What are Termite Bonds? Like Insurance for Termites.

termite bonds

People in termite-heavy places like Alabama have a saying that goes something like this: “There are two kinds of houses: those with termites and those that will have them.” If you live in a place like this, you’ve probably heard of termite bonds.

If you’ve never heard of termite bonds, you’re not alone. For years, I hadn’t either; I was well aware of the damage termites can unleash, but I figured the probability of a termite infestation damaging my home was about as rare as a natural disaster like a tornado, flood, or hurricane. It turns out I was way off—depending on where you live, termites might cause more damage than the weather.

Tweet showing how familiarity with what termite bonds even are largely depends on where you live because termite threat levels vary by location
Tweet showing how termite bonds are common in some parts of the United States and rare in others

What Even is a Termite Bond?

What is a termite bond? It is a contract or guarantee entered into between a homeowner or 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 carefully consider the details of the agreement. A few questions to consider when deciding on a termite bond:

  1. Will the cost of the bond amount to less than the expected expenses should reinfestation occur?
  2. Does the bond cover both inspections and full retreatment?
  3. Will the bond cover any damages related to termites causing future damage to the house?
  4. Are you in an area with different kinds of termites? If so, will a bond cover all types of termites returning in the future?
  5. If re-treatment 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)?
Herron Real Estate explaining what a typical termite bond entails

Basics Termite Treatments that (Often) Bonds Covers

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. Serious infestations usually require 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. Typically, termite fumigations take around three days 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 Bonds Might (or Might 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 damage 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 you find termites on the outside of your foundation.

Transferable Termite Bonds

If you have questions about termite 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 be 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 damage. Homeowners’ insurance does not cover termite damage; a re-infestation 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 termites coming back to a home you no longer own.

To Bond or Not to Bond—That is the Question.

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 a previous termite problem and haven’t 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 simply say it is a contract that guarantees future treatment if termites return. Another way to see it is as 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.

Categorized as Termites

By David Jackson

I enjoy learning about new pest control strategies and sharing what I learn at NeverPest.com. I aim to create a reliable resource for people dealing with all sorts of pest issues.


  1. I like how you talked about termite exterminators treat the soil around your house so any current or new colonies trying to enter are killed off before they manage it. My husband and I have a home with old termite damage and we want to make sure it’s not going to allow new problems in. Thank you for the information about how there may be bait left behind to address any residual termites left after treatment as well.

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