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Termite damage — as well as any insect damage — is generally not covered by standard homeowners insurance policies.
But in some situations, you may be able to get compensation. Read on to familiarize yourself about the nuances of termites and homeowners insurance claims.
When does homeowners insurance cover termite damage?
In the vast majority of cases, homeowners insurance policies will not cover damage caused by termites or any other pest because they're considered preventable. But there are two cases when your homeowners insurance will cover termite damage, up to the limits of your policy:
- When the house completely collapses from termites.
- A covered risk or peril causes the termites.
Sudden house collapse
If termites or other vermin cause your home to suddenly collapse, you would be covered under your homeowners insurance policy. But there are certain conditions you have to meet first:
- Your home collapsed, which means the building fell down and broke into pieces. This doesn't include cracking, shrinking, bulging, expanding, sagging or bowing.
- The termites were hidden and caused the damage without any reasonable prior knowledge. If you knew of the infestation and didn't stop it, then you likely won't be covered.
Cause of termites is something you're covered for
If a covered risk or peril causes the termite infestation, then you may be covered.
These events can change the structure of your home and lead to a termite invasion, but proving the direct link between the damage and the termites may be hard to do. We recommend hiring a professional to assess your claim.
You also must file a claim for the initial damage caused by the peril.
Filing a claim when you're covered
After consulting with a professional and determining you have a valid homeowners insurance claim, contact your insurer right away. The company will send a claims adjuster, who may consider the infestation a result of neglect. The report from your inspector can be used to counter that a professional declared the infestation a direct result of an insurable event.
What to do if you have uninsurable termite damage
If your homeowners insurance policy doesn't cover the termite damage, there are two major ways to lower the cost of removing the pests.
- Hire a professional to inspect the termites and provide an estimate for removal. Get multiple quotes if possible, and compare.
- Based on the size of the infestation, weigh the costs of removing the termites yourself.
If you decide to take care of the problem yourself, it's important to accurately assess the size of the infestation. If you don't remove the entire colony, the damage will only continue to grow and become more expensive. In many cases, a professional exterminator will be more expensive in the short term but will be the better investment. A professional will ensure the entire colony is completely eradicated and will stop growing.
As for the damage to your home, you will need to pay for that on your own as well. Our best advice is to compare quotes from several contractors to ensure you are getting the best prices for repairs.