When it comes to termite warranties, local termite companies in the industry offer two types- service plans and protection plans. A service plan is the most common warranty.
It simply means that when termites re-infest a home or structure, the termite control company will return to perform retreatment. The company is responsible for ridding the structure of termites- nothing more, nothing less.
A protection plan incorporates the service plan with a damage warranty, meaning that if termites return to a structure after it has been treated, the company will perform re-treatment and repair the damages that have occurred.
Comparing the two, you would assume the protection warranty is definitely the way to go, but that is not always the case.
This might sound a bit cliché, but a warranty is only as good as the reputation of the company, or, the reputation of the person in charge.
Nearly every protection warranty written states that damage repair will only be granted if “new activity” is found. A new activity is always defined as live termites.
This condition in your warranty protects the termite company from being responsible for damage that occurred before they put you on a protection plan.
Here’s an example, say you’ve had a protection agreement with a company since 2000. In the year 2009, you had a re-infestation of termites in the wall of your garage. You called the company, they came out, retreated your home, did some half-hearted poking and prodding around, and then concluded the damage to your wall was minor. No need to fix something that’s barely damaged, right?
Now fast forward to 2020, when you notice your garage wall is looking a little funny. Maybe not in the exact location of where you found the re-infestation of 2009, but pretty close to it.
You call a contractor to take a look at the situation. After opening up the wall, he finds old termite damage that had weakened the studs. As time went by, the weight of your home caused the wall to slowly dip.
According to the conditions of your warranty, the damage found by the contractor is not covered because live termites were not present when the damage was discovered.
Will they take responsibility? Maybe, maybe not – it comes down to the manager’s discretion.
If you’re denied a damage claim similar to the one above, you do have options (calls to upper management, legal actions, etc.), but there is no guarantee your claim will be reconsidered for approval.
It’s for reasons like this you should always speak directly to the manager/owner of a termite control company before you sign on the dotted line.
Try to get a feel for how they conduct business. For privacy issues, you won’t be able to speak with customers that have filed damage claims with them, but you can ask to speak to the termite company’s repair contractor(s). Not being employed by the termite company, the contractor will usually be much less guarded and more open and honest about the manner in which damage claims are conducted.