Did you know that termites lived amongst the dinosaurs? For 100 million years, they've done their job in the ecosystem, helping to decompose the tough cellulose in dead tree stumps. But when they're gnawing on the wood that makes up your walls or window casings, they quickly earn the moniker "pests." Here's the lowdown on how termites can damage your home, how to spot trouble, and if your homeowners insurance covers termite damage.
What types of damage do termites cause?
Termites gnaw and scrape wood, causing damage to everything from furnishings to wood paneling to the frame of your house.
How much damage can termites cause?
Left to their own devices, termites can do significant harm to your home—even causing structural damage. Over time, a thriving colony of these wood-eating insects can weaken floors or ceilings, causing them to collapse.
How can I spot termite damage?
Signs of termite damage include:
- damaged wood (especially wood that sounds hollow when you tap it).
- buckling wood.
- swollen or blistering floors.
- swollen ceilings.
- pencil-width mud tubes. Termites build these sheltering tubes from soil, wood, and their own saliva.
- little pellets made of wood (i.e., termite droppings).
- shed wings, especially near windows and doors.
- a moldy or mildewy scent.
Does homeowners insurance cover termite damage?
Homeowners insurance doesn't usually cover termite damage. Home insurance protects you from sudden and accidental problems, not troubles like insect damage, which occurs slowly over time and can be prevented with regular maintenance.
How can I prevent termite damage?
Take these steps to prevent termites from making a meal of your home:
- Cut off termites' food supply. Avoid stacking firewood next to your home and keep plants a few feet away from your house.
- Prevent moisture. Termites love to munch on soft, rotting wood, so check for leaks. Repair any leaky faucets, seal up leaks in your roof, and make sure that storm drains empty a few feet away from your home.
- Use pressure-treated wood on your home and deck. This type of wood contains preservatives that make it both rot- and termite-resistant.
- Conduct regular termite checks. Check the wooden parts of your home, such as door and window frames, for signs of termites.
- Hire a pro. Whether you spot termite damage or not, having your home inspected by a trained termite professional can provide peace of mind.
Award-winning AAA insurance agents can help you find the right coverage for your needs. Call (877) 323-4222 or request a quote online to get started.