Dealing with Termites

How to Deal with Termite Damage

If you are a homeowner or are considering buying a home, then you might be familiar with the nightmare termites can be. Often unseen, these pint-sized pests need just the smallest crack in a home’s foundation to enter and turn a wooden structure into an all-you-can-eat buffet. Before you know it, they have caused extensive damage that is costly and time-consuming to repair.
While that image is in your mind, we’ll suggest that it’s never a bad idea to review your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if it covers termite damage. And in the meantime, here are a few pointers on preventing, treating, and repairing termite damage.

How to Prevent Termites

There are a few steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of an unwanted termite infestation. Termites love standing water, so make sure your gutters aren’t blocked and the grade around your property properly drains water away from the house. Check to make sure there are no cracks or gaps in your foundation that could afford termites access to the structural wood they feed on. Also, keep firewood or scrap wood well away from the house so as not to attract the pests. If you have a porch or other wooden elements, treat them with a high-grade sealant.

But all termite-control products wear off over time, so one of the surest ways to prevent infestation is to have your home inspected annually, especially if you live in a wet, humid climate like South Florida that is conducive to termites. Also, if your neighbors have been tenting, it’s a good idea to get an inspection. Misery loves company and a history of termites in the area is worth investigating.

How to Treat an Infestation

Of course, the best way to deal with termites is not to have them in the first place. But once they’re in your home, nothing matters more than getting rid of them fast. If you notice termite tunnels, come across debris that looks like excreted wood or spot termites themselves (they appear as small, milky white insects), call a professional immediately before further damage is done. You can attempt to treat the infestation yourself using either a bait treatment or a liquid treatment. But that carries the risk of not doing away with the entire colony—subterranean colonies can house hundreds of thousands of termites foraging in different directions—and localized treatments, while less expensive, don’t always get the job done.

How to Find Out If Your Insurance Covers Termite Damage

It’s generally a complicated issue, so your first step should be to speak with your insurance agent. Most agents say that termite damage is not covered by their homeowner’s insurance policy, but it is important to read your policy for yourself, because under the terms of some policies, termite damage is indeed covered. For example, a policy might explicitly exclude termite damage from coverage, but later provide coverage for “collapse.” In this case, if the “collapse” was the result of termite damage, then the same policy that excluded termite damage might in reality cover it.
If you need assistance recovering on an insurance claim related to termite damage, or merely need help determining if your insurance will cover it, give us a call to schedule an appointment today.