Is termite damage covered by insurance?

Is termite damage covered by insurance?

Termites are eusocial insects and have been on earth for around for 120 million years. Although under-appreciated, termites have a substantial role in the tropical ecosystem as they are notable detritivores of organic matter.

However, in our homes, a termite colony is nothing but pure terror, as it can gnaw and munch away all your assets, putting everything made out of wood in peril. Wood is a termite’s prime source of energy and moisture and when in contact, a colony of termites can take down entire structures made out of wood or containing cellulose.

In Australia, there are about 350 species of native and introduced termites. Among these, 40 species of termites are severely destructive. A termite colony may have as many as 10 million worker termites with a queen that can live for up to 25 years. This means that one termite colony has the potential to cause irreparable damage to your home within 12 months of mounting an initial attack.

One of the major issues with termite infestations is their covertness. As termites eat away cellulose containing substances in your home, which can range from books, wallpapers, wooden structure and furniture, they take an inside out approach while the infestation is in order. There are indeed some warning signs of termite infestation, but can often be overlooked. As a result, by the time a termite infestation is spotted, the damage can be severe.

According to a report by CSIRO, about 1 in every 5 houses in Australia are subject to termite infestation. This translates to an enormous amount of homes  - between 130,000 and 180,000 homes in Australia each year. The average repair cost of homes damaged by termites can reach up to $10,000 per year.

A report from Archicentre by the Australian Institute of Architects found that in 6 years, the total annual repair bills for termite damages has escalated from $1 billion to $1.5 billion. Additionally, substances infested and damaged by termites lose their resale value in which case, sellers incur losses in thousands. A study found that only 20% homes in Australia are inspected for termites, leaving 80% of the homes under risk of a potential termite attack.

The million-dollar question here is “Does home insurance cover termite damage?”. Unfortunately, the answer is NO.

Generally, home insurance policies are more geared towards covering you from damages imposed by sudden, unexpected events. As termites are “insects”, attacks by insects are considered “preventable”, home repair costs due to damage by termites is not included in insurance policies. In cases where termite damage is discovered in insurance claims, most of these claims at the end of the day are written off as “building defects”, leaving the homeowner with no coverage and thousands of dollars in costs. An absolute nightmare of a situation.

So, what’s the fallback plan when your home insurance will not give you coverage for damage costs by termites? The answer is prevention.  

When you build a new house, bring experts to inspect the land for possible termite nesting sites.

If you’re moving in a house which was previously owned, ask an expert to thoroughly check every nook and cranny of the house for possible infestations or risk sites.

Installing DIY termite bait stations is another efficient way to manage termites. Our exclusive DIY bait stations are easy to handle, show results and are budget-friendly. Also make sure you keep an eye out for small signs of infestations like mud tubes, termite frass, discarded termite wings may also help you spot a termite infestation early.

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