What Is National Termite Awareness Week?

26 Mar

This week is National Termite Awareness Week so we thought we would have a look at what type of damage these nasty, voracious little creatures can do to your home and if it is covered by your homeowners insurance.

Termites can be found in dozens of states but Southern California has a heavy concentration of these nasty bugs and they do millions of dollars in damage every single year. Cities like San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco all have major issues with termites and unfortunately, in most situations the homeowner is on the hook for the damage.

In Southern California, one of the most common types of termite, especially in the beach communities is the dry wood termite. They tend to live in garages, the walls of structures and attics. They enter the house on summer days and come in through cracks, knotholes and vents.

Formosan termites are also common in California, especially in cities such as San Mateo, Redwood and San Jose. These termites live in colonies that average 350,000 workers. They not only love to eat houses but infest utility poles, trees and shrubs.

A few facts about termites

  • Termites eat 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A colony will create a cup of sawdust every two hours. A colony of Formosan termites can eat the entire structure of a house in two years.
  • Termites cause a total of $5 billion in damage every year.
  • The total weight of all the termites in the world is more than the total weight of all of the humans in the world.
  • Winter weather will slow down a termite colony but does not kill them off.
  • Termites have been around since the time of dinosaurs.

Am I covered?

If you have had the bad luck of a termite infestation, you probably can’t depend on your homeowners insurance to help cover the cost.

Insurance carriers consider pest infestations a maintenance issue. They assume that the infestation could have been prevented if the homeowner had detected and eradicated the termites before it got out of hand and damaged your house.

This means that you are on the hook for cost of the repairs, which can be extensive depending on the damage that has been done.

While it may seem unfair, homeowners insurance is set up to cover sudden and accidental incidents say industry experts. This is why it is extremely important to have a separate termite inspection done if you are in the process of buying a home in California or any state that is prone to termite outbreaks. In many cases a normal home inspection may miss the signs of a termite infestation.

If you suspect termites have invaded your house, call in an expert immediately. The sooner you discover and eliminate the problem, the less damage they will be able to do to your home.

There are a few circumstances where termite damage may be covered but in many cases the damage has to be quite severe. If termites manage to eat through a support beam and your roof collapses, the damage would be considered “sudden and accidental” and your roof would be replaced. Every situation is different so check with your insurance agent to see if your particular termite damage is covered.

While most of us will not be throwing a parade to celebrate National Termite Awareness Week, you may want to consider having your home inspected by a licensed professional. An inspection can give you peace of mind and if your house has been invaded, clearing them out quickly will result in huge savings in the long run.

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