Termites — the wood-eating insects that cause up to $5 billion in property damage each year — are generally not covered by homeowners insurance.  This is because insurers consider it your responsibility as the homeowner to take care of the general upkeep of your home. However, under certain circumstances, you may be able to file a claim for termite damage.
When does homeowners insurance cover termite damage?
Unlike property damage caused by bad weather — like a windstorm ripping the roof off your home — a termite infestation generally occurs over a long period of time, and insurers consider it something that could have been avoided with proper maintenance.
When might homeowners insurance cover termite damage?
It’s a long shot that your homeowners insurance will ever cover damage caused by termites, but it is theoretically possible under two rare circumstances:
The damage is hidden away and causes your house to collapse
If the termite damage is caused by a covered peril
If a termite infestation was the direct result of a covered peril, insurance may cover the cost of repairs.
For example, say a pipe suddenly bursts and causes water damage — which is a covered peril — and it then results in a termite infestation. Your insurance company could cite the internal water damage as the “proximate cause” of the termites, meaning the underlying cause of the infestation. This would mean that the termites would otherwise not be in your home were it not for the water from the burst pipe. In that case, your insurer may cover repair costs.
If the termite damage is hidden away and causes a collapse
It depends on your insurance company and policy, but if a termite infestation is hidden away from plain view, like under the floorboards, and you were unaware of it and it causes a portion of your home to collapse, your policy may help cover the cost of repairs.
What to do when termite damage isn’t covered by home insurance
If you notice termite damage in your home, you might be able to treat it yourself if you catch it early enough. Here are a few other steps you can take if you have extensive termite damage and homeowners insurance denies your claim.
Consider a termite inspection and extermination. The costs of termite treatment can run anywhere from $200 to $2,500 depending on the severity of the infestation, the size of your home, and the type of treatment that's needed. 
Get multiple quotes from different exterminators. You should do this to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Consider hiring a professional contractor to make repairs. If there’s extensive damage to the structure of your home, you’ll need to hire a contractor to make repairs to your home.
6 signs of termite damage in your home
While termites are more common in warm and humid climates, houses and buildings in all environments are susceptible. Termites are attracted to moisture and feed on all forms of cellulose, including wood, cardboard, paper, and even cotton. Known as silent destroyers, they can eat away at your home undetected.
Walls, support beams, cabinets, floors, and ceilings are the most common places in your home for termite infestations, according to the National Pest Association. They also have a list of examples of what termite damage looks like, including:
Blistered wood that looks splintered or carved
Soft or hollowed wood that sounds hollow when tapped
Bubbled and uneven paint or wallpaper
Mud tubes or small tunnels the width of a straw that start at the exposed wood’s foundation and snake up the walls in a vine-like pattern
Evidence of termite colonies like discarded wings, which may signal a new swarm
Pellet droppings that resemble coffee grounds or sawdust
How to prevent termite damage in your home
Vigilance and routine inspection can go a long way in preventing termite damage. Your home is most vulnerable to termites in springtime, as the weather warms up, the snow melts, and termite mating season begins.
Take these steps to help prevent termite infestations in your home:
Repair rotted roof shingles.
Repair leaking pipes, faucets, and air conditioners.
Reduce moisture by diverting water away from the house with gutters or downspouts.
Keep mulch and soil away from any wooden parts of your house.
Store firewood above the ground and away from your house.
Routinely inspect the foundation, windows, and doorframes of your home.
Schedule annual pest control checkups.