bank account, even though termite coverage is not generally included on home insurance policies.