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If you’re renting a home, you may have considered getting renters insurance. It’s a good investment that will protect you financially should disaster strike. This policy covers various conditions like fire, windstorms, theft, and hail. Therefore, it’s natural to think that the coverage can also extend to pests. But does renters insurance cover bed bugs? Here’s what you need to know about renters insurance concerning these pests.
Renters Insurance Won’t Cover Bed Bug Infestation
Renters insurance only covers a loss if it’s sudden and direct. A bed bug infestation occurs over time, meaning it’s not considered a sudden and direct loss. As such, your renters coverage won’t pay for the damage caused. Home routine maintenance can prevent a bed bug infestation. And because that is the tenant’s responsibility, insurance companies choose not to cover it.
Most renters insurance policies don’t explicitly state that they won’t cover bed bugs. But if you check on the declaration page, on the exclusion section, you might notice certain exclusions. Some of them include ‘infestation,’ ‘nesting,’ or ‘discharge of waste.’ This means such perils are excluded from personal property coverage.
Extermination isn’t the only cost not covered. If your mattress is infested and you have to get rid of it, the policy won’t replace it with a new one. At the same time, if bed bugs bite you and you have to go to the hospital, the policy won’t cover medical expenses.
Another example is if you have guests who are bitten, and they choose to sue you. Your liability policy won’t cover the legal fees. Whatever costs arise from a bed bug infestation, you’re responsible.
What Causes Bed Bug Infestation?
Bed bugs are often found where people live as they feed on blood. They can come to your home in various ways. If you travel a lot, they can be transferred in backpacks, luggage, or purses. These pests can also travel from one house to the next if you live in a multi-unit building. Bed bugs are pretty resilient as they can go up to a year without food. They’re also experts when it comes to hitching on people’s luggage until they find nice and warm clothes, furniture, or beds to breed and live in.
How to Tell You Have a Bed Bug Infestation
It’s better to find out about a bed bug infestation early before the pests spread. According to Environmental Protection Agency, here is how you can find bed bugs.
- Itchy spots: Dark red spots on your skin could indicate bed bug bites
- A cluster of spots or bites: If you notice a small area on your skin with a cluster of bites, you may have a bed bug problem.
- Tiny dark spots on your beddings: These are fecal matter that can also appear on your carpet and upholstered surfaces.
- Small spots of blood on your sheets: If the bitten skin makes contact with your bedding, you may notice some red spots on your bedsheets.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Having bed bugs in your home is costly, especially if the infestation has spread. We have answered your question -does renters insurance cover bed bugs. This means all costs fall on you. Suppose any family member is allergic to bed bug bites, they’ll need to go to the hospital. This is a medical expense you had not planned for. There’s also the possibility of your guest being bitten and going to the hospital. This makes you liable for the medical costs. Beyond all this, you have to call an exterminator to eliminate the bugs. On average, exterminators charge between $300 and $5,000. This is cash you could have directed to other projects. The safe solution is to try and avoid bed bugs as much as possible.
DIY Methods of Getting Rid of Bed Bugs
If the bed bug infestation has not spread widely, you can eliminate it. Here are some steps that can help you eliminate them.
- Vacuum regularly: Try and vacuum as often as possible and focus on areas where bed bugs can hide. This can be near the crevices around the floor, box spring, bed frame, and mattress. Once you’re done, dump the content to prevent the pests from returning.
- Eliminate clutter around your home: Pick clutter around your home, as that is where bed bugs hide. As they move to new locations, you’ll be able to spot them easily.
- Seal or fix cracks in your wall: This eliminates one more space for bugs to hide.
- Wash your beddings and clothes on high heat: Bed bugs can’t survive temperatures above 122°F. Start by washing the clothes in hot water and a detergent, then dry them using your dryer’s highest possible heat setting.
- Scrubs the seams of the upholstery or mattress with a stiff brush: This will eliminate the bugs or laid eggs hiding in the crevices.
- Freeze your bedding and clothes: Aside from heat, cold can also be deadly to bed bugs. Put your bedding and clothes in the freezer for a couple of days. If the temperatures are freezing outside, leave the bedding outside.
How to Prevent Bed Bugs
The best solution to dealing with bed bugs is to prevent them in the first place. They can be an expensive problem to deal with, but you can minimize the chances of an infestation through the following steps.
- If you buy second-hand furniture such as couches and beds, inspect them for signs of infestation before taking them home.
- If you stay in a multi-unit building, you can take measures to ensure bed bugs don’t make their way into your unit. Install door sweep and seal crevices around light sockets and baseboards.
- Encase your box springs and mattress in a protective cover. This will make eliminating bugs much easier.
- Learn how to identify bed bugs. They are tiny pests, about a quarter inch long and oval in shape. They leave blood spots and fecal deposits on the bedding. If you use light-covered bedding, it’s easy to identify them as they are brown.
- If you’re staying in a hotel, check for signs of bed bugs on the furniture, bedding, and nightstand. You should also use luggage racks to keep your suitcase off the floor.
Is My Landlord Responsible for Getting Rid of Bed Bugs?
When trying to understand does renters insurance cover bed bugs, you may wonder if your landlord is responsible for eliminating these pests in your home. Well, in certain circumstances, the landlord is liable. This is especially common if it’s a multi-unit building. However, it will depend on the circumstances of the infestation.
Start by checking your lease. Does it specify who is responsible for getting rid of bugs in a unit? If you’re living in a rental unit under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the lease holds the landlord responsible for extermination. But if your negligence led to the infestation, you’ll be held liable.
What Are Your Rights as a Tenant?
As a tenant, you have various rights under the concept of implied warranty of habitability. This means the landlord must provide a housing structure that complies with basic safety standards of housing. Those standards include safe drinking water, structurally sound floors, and walls, heat, and no vermin.
So, does this guarantee the landlord will cover the cost of eliminating bed bugs? Not necessarily. If it’s clear you introduced the pests to your house, the extermination bill is on you. For instance, if you live in a multi-unit property and it’s just your unit infested, you probably brought the bugs, making it your responsibility.
Another instance is if you have lived in a unit for more than two years and have never complained of bed bugs. Suddenly, you take a solo vacation, and when you return, you complain about bed bugs. Chances are that you came with bugs on your trip, which makes it your responsibility.
Renters Insurance Options for Bed Bugs
Now that you have your answer to, does renters insurance cover bed bugs, you may want to know if there’s specific coverage for that. Even though some insurance companies offer bed bug insurance coverage, you may have to research before finding the right company. The policy was quite popular around 2011, during the peak of a bed bug epidemic in certain neighborhoods. Since the epidemic died down, those policies are no longer available. Some are only available for businesses that deal with the accommodation.
Still, it’s worth checking if you can find the policy around your location. The policy will work just like your usual renters insurance policy. It will cover all the costs associated with a bed bug infestation, such as replacing furniture, medical expenses, and legal fees. Its likely policies will not extend to other pests like termites, rats, or roaches. Ask for the specifics before buying it.
Do You Need Renter’s Insurance? Let ONIT Home Help
Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs? Not really. But at ONIT home, we can help you find the right renters insurance policy for your needs. Let us do the research for you and inform you of various insurance deals. For more information, check out our website or call us at 1-833-433-0331.