Does Home Insurance Cover Termite Damage? What All Homeowners Ought To Know

Termites have caused $3.9 billion worth of damage to at least 650,000 homes in Australia over the last five years. Additionally, 1 in 3 Australian homes is at risk of an infestation.

Termites seem to be a common threat to homeowners in Australia. But, the main question is: do any insurance companies cover termite damage?

Keep reading to find out the answer and discover the best practices for identifying and preventing termites from damaging your home.

 

Do any insurance companies in Australia cover termite damage?

It may be surprising, but Australian insurance providers do not cover termite damage. However, there’s an interesting reason behind it.

Home insurance doesn’t cover termite damage because termites are classified as insects. Unfortunately, home insurance policies in Australia don’t cover damage caused by insects.

Instead, insurers refer to insects as a preventable problem, which means the homeowner is responsible for the damages.

“Australians may be under the impression that their standard home or contents insurance policy will cover them if they experience a termite infestation, but unfortunately, this isn’t usually the case,” says Martine Lobo, the Head of General Insurance at Compare the Market. “Cover under your home insurance policy is usually triggered by a defined event. Termite damage is not a defined event for most, if not all, policies.”

Home and contents insurance is intended to protect your home and belongings against events that aren’t preventable, like storms, bushfires, or some types of flooding.

Don Shields, who works at Geelong Insurance Brokers and has over 40 years of insurance industry experience, states that no insurance of any type covers termites.

“All policies covering commercial or domestic property have a total vermin and insects exclusion,” Shields says. “Insurance companies buy insurance themselves, called reinsurance, to prevent them from becoming bankrupt. The reinsurers exclude vermin and insects, along with war, asbestos, and lots more uninsurable things.”

 

Buying versus renting a home

Don’t make an offer on a home until a pest inspection has been carried out. Your insurance is highly unlikely to cover the damage from the bugs and once you’re the property owner, you’ll be responsible for cleaning up the damage.

And remember that termite inspections are recommended for most properties every 6 months or at least annually, so don’t accept an outdated bill of health on a property. Just because there were no signs of termites several years ago does not mean that’s currently the case.

Martine Lobo, also had some advice for renters:
“If you’re a renter and notice termites, you’ll need to inform your landlord or real estate agent as soon as possible, as the property owner will be responsible for removing termites. You’ll also need to be honest when purchasing contents insurance for a rental property, as insurers may not approve a claim if you were dishonest about existing termite damage to your belongings.”

How would you know if you have termites?

Even if they’re located far away from your home, termites can reach your house through a series of long mud tunnels. The wood structures of your home are a good meal for termites, but when it’s colder outside they may also come inside your home to seek warmth.

In addition to wood, termites can also potentially feed on paper, carpet, drywall, insulation, and fabric inside and outside your home.

Older homes with deteriorating wood and areas with a lot of moisture and warmth are prime locations for termites. Certain house styles, like terrace houses, are also at a higher risk of termite infestations.

There are a few different signs of a termite infestation to look out for, including:

  • Hearing a hollow sound when you knock on wooden structures
  • Sagging floors
  • Easily damaged woodwork
  • Cracked paint or plaster
  • Interruptions to the power in your home

If you notice any of these signs, be sure to contact a professional like Forensic Pest Control immediately.

In terms of appearance, termites are mostly light brown to white. They have unsegmented bodies and beaded antennae. However, different types of termites can vary in size, colour, and other characteristics.

How do I get rid of termites?

The best way to get rid of termites is to call in a professional to take care of the infestation.

At Forensic Pest Control, we have two methods of controlling the situation: pre-construction measures and post-construction measures. Pre-construction measures are applied during the construction of new buildings while post-construction measures are applied to pre-existing buildings.

However, if you want to prevent a termite infestation before it happens, there are various options available to do that as well.

“There are steps you can take to prevent a termite infestation, such as regular pest inspections, implementing termite barriers, or even fixing things around the home to deter termites and other pests,” says Lobo.

In addition to regular pest inspections, Lobo recommends you should try to minimise leaks or water damage, as these create the perfect environment for termites, and avoid storing any untreated wood around your home as termites love to feed on it.

Professional termite detection should be carried out each year to allow for the prevention or early detection of termites entering your property. The inspection also informs you of any necessary maintenance issues that may need addressing to minimise the risk of termites entering the property, including drainage, leaking showers, subfloor ventilation, wood rot, moisture, and mould.

Termites are capable of causing large amounts of damage to a property in a very short period of time, so be sure to contact Forensic Pest Control for help as soon as you notice signs of a termite infestation.

 

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Amazing job by Justin today….so professional and thorough. He left no stone unturned in the aim to find the source of our unwelcome visitors!! Within a few minutes and he had identified the source, and continued to thoroughly treat the entire surrounding areas to ensure there were no other areas of concern. We’re very pleased with the service today. A big thank you to Justin for taking the time and care in your work. Much appreciated! Also thanks Janelle….we will definitely continue to use Forensic Pest Control services in the future.

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