Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Termite Damage?
While it would be nice for homeowners if every possible type of damage to your home were covered by your homeowners insurance policy, the fact is you’re only protected against certain specific types of damage. It’s important, as a homeowner, that you carefully read and understand your homeowners insurance policy so that you understand exactly what’s covered but also what’s not covered in the contract.
Pests as Covered Perils
Statistics from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reveal that each year more than $5 billion in home damages are caused by termites. In fact, at one time or another, nearly every homeowner will have an encounter with termites. When this does occur, it’s not uncommon to be blown away by the amount of damage these insidious little creatures can do. To make matters worse, the presence of these insects is often not apparent until they’ve already done significant property damage.
It might be your initial reaction to contact your insurance company in order to file a claim to help in paying the cost of repairing termite damage. The problem, you’ll soon learn, is that most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover termite damage. Homeowners insurance is designed to protect you from financial losses stemming from sudden, accidental perils, such as a fire or hurricane. Termites and other insects capable of causing damage to your home aren’t covered because they’re not accidental but, according to insurance company definition, are preventable through proper home maintenance procedures for which you are responsible.
Dealing with Termites
While it generally takes termites three to eight years to cause significant damage to a structure, they can sometimes accomplish the feat in as few as three months. Although wood is their favored diet, they can also damage cloth, paper and carpets. The best prevention against termite infestation is to avoid them altogether.
When buying a home with a mortgage, most lenders will require a pest inspection be done before the home closes and, if problems are uncovered, these must be remedied by the seller. Subsequently, regular inspections should be undertaken and termite prevention methods put into place.
By the way, if termites damage electrical wiring that causes a house fire, your insurance should pay toward the fire damage. Or, if the ceiling collapses and wrecks your TV and stereo system, your electronics should be covered. Check with your insurance agent for clarification on your particular policy.