Is Termite Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

September 3, 2019

You buy homeowners insurance in hopes that it will cover any issues you have with your home. Unfortunately, no home policy covers everything that could happen to your home, including termite damage. However, there are exceptions to the rule.

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Keep reading to learn if your termite damage has a chance of being covered by your homeowner’s policy.

Standard Termite Damage

Typically, standard termite damage doesn’t fall under any homeowner’s insurance policy. While it seems unfair, there’s one reason – maintenance. Home insurance companies believe that with regular maintenance, homeowners would see a termite infestation and take care of it right away. If the termite damage gets out of control, insurance companies assume it’s due to a lack of maintenance, which they don’t cover.

The Exceptions to the Rule

Even though insurance policies have exclusions, such as termite damage, there are certain instances when they will cover it, but the circumstances are extreme.

House Collapse

This is a tricky one, not to mention rare. If a part of your house or structure collapses due to ‘hidden’ termite damage, your insurance may cover it. Proving all of the facts that lead to the housing collapse can be difficult, though.

Collapsing means literally falling to the ground – it doesn’t mean cracking or otherwise damaging without full collapse. The building or part of the building must be completely unusable in order for it to qualify. In addition, you must prove that the termites were hidden. In other words, there cannot be any way you would have known about their presence even with regular maintenance. If the insurance company proves that you knew about the infestation, but left it alone, you would be without coverage.

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The Reason for Termites is a Covered Issue

Termites occur for a variety of reasons, most commonly is moisture. If moisture is something your insurance covers, it may also cover the termite damage that resulted because of the moisture. First, you must prove the reason for the moisture, though. If it’s anything to do with flooding, you won’t have coverage on your regular homeowner’s insurance – if you have flood insurance that may cover it.

If the moisture is due to other issues, such as a leaking pipe or leaking sump pump, though, you may be covered. You will have to fight the insurance company to get coverage for the termite damage though. You’ll need to provide ample proof that the termites occurred because of the moisture – which helps if the termite damage is only in the area of the moisture.

Other issues that can bring termites include tornado damage, wind damage, and even fire. Again, you have to be able to prove that the damage occurred as a result of the original issue, such as the tornado, wind, or fire.

No matter the reason you file for termite damage, you must be timely about your claim. Letting damage sit unclaimed and untreated leaves you at risk for voiding your coverage. Typically, homeowners discover termite damage after making a claim for other issues as a result of wind or tornado damage, for example. Making the initial claim right away will help increase your chances of getting the termite damage covered. If there isn’t an underlying peril, though, the termite damage may be your own expense.

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