Working out in your front yard the other day, you noticed something strange in the wooden posts near the front door. Little holes had formed near the ground where your shrubs are, and there are all kinds of white bugs near the worst section.
Uh oh. You realize you might have termites. You begin imagining collapsing ceilings, crumbling walls, and much more. It’s your worst nightmare as a homeowner.
The question now is, do you call your insurance company? Will your policy cover the damage?
A Charlotte homeowner’s insurance policy is meant to cover you in the case of a sudden or unforeseen event that causes damage to your home and your possessions. Unfortunately, termite damage isn’t one of them because it’s preventable.
If the worst case scenario occurred, and you experienced a structural collapse, your insurance would not cover the repair to your home, but it may cover the damage to your possessions caused by the collapse. Remember, that’s a worst case situation.
With prevention, termite damage to that extent is avoidable.
PREVENTATIVE MEASURES FOR TERMITES
Before you find evidence of termites, there are several things you can do to prevent or contain the damage.
- Check the drainage around your home. Keep your gutters and downspouts free of debris and do what you can to keep water from pooling around the foundation of your house. Don’t give them a nice wet place to set up a new home.
- Check your foundation periodically and fill in any gaps you find.
- Don’t plant anything too close to your home, and don’t allow plants to grow against any wood surfaces.
- Seal the exterior parts of your home that are made of wood, especially those sections close to the ground.
- Make sure you schedule periodic inspections with a termite/pest control company. Find and get to know a good company in your area. They’ll prove to be invaluable in preventing termite damage.
Taking care of your home to prevent a problem is the best solution of all. A few minutes every few months and bit of planning will help.
CONSIDER A TERMITE BOND
While there’s no such thing as “termite coverage” under your insurance policy, you may be able to purchase something called a termite bond. Some people call it “termite insurance” but really it’s a contract between you and a termite/pest control company to prevent infestations and treat termites as needed.
Most bonds include routine termite inspections and treatments, as needed. Some companies will even pay for retreatment and repairs on future damage if their inspections and routine treatments don’t prevent an infestation. Always read the fine print and ask questions. There may be exclusions in the termite bond based on home structure, type of termite, or what exactly is covered.
Although there’s no way to use your homeowner’s insurance policy to deal with termite damage, you do have options to prevent infestations. Take care of your home, keep your eyes open, and bring in the help of qualified professionals when necessary. The old saying is true. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Image courtesy of Flickr user choking sun.