Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Termite Damage?

  • Termite damage is usually due to lack of maintenance, and this typically isn’t covered by homeowners insurance.
  • Homeowners insurance covers damage from insurance perils like fire, theft, or storms.
  • If termite damage is a result of a covered insurance peril, it may be covered.
  • See Insider’s guide to the best homeowners insurance companies.

Homeowners insurance protects your dwelling and personal property from damage and offers personal liability coverage. Standard homeowners insurance policies cover you for “insurance perils,” referred to as listed events, like a fire, storm, theft, or vandalism.

Does homeowners insurance cover termite damage?

Termites cause around $5 billion dollars worth of property damage a year, according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Pest World. If termite damage is due to negligence or improper maintenance, it will not be covered by homeowners insurance. 

Homeowners insurance covers damage if it’s a result of a “insurance peril” (or covered event), like a fire or storm. If termite damage is the result of a covered peril — such as a burst pipe, wind, or hail storm — it may be covered under standard homeowners insurance. 

If termite damage is not related to an insurance peril (like those listed below), then most homeowners insurance companies will deny coverage for termite damage because termites are considered pests like rodents and can be prevented with routine maintenance, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Standard homeowners insurance typically covers these perils or covered events:

  • Fire or lightning
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Explosion
  • Riots
  • Aircraft
  • Vehicles
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam
  • Sudden and accidental tearing, cracking, burning, or bulging
  • Freezing
  • Sudden and accidental damage due to short circuiting
  • Volcanic eruption

Source: Data from The Zebra and Lemonade

Signs of termite damage 

Termite damage can resemble water damage and smell like mildew or mold, according to Orkin. A pest inspector can tell you if you have termite damage. You should have routine pest inspections as part of your regular home maintenance. Below are signs that you might have termite damage:

  • Termite tunnels (like a maze) in the foundation, walls, or wood furniture
  • Holes and cracks in your wooden beams
  • Buckling or sagging floors
  • Hollow sounding wood 
  • Yellow wings typical of termites

Filing a claim for termite damage

Remember, homeowners insurance usually only covers termite damage if it’s the result of an insurance peril. If your home has termite damage due to an insurance peril, follow the steps below to file a claim.

  1. Contact insurance carrier. Your carrier may provide a list of contractors.
  2. Ask your carrier for advice to help prevent further damage. 
  3. Take pictures or video of the damage and where it is located.