You found termite damage to your house, went through the whole process of hiring an exterminator to inspect the damage, then had several treatments to take care of the problem. This shouldn’t be the end of your efforts to eradicate termites from your home, however, since a house with previous termite damage is likely to experience a recurrence of the infestation at some point in the future. People in places like Alabama are fond of saying, “There are two kinds of houses: those with termites and those that will have them.” How can you keep up with extermination costs that potentially recur every year? Look into the benefits of a termite bond.
What is a termite bond? It is a contract or guarantee entered into between a homeowner/business owner and their exterminator. After a building is treated for termites, a bond ensures future inspection and treatment at no cost to the customer beyond the bond renewal fee. Different bonds include different terms, and you should consider carefully the details of the agreement. A few questions to consider when deciding on a termite bond:
- Will the cost of the bond amount to less than the expected expenses should reinfestation occur?
- Does the bond cover both inspection and full retreatment?
- Will the bond cover any damages related to termites causing future damage to the house?
- Are you in an area with different kinds of termites? If so, will a bond cover all types of termites returning in the future?
- If retreatment is needed and the new infestation is more extensive, will the company cover measures beyond the initial service (i.e. if only liquid is used the first time will they cover fumigation in the future)?
The Basics of Termite Treatment
In order to understand how a termite bond works, you should know the basics of the termite extermination process. The first step is a thorough inspection to determine the type of termite, location of the infestation, and the extent of the damage. All of these factors taken together will determine the method used. A serious infestation will call for fumigation. In fact, a lot of title companies require fumigation before a home with any kind of termite damage is sold to a new owner. Termite fumigation takes about three day to complete.
Most exterminators treat the soil around your house so any current or new colonies trying to enter are killed off before they can make their way in. This may be added to the fumigation process or may be the primary means of addressing your termite problem. These liquid treatments are supposed to last for one to three years. Your exterminator may leave bait behind to address any residual termites left after treatment. The bait is a kind of poison termites find and bring back to their colony, eliminating any remaining insects.
What a Bond May or May Not Cover
The basic termite bond should cover a yearly inspection and, if termites return, future extermination costs. Initial extermination may be as low as $1,500 for a small area and basic treatment, and a large home with a significant problem can cost up to $5,000 to treat. In the first case, a bond fee of $200 per year may not be worth it, especially if you live in an area with infrequent infestations. Wise Geek features a concise article on termite bonds that recommends comparing the annual cost of a bond with the price of re-extermination for your house.
You cannot assume a termite bond will cover any and all damages caused by future infestations. Some bonds are for extermination costs only while others promise to repair a limited amount of damages to your house if the termites return within a certain time frame. The kind of termite in your house can affect the bond as well, says Orkin; if the initial treatment was for one type of termite and another kind re-infests your house, the bond may not apply. This may also be the case if the first time you have an issue in your basement, for example, but the next time find termites on the outside of your foundation.
Transferable Termite Bonds
If you have questions about termites bonds because you are buying or selling a house, look closely at the bond’s transfer limitations. For buyers purchasing a home with a previous termite problem, make sure the bond can and is transferred to you as the new homeowner. This way you are not on the hook for extermination costs that should have been covered by the previous owner. You will, however, need to take on the responsibility of the bond’s annual fees to continue the contract with the exterminator.
As a home seller, you should invest in a bond to increase the chances you will sell a home with termite damages. Homeowners’ insurance does not cover termite damage– a reinfestation too soon after the sale of your house could leave you paying the new homeowners’ extermination bills. Savvy buyers may not even consider buying from you without a bond in place. With a transferable bond, you can hand off the agreement to the new homeowner, they take on the cost of the bond, and you don’t have to worry about the termites coming back to a home you no longer own.
Deciding if a Bond is For You
If you’ve recently had your home exterminated for termites and did not arrange for a bond with your pest control company, you may want to contact them and see if you can still sign an agreement. If you are buying or selling a home with previous termite problem and don’t know have never heard of a termite bond before, definitely educate yourself and make a termite bond part of your home buying or selling process. Just make sure the terms are agreeable to you and the needs of your house.
In answer to the question, “What is a termite bond?” you could say simply it is a contract that guarantees future treatment if termites return. Another way to see it is an added form of insurance that protects the value and condition of your house and other buildings. You will need to decide for yourself if the continuing, nominal cost of a termite bond is worth it; many people who live in areas where termites are a constant problem and go through having to pay for termite extermination once see the value in it.
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