If you are a Florida homeowner who has had the misfortune of finding out that your home has been raided and devoured by termites, you are in the unfortunate situation of having to carry the financial burden of repairing the damage already caused by the invading army of insects and protecting your home from further assault by the colony of miniature marauders. You are not alone. According to Phil Koehler, professor of entomology with UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, "termite damage and control costs in Florida exceed $500 million annually".
Although eradicating of these diminutive trespassers and mending the damage they cause is extremely expensive, you may be entitled to compensation if you have a homeowner's policy or a contract with a pest control company.
The adjuster or representative for your insurance company may tell you that you are not covered for termite damage, and homeowner's policies often do exclude damage caused by termites; however, termite damage may be insured under some homeowner's policies and business property policies, depending on the nature, type and significance of the damage. If the termite damage to your building is extensive and you were unaware of the destruction the termite assault was inflicting on your structure, you may be covered even where the policy contains a specific exclusion for termite caused damage. Nevertheless, it will take a knowledgeable lawyer in this area to determine if the damage is covered under your policy.
Whether or not you have coverage under your homeowner's policy, if you had contracted with a pest or termite control company to provide protection for your home, you may have some recourse against the pest control company. In any situation where you have contracted with a pest control company to eradicate termites, and the company has failed to adequately protect your home from termite damage, you should look over your contract with an experienced lawyer. If you are in the process of contracting with a termite company for an infestation, make sure you read over your contract closely and understand what guarantees and assurances the pest control is providing that it will effectively eliminate any termite infestation and prevent termite related damage. Once again, a knowledgeable lawyer in this area may be able to determine if you are entitled to be compensated for your losses associated with termite infestation and damage.
New homeowners would be wise to have the home specifically evaluated for termite intrusion before purchase and examine all documents pertaining to any past termite-related work or inspections performed on the property. Generally, there are two types of termites which cause damage to wood structures and both types thrive in Florida. These are the eastern subterranean termite and the drywood termite. The subterranean termite, which can be found in colonies in the soil near water sources, are the most damaging. A colony of subterranean termites can consume up to 13 ounces of wood per day, costing more than a billion annually for repairs and prevention across the United States. Drywood termites, on the other hand, infest drywood and do not need moisture or soil to survive. Drywood termites live in colonies in isolated wood pieces and stay hidden within the walls of a structure, out of site from the naked eye.
If you presently have termite related damage and you are unsure as to your rights to be compensated for termite related damage, please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.
If your homeowners insurance is not properly covering the damages or losses to your home or property, you must contact a Florida homeowners insurance attorney to resolve the issue .