If there’s a bed bug epidemic happening in your area, you may have wondered: is there bed bug insurance that can protect you from an infestation? Or does renters insurance cover bed bugs?
And these are smart questions to be asking because a bed bug infestation can happen suddenly. All it takes is one pregnant female to enter your home and hide herself away in some dark crevice somewhere.
Then, she’ll start producing eggs every day.
For a while, you’ll be blissfully unaware. Until suddenly, one day, you start getting bites.
And then, as the children of the first female grow quickly to adulthood, they begin having children of their own. Within a matter of weeks, one bed bug can turn into hundreds.
You’ll probably never know where they came from or how they got into a home. All you will know is that they’re driving you crazy.
So what can you do to protect yourself against these bloodsuckers? Can you stock up on bed bug insurance? Let’s dive into the nitty gritty of insuring yourself against bed bugs…
Is There Bed Bug Insurance?
We live in a risky world, and that’s why insurance exists. Insurance companies will cover you for fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, acts of terrorism – all manner of sudden and unexpected events that can come out of nowhere to ruin your quality of life.
So is it possible to get insurance for bed bugs?
Until recently, the answer to this question was a flat no. The thing is, while bed bugs can do enormous psychological damage to the people whose homes they invade, they are not considered actually harmful in the way that a fire or flood can be.
A good argument could be made that they do damage property – anybody who’s seen the mess that blood-based droppings make on a couch or mattress knows what I’m talking about.
But in the eyes of insurance companies, bed bugs are the kind of act of God about which nothing can be done. Seems a little unfair, doesn’t it?
There are a few steps you can take to lessen your chances of getting bed bugs, but ultimately, there’s not a lot you can do. Just like with an earthquake or other natural disaster.
That doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck, though. While your homeowners or renters insurance is unlikely to cover bed bugs, you may be able to get some help in getting rid of them.
Who’s Responsible for Bed Bugs?
Let’s start at the very beginning: who’s responsible when it comes to bed bugs? Tenants or landlords?
Even for a pest control professional, it’s extremely difficult to ascertain how a particular bed bug infestation started.
If you’ve been somewhere unusual recently, then you may have a good idea where the bed bugs came from. But that’s often not the case.
The reality is that bed bugs can be found in movie theaters, on public transit, in coffee shops and pretty much anywhere else that people gather.
Since only a single female bed bug needs to stowaway on you to start an infestation in your home, it’s very difficult to say with any degree of accuracy who is responsible for bed bug infestations.
This can lead to ugly scenes between renters and landlords.
Bed bug treatment can be costly, and no one wants to pay. Often, a bed bug issue can become a battle between the landlord and the tenant as to who is financially responsible for solving the problem.
To further complicate matters, different jurisdictions have different rules regarding this issue. So the first thing you’ll want to do is to check local laws where you live if you have a bed bug infestation.
Both Florida and Maine have a statewide rule that the owner of the property is responsible for getting rid of bed bugs, no matter where they came from.
At the municipal level, many cities have similar bylaws. New York City, for example, places responsibility for eradicating pests firmly on the landlord.
Across Canada, the situation is the same. Landlords are responsible for eradicating bed bugs, even if they are sure that the tenants brought them with them from their previous residence.
It’s a tough break if you’re a landlord. But it’s good news if you’re a renter.
Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs?
Recently, a few companies have begun to offer insurance against bed bug infestation. For example, insurance startup Jetty offers bed bug coverage as an add-on to its renter’s insurance policies.
For an extra dollar a month on your premium, you will be covered up to $300 in the event of a bed bug infestation. $300 may not cover the cost of full-scale extermination, but it could certainly help.
Likewise, Willis Group began offering Bedbug Infestation Recovery Insurance in 2011. However, this product is aimed more at commercial clients such as hotels and commercial properties.
As a general rule, though, renters insurance does not cover bed bugs.
A Bed Bug Insurance Plan Everyone Needs
If you rent your home and suspect you have a bed bug problem, the first thing to do is talk to your landlord. Depending on the laws where you live, they may be responsible for the full cost of any treatment.
But even if that’s not the case, an effective treatment will require the cooperation of both tenants and property owners.
For instance, if you live in an apartment building or similar multifamily dwelling, it’s possible that your neighbors have the same problem. It may be the case that that’s where your bed bugs came from.
Either way, the only effective treatment will involve treating not just your unit but that of your neighbors.
If insurance won’t protect you, you need to protect yourself. If there’s an outbreak of bed bugs in your area, follow these steps to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.
Here’s how to protect yourself against bed bugs – think of the below steps as your own insurance for bed bugs…
Avoid used furniture
Tempted by an amazing deal on Craigslist? Bad idea. One of the main ways that bed bugs spread is through the transportation of furniture.
It’s not always immediately apparent that a piece of furniture has bed bugs, either.
Be especially wary of mattresses, since this is a bed bug’s favorite place to hide. If you see a pile of mattresses out by the dumpster, especially if they look in suspiciously good condition, be very wary.
This is a common sign of a building with bed bug problems. Yes, secondhand furniture can save you money. But you’ll quickly spend all the money you saved and then some dealing with a bed bug infestation.
Invest in bed bug covers
Bed bug mattress covers are a great way to protect your mattresses from a bed bug infestation.
Even if you don’t currently have bed bugs, putting a cover on your mattress will ensure that no bed bugs can make their home there.
While this won’t necessarily stop bed bugs from biting you in the case of an infestation, it at least means that you won’t have to go to the expense of replacing a mattress once bed bugs take over.
Monitor for bed bugs
Bed bugs live to bite people. If you have a bed bug problem, usually the first sign is the bites on your skin.
But if you want to take a more proactive approach, consider putting bed bug traps under the legs of your bed. That way, if any bed bugs do get inside your home, chances are the first thing they will do is try to get into bed with you during the night for a midnight snack.
Bed bug traps are shallow plastic discs that you put under the legs of your bed. These will catch any bed bugs that try to climb up the legs, and you’ll see them there the next morning when you wake up.
It’s a lot easier to get rid of a bed bug infestation in its early stages than it is once the bugs have really taken hold.
Prevent bed bugs from entering your home
If you live in a building that’s been known to have bed bug issues before, or you simply want to be proactive, you may want to consider treating your house on a regular basis.
Using diatomaceous earth or a similar non-toxic chemical, spray along the baseboards of your home. You could also treat the legs and underside of any furniture.
This way, if any bed bugs do come into your home, there’s a good chance they will be killed before they get a chance to bite you or multiply.
The Best Bed Bug Insurance Money Can’t Buy
It’s very rare that a renters insurance policy will cover bed bug infestation. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do if it happens.
In many areas, your landlord will be responsible for at least some of the cost of treatment.
But the best way to deal with bed bugs is not to get them in the first place. Be very careful of used furniture. Be on the lookout for bed bugs when you stay in a hotel, and wash and dry your clothes and luggage the moment you get home.
Don’t give the bed bugs a chance to get established in your home. That’s the best insurance money can’t buy.
1 thought on “Is There Bed Bug Insurance? Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs?”
Re: the end of the article: How do you wash and dry your LUGGAGE when you get home?
We need the government to require landlords across the country, and worldwide, to buy
My roommate and I are disabled, and poor, and going through Hell, with a landlord BLAMING US! and requiring that WE pay $1, 500! for a small infestation.
We want them to be eradicated too, but not be blamed, or driven towards homelessness or suicide.