Is Termite Damage Covered by your Home Owners Policy?

For most people, their home is the largest investment they will ever make. That’s why it’s so important to have homeowner’s insurance to cover the cost of repairs if the house is ever damaged by fire, earthquakes or from any other unseen event. In fact, homeowner’s insurance is so important that all banks require it before they will provide a mortgage loan.

But will homeowner’s insurance cover all damage possibilities? As most unfortunate homeowners know, the answer is no. Despite the prevalence of termites in the United States and the high likelihood that most houses will suffer some type of termite damage, most home insurance policies have an outright exclusion for covering termite damage.

Termites cause over $3 billion in destruction each year in the United States alone. That’s a lot of money that homeowners have to pay to wood repair experts like myself out of their own pocket. It’s a true shame that most insurance policies don’t cover it.

There is a small exception to this rule. Insurance companies usually cover any damage caused by a structural collapse, regardless of the cause. This includes collapses that are the result of termite infestations.

In my experience as a termite inspector, I’ve done thousands of termite inspections and have only seen a few detached storage buildings that looked like they were ready to collapse. I’ve never seen or heard of a whole house collapse.

That means that unless your home gets attacked by an especially aggressive termite colony, chances are you will have to cover all the damage yourself.

So, how can homeowners protect their homes from termite damage? Think back to that saying your mother drilled into your head, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. The cheapest and simplest way to deal with termites is to prevent them.

Make sure you have an annual termite inspection to catch infestations quickly.

While homeowner’s insurance is an important way to protect your home from many dangers and disasters, termites are not one of them.


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