Business

Does renters insurance cover bed bugs?

Exterminator spraying under kitchen cabinets.
Renters insurance typically doesn’t cover bed bugs.

  • Maintenance of your rental and pest control are the responsibility of the landlord. 
  • Bed bugs are usually due to lack of maintenance and typically aren’t covered by renters insurance.
  • If bed bugs are the result of damage from a covered insurance peril, renters insurance may cover.
  • See Insider’s guide to the best renters insurance companies.

According to a National Pest Management Association survey, “76 percent of pest professionals say [bed bugs] are the hardest bug to eradicate.”

Your landlord has an insurance policy on your rented home and is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of your rental unit. 

Renters insurance protects your personal property and offers personal liability coverage if your pet bites someone or a guest is injured in your rental. It also provides “loss of use” coverage if your rental becomes unlivable due to damage.

Who is responsible for damage to your belongings from pests like bed bugs?

Does renters insurance cover bed bug damage?

Renters insurance protects your personal property if it’s damaged by a covered event, known as an insurance peril. Common insurance perils include fire, smoketheft, and storms.

If bed bug damage is due to negligence or improper maintenance, it will not be covered by renters insurance. If bed bug damage is the result of a covered peril — such as a burst pipe, wind, or hail storm — it may be covered under standard renters insurance.

If bed bug damage is not related to an insurance peril (like those listed below), then most renters insurance companies will deny coverage because bed bugs are considered pests like rodents and can be prevented with routine maintenance, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Standard renters insurance typically covers these perils or events:

  • Fire or lightning
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Explosion
  • Riots
  • Aircraft
  • Vehicles
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam
  • Sudden and accidental tearing, cracking, burning, or bulging
  • Freezing
  • Sudden and accidental damage due to short circuiting
  • Volcanic eruption

Source: Data from The Zebra and Lemonade

Contact your local housing agency if bed bugs are from lack of maintenance by your landlord

Unlike homeowners, renters are not responsible for the maintenance of the rental unit. Your landlord is responsible for maintaining your rental. Many cities have landlord tenant ordinances that outline the responsibilities of landlord and tenant.

If you suspect bed bugs in your rental or building common areas, first contact your landlord or property management company. If bed bugs are a result of your landlord failing to keep the unit free from pests and rodents, consider filing a complaint with your local, county, or state housing department that oversees landlords. 

Many cities and counties have housing departments or landlord tenant organizations that hold landlords accountable for failing to maintain minimum standards of habitability — like heat in the winter, clean running water, pest-free, and lead-free. In major cities, calling 3-1-1 will get you to the right department. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that 21 states have laws that require landlords to take action from a bed bug infestation. If your landlord isn’t responsive to requests to fix the problem, contact local housing authorities or a landlord-tenant organization, like the Fair Housing Foundation.

Detection and removal of bed bugs

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Pest World notes that is usually hard to see bed bugs and that most people don’t have reactions to bed bug bites. This makes it hard to detect. The EPA has a free brochure to prevent and detect bed bugs. The EPA recommends the following:

  1. Prevent bed bugs by washing and changing your bed linens regularly.
  2. Do not bring second-hand furniture into your home without inspecting and cleaning it first.
  3. When traveling and using hotels, use a light and expect the bed and mattress. Don’t put your clothes in dressers or on the bed. If you think you’ve been exposed, put clothes in a seal tight plastic bag until they can be treated.
  4. Hire a licensed professional exterminator.
  5. Be careful using pesticides.

Filing a claim for bed bug damage

Remember, renters insurance usually only covers bed bug damage if it’s the result of an insurance peril. If your rental has bed bug damage due to an insurance peril, follow the steps below to file a renters insurance claim.

  1. Contact insurance carrier.
  2. Take pictures or video of the damage and where it is located.
Read the original article on Business Insider

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