- 5 Pests That Can Affect Your Homeowners Insurance
5 Pests That Can Affect Your Homeowners Insurance
Certain pests and bugs can seriously freak you out. Spiders and snakes are what do it for me. Creepily crawling and slithering all over the place.
But then there are certain pests that cause a serious damper on your lifestyle — and can even negatively affect your homeowners insurance.
While you’ve probably heard the floors creaking through the night, screen doors slamming shut during windstorms, pipes rattling in the walls (you should get that check out) and various other sounds that make it seem as though the home we live in has a mind of its own.
But there’s no worse feeling than finding remnants of termites gnawing through your walls, ants sneaking out of cracks and drains, mice and rats scuttling throughout the night, cockroaches quickly leaving at the sight of man-made light or — maybe even worse — creepy crawling bed bugs creating a stir in your room.
We’re talking about the mighty five. Five pests that aren’t too frightening to the human eye, but each can cause serious damage to a home, and here’s how.
Causing more than $5 billion (with a B) in property damage each year, termites are the biggest silent sleeper pests that can have a serious impact on your homeowners insurance policy.
Getting rid of termites involves tenting your property and finding a hotel room (or good friend to crash with) for a few days while professionals exterminate them with poisonous gas.
If that doesn’t sound fun, the price tag associated with infestation and removal won’t either. If you catch them early, you’ll likely get away with paying $600 to $1,500 removal fee. But if you procrastinate and let them gnaw at your home’s wood, it could wind up costing you tens of thousands of dollars to repair your home’s structure.
What’s worse is that many homeowners insurance policies don’t cover termite removal or damage from termites, so you may be stuck paying every penny out of your own pocket. Termites can typically be prevented through regular maintenance, so we strongly advise keeping an eye out for them.
Mice and rats are the defining breeds of rodents that nobody wants to see — let alone see frolicking through their home. It’s estimated that at least 21 million homes in the United States are plagued by mice and rats each year — plus they’re carriers of the devastating bubonic plague and other diseases fatal to humans.
Mice and rats are just a nuisance, they tend to chew through electrical wires in homes — especially during colder months when they’re seeking food and refuge from the outdoors. This act of indecency is estimated to have contributed to nearly 1/4th of all home fires that begin with electrical wiring.
Once they’re in your home, ants — especially carpenter ants — seem to never go away no matter how hard you try to remove them. Ants are pests that are simply annoying, a little creepy and can have a serious effect on the infestation.
Carpenter ants can actually burrow themselves deep into the wood of your home, creating a home and a ton of damage along the way. While it typically takes years for carpenter ants to do serious harm to your home’s infrastructure, they’re tiny and often go undetected, which is just another reason to conduct an annual home inspection.
4. Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are terrible creatures to find in your home, and almost every time bed bugs are a result of someone other than the person who finds them. They come from hotels, used furniture and can travel in small confined spaces back to your home in purses, backpacks or even on your clothes.
The average cost of bed-bug removal depends on how early you spot the infestation. My skin is crawling as I write this, but I don’t have bed bugs. Many people don’t find out they have bed bugs until it’s far too late, you need to spend $10,000 on removal and $3,000 on new furniture and your home insurance company is telling you it’s not covered.
Although cockroaches don’t directly create damage to homes, they can be used as a sign of a home’s cleanliness. Homes with cockroaches are likely to have other problems — like food waste issues, rotting wood and even mold.
Cockroaches are attracted to subpar living conditions, so keeping a clean home typically leads to fewer cockroaches, which then leads to fewer issues you may have with your home.
Conduct a Home Inspection
Conducting a home inspection every year is the best way to find pests and vermins inside your home and stop the problem before it’s too late. Hiring a professional to do the home inspection can save you a ton of money and more hassle than it’s worth dealing with the long-term problem.