Going over your homeowner's insurance coverage conditions is often the last thing you want to be doing after buying a house. However, if your property is damaged in unexpected circumstances, knowing the ins and outs of your coverage conditions can save you time, stress and money.
What is Homeowners Insurance?
Homeowners insurance is a form of packaged insurance that covers your house and personal property. If your house is damaged by an insured event, such as a fire or storm, your insurance provider will cover the cost of repairing and replacing the broken structures and items. Homeowners insurance also provides liability coverage if someone injures themselves within the boundaries of your property.
Remember, if you want to keep your homeowner’s insurance policy active, you need to lodge an insurance deductible and pay your insurance premium.
Will Homeowners Insurance Cover Insect Damage?
The most common type of insect damage is wood-based structural damage. Unsurprisingly, termites, which eat through support beams and house foundations, are almost always responsible for this type of damage. Although they are particularly attracted to moisture-ridden wood, termites will also eat through plaster walling and wooden furniture.
Unfortunately, homeowners insurance neither covers the cost of termite damage nor the cost of termite removal. This is because insurance providers consider termite damage to be a preventable event.
When will Homeowners Insurance Cover Termite Damage?
There are only two scenarios where your homeowner's insurance policy will cover termite damage. We’ve listed them both here:
- If the entire property structure suddenly fails due to termite damage.
- If the termite infestation is caused by an insured event, such as internal pipe leakage.
How to Detect Termite Damage?
Have You Noticed Termites?
If you come across insects in your home, be sure to check that they aren’t termites. At first glance, termites look very similar to flying ants. Termites have pale yellow bodies, twin sets of wings, and a pair of straight antennae. Large numbers of discarded wings can also indicate a termite infestation.
When termites travel from their nest, they leave behind pencil-sized mud tubes. Look out for termite tube patterns around exposed wood, house foundations, or nest-like structures.
As termites chew through wooden structures, they leave a recognizable damage pattern in their wake. Remember, termites can also damage solid wood structures – to test for interior damage, check for hollowness by tapping the wood with a metal object.
Long-term termite damage will usually result in weakened or buckling flooring. Unfortunately, the extent of termite damage is often quite significant by the time you can feel sagging floorboards and loose paneling.
What You Can Do About Termite Damage?
If your home structure has a ground-contact wooden frame, it’s a good idea to treat any exposed wood and regularly inspect the property foundations. If you have already noticed termites or termite damage, your first step should be to request a professional inspection. Depending on the size of the infestation, removing termites can cost between $500 and $5,000.
As most homeowners insurance policies will not provide coverage for termite damage, you may have to contact a pest control company to arrange a basic coverage and inspection plan. If a termite infestation is discovered in a house you are considering buying, the seller should either negotiate a lower price or eradicate the infestation before finalizing the sale.
Need More Information? Contact a Local Real Estate Agent!
If you’re a prospective home buyer and want to learn more about evaluating insurance and coverage options, consider reaching out to a local Clever Partner Agent. An experienced real estate agent can explain why different types of insurance coverage suit different types of properties and regions. They can also provide guidance on insurance pricing and connect buyers with good carriers, and top-rated local agencies.