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.
What 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 US," said Paul Curtis, director of quality assurance for Terminix in Memphis. The average homeowner loss for termite damage is $3,000, but losses can be as high as $30,000 or even $80,000, Curtis said. Most homeowners insurance does not cover repair of termite damage.
Bottom line: Curtis said, "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, and books."