Finding termites in your home can often come as a shock and the cost of a termite (white ant) treatment is even more so. Naturally, this can be a distressing situation. In my experience, too often clients fall back on their insurance provider only to discover they’re not covered against termite attacks.
This article offers general termite advice for our local areas of Albury, Wodonga, Rutherglen, and Corowa in Australia. Your area may differ. This article does not offer advice on home insurance. You should contact an industry specialist for insurance information.
Does Home Insurance Cover Termite Attacks?
In my experience, it’s not uncommon for clients to be caught unprepared. Many of our clients have assumed that their home insurance will cover them. That makes finding out you are not covered and facing an expensive termite treatment and building repairs particularly daunting.
However, when in doubt contact your insurer for clarification. It is always better to be informed than to be caught unaware.
Why Doesn’t Home Insurance Cover Termites?
In the 1990’s the CSIRO found that between 1 in 3 and 1 in 5 houses in Australia will experience a termite attack at some point. For this reason, if termites were covered it could result in mass payouts and the potential collapse of insurance funds. Moreover, it is why pests (like rats, mice, and other rodents) and insect infestations (including termites) aren’t covered.
Home insurance is designed to cover you for sudden, unforeseen events that are difficult to plan or budget for. Termite damage is slow and gradual and can be found relatively early if you get regular termite inspections. As such, pests and insect infestations (including termites) are considered by insurance companies to be ‘preventable‘.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
Preventing termite attacks altogether is a much cheaper way of managing your termite risk. As mentioned above, insurance companies consider termite attacks to be preventable and therefore uninsurable.
Termites can remain hidden for months (and sometimes years) behind your walls, doing extensive damage and racking up a massive repair bill while remaining unprotected. However, termites move slowly and if found early can be treated before they do too much damage.
At a minimum, you should be arranging for termite inspections every 12 months, no matter the age or condition of the property.
Too often clients with modern homes are lulled into a false sense of security. Believing that the termite management systems installed at their property during construction are ‘set and forget’. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Without going into too much depth, almost all termite management systems still require annual inspections by design – see the short video below for more info.
Similarly, homes constructed with a steel frame still remain vulnerable. Termites may not be able to eat the frame, but they can still damage your joinery and timber flooring.
For homes without a current termite management system in place (this can be assessed during a termite inspection), you should arrange to have a preventative termite treatment (termite management system) done to lower your risk.
Is There Any Way to Insure My Home Against Termites?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to include termites in your home insurance coverage. As explained above it simply isn’t economically viable for insurance companies to offer a product to insure against termites.
However, most pest control companies offer warranties on their termite management systems or termite treatments. This is about as close as you can get to ‘termite insurance’.
In some cases, your pest controller may even cover the cost of building repairs if termites attack your house when you’re under their warranty.
A good pest controller will explain what their warranty covers, and if there are any challenges that affect the warranty. You will need to follow your pest controller’s instructions to reduce risk as well.