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Are Bed Bugs Damages Covered by Renters Insurance?

Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs?

If you live in an apartment building, you could be confronted with a pest  infestation, like cockroaches, mice, or any other sort of critter. But bed bugs damages and infestations can turn into a total nightmare and seriously affect your living situation. Indeed, bed bugs are very annoying, as they bite your skin and have many other consequences for your living space. 

Bed bugs are tough to get rid of. The costs to fix bed bugs damages can be quite high. Eliminating them is also very difficult. If you have renters insurance, you might wonder if it covers bed bugs damages. Sadly, the answer is no in most cases. Find out why renters insurance usually doesn’t cover bed bugs in this article. 

Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs Damages?

Renters insurance protects your personal property if it’s damaged by a covered event, which is known as insurance peril. Common risks covered by renters insurance include natural disasters like fire, smoke, theft, and storms. Renters insurance may include hurricane coverage for damage caused to belongings, but it might not cover flooding. As you can see, there is a lot of variety to what is and isn’t covered by renters insurance. 

Renters insurance usually does not cover bed bugs damages if it’s due to negligence or bad maintenance. Most policies have a proximate clause. If the bed bugs damages is the result of a covered peril — such as hailstorm, wind, a burst pipe — it may be covered by standard renters insurance.

But it’s very unlikely that bed bugs will be caused by external damage. For your insurer to consider covering bed bugs due to external damage is a truly unlikely and unique situation.

If the bed bugs damages are not related to insurance risk, most renters insurance companies will deny coverage because bed bugs are considered pests and can be avoided through proper maintenance.

If your apartment is infested with bed bugs, standard tenant insurance will not cover expenses such as medical expenses for bed bug bites, buying a new mattress or bedding, bagging personal effects to contain bed bugs and prevent their spread, and staying in a hotel while your apartment is exterminated.

If you want to have renters insurance that covers bed bugs, you may be interested in Jetty Renters insurance. All of Jetty’s insurance policies provide customers with $300 coverage to deal with bed bug elimination at no additional cost. While $300 may not cover the entire cost of bed bug elimination, other insurance companies provide no coverage or compensation, so it’s a selling point. Jerry Renters have excellent reviews on the Google Play Store and the App Store, which is indicative of good service.

Is Bed Bug Treatment Covered by Homeowners Insurance? 

So, in most cases, renters insurance won’t cover bed bug treatment. But is that the case for homeowner insurance? Much like with renters insurance, a bed bug infestation isn’t usually covered by homeowners insurance. 

Taking care of bed bugs and other insects is part of home maintenance. The idea is that a properly cleaned and maintained home should not lead to an infestation. 

An infestation begins slowly, so it is not considered sudden, accidental damage. This means that you will be responsible for the cost of any damage caused by bed bugs, extermination, living expenses during treatment, and replacing items you need to get rid of. 

It’s not just bed bugs damages that probably won’t be covered by your home insurance. Other insect damages, such as termites, will also not be covered unless you have special coverage usually provided by pest control companies as part of their termite control plan.

Who Is Responsible For Getting Rid of Bed Bugs?

Whether a landlord or renter is responsible for a bed bug infestation varies by state. In most states, landlords are required to provide habitable accommodation. 

Most states require landlords to provide habitable accommodation, and most courts do not consider bed bug-infested accommodation to be habitable. Thus, as long as the tenant has not introduced the bed bugs, the landlord is generally responsible for the extermination.  If there were no bed bugs before the tenant moved in, that means the tenant is likely the cause of the infestation. In these cases, they should cover the bill.

However, it is often very difficult to determine who introduced bed bugs in multi-unit buildings: many tenants may move in and out, some may have recently traveled abroad and brought home bed bugs, and others may have brought home furniture containing bed bugs. 

As a result, landlords or their insurers often end up paying the extermination bill and eventually moving costs for tenants in properties with multiple rental units.

If you live in a single-family home, especially if you’ve lived there for a long time, the landlord is more likely to hold you responsible for the infestation and their extermination costs, simply because there are no other tenants to blame.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Even if your landlord pays for an exterminator, this might not solve your problem. In fact, it’s getting harder for exterminators to kill bed bugs. 

Indeed, bed bugs have begun to become resistant to pesticides. This is especially true in big cities, where exterminators are using lots of pesticides to try to kill them. 

Bed bugs are known to hide in the corners and cracks of any space. In areas infested with bed bugs, exterminators use a variety of treatments, including high heat and steam. Some pest control companies even have dogs trained to detect bed bugs to make sure the infestation is completely gone.

Exterminators generally recommend that tenants of accommodations infested with bed bugs take the following steps:

      • Remove any clutter.
      • Remove all items from cupboards, shelves and drawers.
      • Wash in hot water all your bedding and clothing. Then, put washed items in sealed plastic bags.
      • Move out while the exterminator is doing the treatment (this is usually done within one day).
      • Destroy infested objects that cannot be treated, such as mattresses.

Can You Terminate a Lease Because of Bed Bugs?

Terminating a lease due to bed bugs can be a long process, but it is possible. There are cases where landlords have voluntarily terminated their tenants’ leases after being sued or after being told that the tenants will sue them due to neglect of reported issues. It is wise to contact a lawyer, especially if you have signed a contract and you are far from the end of your lease.

Keep in mind that you can’t end your lease without telling your landlord, because he might be the one suing you in the end. As inconvenient as your situation may be and despite the need to act quickly, it is best that you consult a tenant lawyer to help you make the right decisions.

Featured Image: Megapixl

About the author: Stéphanie Bédard-Châteauneuf has over four years of experience writing financial content for various websites. Over the years, Stephanie has covered various industries, with a primary focus on consumer stocks, cannabis stocks, tech stocks, and personal finance. This stock lover likes to invest for the long-term. Stephanie has an MBA in finance.

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