Is Pest Control Covered by Homeowners Insurance?◀ Back To Blog
June 3, 2013
Many standard home insurance policies purchased today cover damages caused by storms, fire, and theft. But is pest control covered by homeowner’s insurance? It may be possible to find coverage for collateral damage caused by insects and other pests, but generally homeowners insurance coverage for pest control is not available.
The question, “ Does my homeowners insurance cover pest control?” can be answered simply by contacting a representative of your home insurance provider. But typically, most insurers will not cover homeowners for pest removal or damage caused directly by pests.
However subsequent damage such as fire or flood caused by vermin chewing through a pipe or wire, may qualify as protected. Of course, after the damage is done, you will still need to hire a pest control service to resolve the rodent issue or pest problem in the home. Additionally, there could be additional costs associated with repairing structural damage, electrical or plumbing issues or replacing damaged furniture, clothing or textiles.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Termites?
Depending on the age of your home and where it was built, the extent of insect and pest damage can be great or small. Some damage is to be expected over time and is generally treatable-- and so not cause for an insurance company to underwrite it as a risk. Termite damage in particular is a problem that is typically detected during your home inspection.
Most banks and other loan providers want to know if your home suffers from infestation caused by termites, and to what extent termite damage affects the home’s foundation and other wood structure. Insurance might provide coverage for repair to collateral damage to your home.
According to Insure.com and David Thompson of the Florida Association of Insurance Agents. Under most standard homeowners policies, the collapse of a home is covered if hidden insect or vermin damage caused it. The keyword there being "hidden", which means the homeowner can't see the damage. So if you are unaware of an issue then the damage resulting from a collapse is covered, but the actual damage done by the offending pest is not.
For example, termites infest a wall and chew through a beam under your home and the house collapses. The cost to replace the beam is $2,000. The damage to walls, floors, and roof trusses is about $25,000. The $2,000 beam is not covered, but the other damage is covered, According to Thompson.
If you discover termites in the home and suspect damage is being caused, contact your local pest control company immediately, because as damage continues and manifests itself the visual nature of the damage and risk may impact your insurance company’s response. Unfortunately, termites aren’t the only pest that can cause serious home damage.
Are Bed Bugs Covered Under Homeowners Insurance?
They’re small, wingless creatures that feed on the blood of people and other animals. They usually don’t move more than a few feet from their hosts. They will infest your mattress, linens and box springs, and may be found in curtains, under tables and dressers. Sometimes they’ll even hide in electrical switches and behind wallpaper. What are they? Bed bugs.
Nearly 100 percent of the pest control companies said they had worked on one or more bed bug infestations in 2012. Bed bugs are found almost anywhere people sleep — homes, hotels, motels and college dorms. Your challenge as a homeowner is that your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover the damage done by bed bugs.
Locating and treating the eggs, adults and juvenile bed bugs is key to success. DIY bed bug solutions are often ineffective and frustrating, leading homeowners to make poor decisions. This leads to the misuse of chemicals, and/or unnecessarily throwing out beds, linen, curtains, clothing, tables and chairs and pull wallpaper off of the wall, which creates additional expenses.
Unfortunately, your home insurance doesn’t cover damage caused by the bed bugs; insurance pays for what they consider “sudden” and “accidental” damage to your home. For example, if a tree limb breaks off during a storm and breaks a window in your home, insurance covers that. But if damage to your home occurs because bed bugs have been living in the house for a month, that damage is not covered.
Consult with a bed bug removal service that has experience exterminating bed bugs before attempting any DIY steps.
What Other Pests Can Cause Home Damage?
- Carpenter ants and powder post beetles – These are wood-damaging insects that make their nests in the wood. They lay eggs that hatch and become mature adults. They bore little tunnels through the wood and over the years, it weakens until it finally breaks. If you see tiny piles of unexplained sawdust, this could indicate you’ve got these pests.
- Bats, rats, squirrels and birds – Fortunately, these creatures are large enough that you can hear their activities in your ceilings and walls. The damage is usually from their nesting activity. If you hear the pitter-patter of feet in your walls or attic, be proactive! Wildlife can quickly take over a structure to shelter themselves from the outdoor elements. Contact your Albany wildlife removal company to prevent any damages before they begin.
- Bees, wasps and hornets - While these flying insects have the potential to cause damage to roofs, generally speaking an infestation in your roof is often a sign of pre-existing damage. Wasps, hornets and bees are likely to take advantage of loose shingles or cracks in the roof and use those vulnerabilities to build their nests. While the nests themselves are unlikely to worsen existing damage, during warm weather months, melting wax and honeycombs can result in an extensive mess. Additionally, carpenter bees, wood wasps and horntail wasps can cause further damage to wood structures.
Determining If a Home Insurance Policy Covers Insect and Pest Damage
As we mentioned earlier, the best way to determine if your home insurance covers insect or pest damage home insurance policy is to simply call the insurance company to speak to an insurance agent or broker, and have a policy review performed (having your policy reviewed is a good habit to get into, regardless of your pest situation) your agent or broker can go over the specifics of your home insurance policy and determine if there is any type of coverage pertaining to insect or pest damage. You can also ask if such coverage exists and if so, if such coverage can be included as a rider to your insurance policy. For most homeowner insurance policies, coverage for pest control is not available.
Preventing Pest Damage
If the issue of insect and pest damage is one of great concern to you, you may want to consider contacting a professional pest control company. A good pest control company can help provide you with a permanent and lasting solution to your problem with insect and pest damage and halt any further damage from costing you more money and worry in the future. Thomas Pest Services is a Thomas Pest Services is a licensed and certified in pest control to effectively solve any pest problem, with service in Chatham, East Greenbush, Latham, Albany, Clifton Park, Schenectady, Edinburgh, Malta, Queensbury and surrounding towns. Protect your health, home, family and property against pests!