6 house repairs to tackle
Cost: $75-$200 for an inspection; $200-$300 for a termite protection contract for qualifying homes with no current evidence of termites to cover treatment and repairs for any later infestation.
How often: once a year.
When: any time, although termites are more active in spring and early summer.
An inspection might find subterranean termites that come from the ground or flying termites. If left untreated, these bugs damage framing, trim, drywall, furniture, carpet, copper and other soft metals. Termites cause more than $5 billion in damages a year in the U.S., says Paul Curtis, entomologist for Terminix in Memphis, Tenn. The average homeowner loss for termite damage is $3,000, but losses can be as high as $30,000 or even $80,000, Curtis says. Most homeowners insurance does not cover repair of termite damage.
Bottom line: "Termites eat the wood from the inside out," Curtis says. "A typical homeowner would not be aware they are even in their home until months or years after they get in and start causing damage. A lot of people don't realize that termites don't just feed on the home. They'll eat flooring, insulation, books -- I've even seen them penetrate through swimming pool liners."