Woodpeckers and Termites: Can Your Homeowners Insurance Protect You Against Nature?

termite damage

When most people purchase homeowners insurance, they breathe a sigh of relief knowing their home is 100 percent protected from anything and everything that could cause it damage. Unfortunately, they may be breathing easy a bit too soon.

While home insurance coverage includes a substantial number of circumstances, there are a few that don’t make the list, including termite damage and damage caused by woodpeckers. Knowing that, what can you do to protect your home from these types of attacks?

Why Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Protect Against All of Nature

Many homeowners insurance policyholders don’t know when purchasing coverage that their protection can be limited. Home insurance is designed to compensate property owners after catastrophic events, including natural disasters, major home structural damage and liability from lawsuits.

But you’d be surprised to learn that most home insurance policies don’t cover the following:

  • Earthquakes
  • Floods, landslides or mudslides
  • Sewer related damage
  • Identity theft
  • Dog bites
  • Termite damage
  • Woodpecker damage

Some of the items on the list may amaze you, particularly because most circumstances are out of a homeowners’ control just as much as a tornado or break-in.

The good news is that earthquakes and floods (along with other water-related damage) are covered in their own separate policies and identity theft can be covered in a separate rider with many companies. Termite damage and woodpecker damage, however, are usually not covered in a homeowners insurance policy.

Lack of Coverage for Woodpecker and Termite Damage

The primary reason woodpecker and termite damage are not included in home insurance coverage from most companies is that these infestations can be prevented with good maintenance and the proper prevention, according to experts.

There’s no doubt that woodpeckers and termites can cause tremendous structural damage, as well as puncture plumbing, air ducts and more, which is why it’s important to prevent them from infesting the home by taking the following precautions:

Termites

  • Inspect your home regularly and have a company apply termite control products (bait system or liquid system) to the property when needed.
  • Seal cracks in wood and foundation.

Woodpeckers

  • Use devices designed to emit sounds that act as repellents.
  • Place steel wool or chicken wire around exposed areas of a home.
  • Caulk and seal existing holes in attic spaces and around siding.
  • Distract birds with Mylar tape around gutters and roof soffits.

It’s good to note that homeowners may have the option of entering into a termite bond (a type of insurance policy) with a pest control company that stipulates the company will inspect and treat the home at predetermined intervals — and pay for termite damage, if it appears.

Also, under extreme circumstances, insurers may cover what’s considered collateral damage, in the event that termites compromise a support beam or other portion of the house that impacts the structure of the building.

Of course, you don’t want to allow you home to become heavily damaged in hopes of scoring a homeowners insurance settlement, which is why it’s best to take every precaution necessary to avoid issues associated with woodpeckers and termites.

(Photo: Gnilenkov Aleksey)