Termite Damage vs. Water Damage
Surprisingly, it is easy to confuse termite damage with water damage. Termites damage roughly 600,000 homes in the US every year. Water damage in basements will impact 98% of households in the US during the home's lifetime. If you are unsure which you are dealing with, it is best to consult a termite expert to effectively deal with the problem as both issues can cost thousands of dollars.
Signs of Water Damage
Your home may have severe water damage before you realize you have a problem, especially if you put off maintenance tasks like repairing plumbing leaks. Here are five main signs that you may have water damage:
- Your utility bill is higher than usual. A leaking pipe or damaged washing machine could cause your water bill to skyrocket.
- Dark or wet spots on your ceiling or walls, also called watermarks, could be a sign of a water problem caused by a leaky roof or pipe.
- A musty odor may be a sign of mold growth, which is potentially dangerous to your family's health.
- If you have a substantial water leak, you may be able to hear water running.
- Water damage could cause your wallpaper to crack, bubble, or flake off.
What Does Water Damage Look Like?
At first, your wallpaper or paint may appear to bubble and peel, and as the damage gets worse, the wood or plaster underneath may start to bulge. You may begin seeing uneven stains on the walls and ceilings throughout the house, called water stains, as the water penetrates the different layers of your home.
How to Spot Termite Damage
If you can see evidence of termites, you probably already have insect damage. Termites are about the same size and shape as carpenter ants, and both cause wood damage, but there are other clues even if you cannot see the pests themselves.
- Subterranean termites live underground and create pencil-sized mud tubes leading upward to their food sources, including your home or outside tree limbs.
- A subterranean termite-damaged subfloor will make your wood flooring appear to have blisters.
- You can find termite droppings outside Drywood Termite nests. Termites eat wood and then dispose of the waste, which looks like sawdust or coffee grounds.
- If you see discarded wings by entry points to your home, you are probably looking at evidence of termite Swarmers. When a colony is mature, it will produce female and male winged termites, which shed their wings while forming a new termite colony. You might even be able to see termites swarm.
- You may have direct evidence of surface damage, but termites will also hollow out wood, and you will be able to tell by knocking on it.
Does Insurance Cover Termite Damage?
No. Standard home insurance does not typically cover termite damage. Homeowners insurance covers unexpected or sudden risks and damages, and termite damage is considered preventable. Because termites are probably not considered a covered peril by your insurance company, you may have to deal with the costs to repair your home independently.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?
Sometimes. If your home's water damage is caused by a sudden, accidental, and unexpected event, yes. Suppose you had a leak that damaged your home or item(s) over a period of time, no. That falls under poor maintenance according to home insurance rules.
Make sure to read your home insurance contract carefully and speak to your insurance agent to understand what is covered in your policy.
Hope that helps!
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