Various pests can damage a home – termites, ants, earwigs, to name a few. In fact, termites alone cause more than $5 billion in home damage every year. But, once the damage is detected, what role does insurance play? Do homeowners policies cover pest damage? In addition to reviewing the property’s insurance policy, it’s also important to understand the extent of the damage, what pest(s) contributed and what, if any, preventative measures were put into place to avoid pests.
Insurance companies will take a close look at the type of damage and what pest(s) caused the problem. The type of pest, along with many other factors, could determine if a claim is accepted. For example, termites and ants are common pests known for causing damage, and are considered preventable because there are steps and treatments homeowners can take in order to prevent an infestation and damage.
Rats and mice also have a reputation for wreaking havoc and causing damage to a home. While insurance may consider covering repairs to wiring, walls or insulation, it likely will not cover the physical removal or extermination of these rodents.
Proof of Maintenance
Do not be surprised if the insurance company initially denies a pest-related damage claim. Many policies state it is the responsibility of the homeowner to regularly check for pests and perform necessary maintenance to prevent infestations. If a home does not have regular treatments or inspections for pests or termites, it will likely be more difficult to file an insurance claim. However, if a home receives regular pest treatments and inspections from a reputable company, and the homeowner can produce records of the pest company’s visits, the insurance company will be more likely to review the claim’s merits.
Even the best pest treatments and traps have loopholes. While it is rare, there are cases where pests find unusual entry points into a home, such as through utility lines, plumbing or damage caused by a storm (broken windows or holes torn into siding). When this happens, the insurance company may consider it unexpected damage, which is damage outside the homeowner’s control. An adjustor would determine if the damage was preventable through regular maintenance or if it was unexpected. Again, if regular maintenance is performed, make sure to contact the pest control company for records of visits.
Protect Your Property
When considering filing a pest damage claim with insurance, it’s important to have as much information gathered as possible. The more proof a homeowner has of regular maintenance and inspections, the higher the probability the insurance company will cover the claim.
At United Pest &Turf Control, we offer year-round pest prevention, including treating the exterior of the home as well as interior pest inspections as needed. For termites, our trained technicians install the Sentricon system, the number one brand in termite protection. This system’s bait stations are checked annually and refilled as needed. Pests cause billions in home damage every year. Working with a reputable pest company can eliminate the threat of pests, as well as offer security and expertise in the event of unexpected damage.
While we are pest and turf experts, we are not licensed insurance providers. If a homeowner has questions about their policy and coverage, we recommend contacting the insurance company for more information or clarification.