Warranties are beneficial for many things in your daily life. A warranty on your car or your appliance means that if something serious goes wrong, it can be fixed with little or no money out of your pocket.
While most warranties help to protect items should something go wrong, termite warranties usually include maintenance in their fee structure so that pest control companies can monitor the property on a rotating basis.
The cost of a termite warranty versus the cost of termite repair bills makes it well worth the cost. Not only can it help prevent these pesky creatures from invading your home, but it can greatly reduce the cost you pay should you need to do any repairs due to termite damage.
- The Dangers of Termites
- What Does a Termite Warranty Do?
- Things to Consider for Termite Warranties
- Types of Termite Warranties
The Dangers of Termites
Many people know what termites are and the general havoc they can cause, but what danger do they pose?
Rest Assured, They Usually Don’t Bite
Phew, at least we can check that one off our list. Termites in general do not bite you. A termite colony is very similar to a bee colony. There is a queen, workers, and soldiers. The queen lays the eggs and the workers collect the food.
The soldier termites are solely there to protect the queen and the rest of the colony from threats, such as other insects. Although soldier termites do have larger mandibles and can bite you, you probably won’t feel it & it won’t leave a mark as they are still very small.
Termites don’t care about you, they only want the wood in your house and generally stay hidden.
The number one reason termite infestation is considered dangerous is the large amount of damage these creatures can cause to the structural integrity of your house.
Though they usually prefer softwood, they will eat any kind of material that contains cellulose. This includes plants, cotton, paper, and of course wood. There are very few creatures in the world that survive solely on wood and wood products, so even though they are a pain, they are still unique in that sense.
So, not only is the structural integrity damaged from their actual eating but it is also compounded by the moisture and other insects they allow to get into your wood.
Mold & Fungus
As I mentioned, termites burrowing holes into the wood of your home leaves those pieces exposed to the elements, mainly water.
Once moisture starts seeping into the wood, it can cause both wet and dry rot, further weakening the structure, as well as introducing harmful molds and fungi.
Sick Building Syndrome
Sick Building Syndrome is a catch-all term for any structure that causes its occupants to experience adverse health effects. It has been attributed to many things, including gas leaks and fumes, excess dust, asbestos, and really anything that increases allergens and irritants.
Termites can contribute to sick building syndrome from their droppings which is called frass. Though it is non-toxic, large accumulations of it can enter the air ducts and be inhaled, causing asthma-type symptoms and skin allergies.
The mold and fungus that can grow inside your walls after the water has been allowed to seep in can also contribute to respiratory problems.
Another critical downside of termites? How expensive an infestation is. Not only are they difficult to eliminate, but fixing the damage they cause costs homeowners, on an average, a whopping $5 billion a year.
The treatment to kill the termites can cost anywhere from $400-$1,000 depending on the severity. And repairing the structural damage has been known to cost up to $7,000 in some instances.
What Does a Termite Warranty Do?
Termite warranties are essentially a contract for treatment between a homeowner and a pest control company. They cover preventative treatment and in some cases, “retreatment” for a certain amount of time, should an infestation be found.
Things to Consider for Termite Warranties
The difference is in the fine print for termite prevention treatment. Make sure you understand exactly what you are signing up for before considering a termite warranty.
Termite Warranty vs. Termite Letter
While a termite warranty covers continued treatment, a termite letter is solely a declaration that the house has been inspected & will report on the status of any termite infections. In essence, it is just a status report and not a treatment contract.
Termite letters are sometimes required to receive certain home loans, and the cost usually falls on the buyer. It’s never a bad idea to request a termite letter if you are buying a home. It can protect you for the first 30 days after closing and costs very little – around $40-$70.
Termite Warranty vs. Termite Bond
These are interchangeable terms so don’t get confused when a pest control company offers you a termite bond. It works the same as a termite warranty.
Ability to Transfer
Each company has different terms on its contract. Some companies may allow the warranty to be transferred to a new owner at their discretion and some may not. Be sure to ask about these nuances before signing up for a new warranty.
It’s more common for companies to claim they can “transfer” their warranty as long as the new owner pays for initial inspection and treatment again, but that’s not technically a transfer.
Termites have been found in every state in the U.S. except for Alaska – it’s too cold for them there. However, they are most common in the southern and south-western states. The top 5 states for termite activity are Florida, Georgia, California, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Arizona and South Carolina are also near the top of the list. If you live in one of these states, you are at a higher risk for termite activity and damage. This should help direct your decision if you’re wondering whether or not a termite warranty is worth it.
Age of the House
Don’t get too complacent and think that just because your house is a new build, you aren’t at risk. Termites have been known to cause damage on building sites before construction is even finished.
The benefit of a newer house though is that some home builders will offer a year pest warranty as part of the total cost.
Older houses aren’t necessarily more at risk of getting termites. They are, however, more at risk for having damage from previous infestations, even if it was several buyers ago. This is another reason why termite letters & inspections are important before buying a home. As a rule of thumb, any existing damage should be remedied at the expense of the current owner.
Length of Warranty
Pay attention to this when comparing prices in your area. Termite warranties and contracts can run anywhere from 1 year to 5 years in length. A select few companies also offer 7-year contracts.
Do the math and determine if the price per month is affordable. $900 for a 5-year contract is far more cost effective than $300 for a one-year contract.
Types of Termite Warranties
This is a crucial part of speaking with your pest control company when you’re wondering if you need termite protection. There are often different tiers of protection so make sure you understand all of your options.
This is the most cost-effective option for termite prevention. A simple termite warranty cost is around $300-$500 annually, depending on the company.
For warranty-only protection, you can expect a yearly inspection and general pest control treatment. This tier does not cover any retreatment in the event termites are found and it also doesn’t cover any repair costs for your property.
The next level up from warranty-only treatments – a retreatment warranty means that your warranty covers any additional visits and treatments from your pest control company, should termites be discovered after initial treatment.
Though every company is different, the national average for this type of protection is $600-$800 a year.
Repair & Retreat Warranty
Combining the previous two tiers into one, repair and retreat warranties are going to give the homeowner the best protection.
They cover more than just annual treatment and retreatment, but also will cover the cost of any damage done by termites after the initial treatment. It’s similar to the insurance policy in your car. Even if you have to pay a small deductible, it will still be far more cost-effective than paying for repairs out of your own pocket.
These types of warranties can cost up to $1,500 a year but being in a termite-prone area makes this type of termite insurance worth it.
Termite damage is quick and unrelenting. By the time you notice it, you already have an invasion on your hands. The best treatment is prevention so termite warranties can end up saving you a lot of time and money in the future.
Make sure you understand the terms of whatever warranty you decide to purchase, including the contract length, the protection it offers, and whether or not it can be transferred to a new owner upon selling your house.
BONUS: Termite Fun Facts
Yes, they are annoying and invasive little creatures, but they are also quite interesting. Here are some cool termite facts you might not know.
- Termite queens can live up to 50-100 years! They have the longest lifespan of any insect.
- Termites are a great source of protein & have been eaten by humans and other animals for centuries.
- They are good for the environment. Even if we don’t want them in our house, they help to eliminate dead brush and trees while at the same time, improving the soil quality.
- Some termites are blind. The only termites that can see are the ones with wings.
- They are cleanliness freaks! Termites don’t have a microbiome, so they compulsively clean themselves so as not to get sick.
- They don’t sleep, they perform their duties 24/7.
- The number one predator for termites is ants. These two species are natural enemies.
- They communicate by vibrations, banging on their tubes to signal danger.
- In certain areas, they build large mounds that resemble beehives to help ward off predators.
- They don’t like the sun. Exposure to sunlight can kill them, so they spend the majority of their time underground.