Does a Home Warranty Cover Termites?

Ellie Brooks

Written By Clint Bird

Published 06/17/24
Does a Home Warranty Cover Termite

Termites are among the most unwanted home invaders. Every year termites cause billions of dollars in structural damage, and property owners spend over two billion dollars to treat them. Any insect or rodent infestation can make for a headache, but termites can cause significant and lasting damage to your home. Depending on the extent and location of the infestation, termites can create problems that cost tens of thousands of dollars to adequately resolve.

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Homeowner’s insurance or a home warranty should take care of that, right? Guess again. Termite infestations and termite damage are infrequently covered under insurance and warranty policies. Let’s explore why termites can be so devastating, why insurance is unlikely to cover termite damage, and what you can do to prevent these pests from making a meal out of your home.

What Are Termites?

Termites are white or reddish insects that are sometimes referred to as “white ants,” though termites are only distantly related to ants. Termites use wood as a food source, often feasting on the supports, studs, joists, siding, and framing of residential homes. They can be incredibly destructive, and by some estimates cause more than $5 billion in damage every year.

Termites tend to form large colonies or nests. The size and location of the colonies can depend on the species and geography. Generally, colonies are structured social systems with categories or castes of termites that perform distinct roles:

  •          Queen. The queen is usually the oldest member of a termite colony and can live for quite a long time 25 to 50 years is possible. The queen maintains the colony by laying eggs, and while there is usually one primary queen, there may also be a few supplemental queens to increase the growth of the colony.
  •          King. King termites mate with the queen. They live for only a few years, so new kings are born into the colony.
  •          Workers. Worker termites are responsible for maintaining a colony. They may care for the queen and eggs, repair and build tunnels and chambers, and search for food sources.
  •          Soldiers. The colony is defended by its caste of soldier termites. They are responsible for fending off invaders.
  •          Swarmers. Swarmers, or alates, are winged termites. Colonies may take a few years before they produce swarmers, but when they do, hundreds or thousands of swarmers may take off at once to form new colonies. Swarming may happen in the spring or late summer, depending on the species.

Types of Termites

Some 50 species of termites thrive across the United States. One variety or another can be found in every state except Alaska. There are three kinds of termites that are most troublesome to American homeowners:

  •          Drywood termites. These pests are prevalent in the Southern United States. They feed on dry sources of wood, as their name suggests, but they still require a water source. Drywood termites will munch on housing supports, but their nest may be near a plumbing fixture or damp pipe.
  •          Subterranean termites. This type of termite forms large colonies underground. A single colony can have more than a million individuals. Subterranean termites are found in every state in the continental United States, and they may be the most destructive.
  •          Dampwood termites. Dampwood termites are sometimes less of a concern to homeowners. They feed on moistened wood, so they are less likely to chew on the (hopefully) dry supports of a home. Still, they can infest damp or rotting wood near a home’s foundation or eaves.

Sign of a Termite Infestation

Termites can be insidious pests. A nest could be deep in the walls or siding, and termites tend to stay out of the open until swarmers leave the nest en masse. They could be wreaking havoc for months or even years and you could have no idea.

If termites do move in, you want to be aware of their presence as soon as possible. Here are some signs of an infestation that you should look out for.

  •          Termite frass, or excrement, which looks like piles of fine sawdust or sand
  •          Strange patterns or mazes on wooden surfaces
  •          Pinholes in drywall or wood
  •          Unexplainable discoloration on walls, ceilings, or floors
  •          Warped or damaged floorboards, baseboards, or molding
  •          Peeling or bulging paint
  •          Networks of slender mud tubes on your foundation on in your basement
  •          Stray insect wings shed from swarmers
  •          Squeaky wooden floorboards
  •          Wood that sounds hollow

If you notice any of the above, contact a pest control expert to investigate your home for a termite infestation.

How to Prevent Termites from Making Your Home Their Own

Any home is susceptible to termite damage, but there are steps you can take to avoid the possibility of an infestation.

  1.        Avoid contact between wood and soil wherever possible. Framing, latticework, siding, and so on should be six inches above the ground.
  2.        Keep wood out of your yard and away from the home. Clear your property of tree limbs. Stack firewood several feet away from the side of your home.
  3.        Maintain a dry foundation and dry crawlspaces. Termites are attracted to moisture. Maintain your gutters and downspouts. Use a basement dehumidifier. Check your property for leaky water sources.
  4.        Install and maintain screens on attic vents and eaves to inhibit insect access.
  5.        Keep mulch and woody plants away from your home’s foundation.
  6.        Perform regular spot checks of your home’s foundation and exterior for signs of termites. Check wooden stairs, posts, decks, porches, latticework, and siding. Be especially vigilant in spring through the early fall, when swarmers are more likely to be active.

Does Home Warranty Cover Termites and Other Pests?

Can a home warranty cover pest control? Absolutely! But can a home warranty cover termite damage? That is unlikely. Termite damage can be so unpredictable and costly that it is financially infeasible for warranty companies to guarantee protection.

Liberty Home Guard does offer home warranty pest control services that go beyond what many of our competitors offer, however. We can help you rid your home of ants, cockroaches, moths, crickets, wasps, and more. 

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