Will Renters or Tenants Insurance Cover Bedbugs?
April 22, 2022
Whether you like creepy crawlies or not, it’s a completely different story when you find them climbing on your kitchen counters or, worse, burrowing into your walls, mattresses, and other furniture. Winter can be high-time for infestations, especially if you’re travelling around a lot and potentially spreading bugs from one location to another. This is also due to the fact that bugs may find shelter in your warm home, whether that’s in the walls or near a guaranteed food location: i.e, your kitchen.
No one wants bugs. But is a bed bug infestation covered by your renter’s insurance policy? Unfortunately, the answer is no. A standard policy will not typically include damages that result from infestations, but all is not lost. Read on for some tips on how to deal with bedbugs and infestations.
Renter’s Insurance and Bedbugs
The reason why your renter’s or tenant’s insurance won’t cover bedbugs is that infestations typically come out of a lack of maintenance or happen gradually over time. By nature, your renter’s insurance policy is meant to cover you for sudden or unexpected disasters resulting in a loss. Infestations can be prevented with routine maintenance and general inspection. Unfortunately, they can also come with a cost, including hiring an exterminator, replacing your existing mattress or bedding, medical expenses if bed bugs spiral out of control, and a temporary hotel stay while the situation is being dealt with.
You’ll also find that your renter’s or tenant’s insurance typically won’t cover the following:
- Acts of war
- Nuclear explosions
- Government evacuation
- Undisclosed vacancy
- Poor maintenance
- Some valuables
Discuss with your broker what is and isn’t covered if you aren’t sure. Excalibur Insurance’s brokers can help you review your policy and break down your coverage for you.
What are bedbugs, and how do you identify them?
You can identify bedbugs as reddish-brown, small insects that may leave behind rusty stains on mattresses. Dark spots – i.e, bed bug excrement – may bleed onto fabric and mattresses, not unlike a marker would. You may even notice your new pals leaving behind eggs or eggshells, which are smaller than 1mm, and may begin leaving behind shed skins as nymphs start to grow larger.
Moreover, you may notice bites on your skin and on your family members. Bites may look like mosquito or spider bites and, for sensitive persons, can quickly spiral out-of-control into full-brown rashes, which can easily be mistaken for eczema or even hives. Not everyone reacts to bug bites, but those who do may find that the welts left behind will be burning or itching.
Bed Bug Insurance Endorsements
Note that not every insurance carrier is the same, and few will offer the exact same endorsements, discount options, or see risk the same way, so this may not apply to your own insurance company. Some insurance companies will offer a specific endorsement, available for purchase, that can help with remediation following a bed bug infestation. This endorsement may include coverage for:
- Cleaning and sanitizing post-infestation
- Treating any units near yours to prevent additional infestations
- Disposal of affected property and furniture
- Ensuring that the bedbugs have been eradicated
- Restoration or replacement of affected belongings
- Additional living expenses if you are forced to temporarily relocate
Note that your landlord is not responsible for your infestation so long as the bed bugs are confined to just your unit. You, as the tenant or renter, are meant to handle the routine maintenance of the unit, which includes ensuring that your place is clean and free of anything “inviting” to bed bugs.
How do you prevent a bedbug infestation?
Not everything is guaranteed, but there are some ways you can significantly reduce your exposure to bed bugs. Here are some tips:
- Vacuum your carpet and rug areas often, especially after you come in from the outdoors or have been travelling
- Use light-coloured sheets and mattress covering, as these can make it easier to identify bedbugs before the problem worsens.
- Never use free furniture that has been left curbside. If you purchase second-hand furniture, be sure to double-check it for signs of infestation before it enters your home.
- Seal cracks and crevices around baseboards to prevent bugs from entering your home from adjacent units.
- After you have travelled, be sure to check your bedding for signs of bedbugs. Check your luggage thoroughly once you have returned home.
- Keep your spaces clear of clutter.
- Avoid leaving food out in the open. If you must leave baked goods out to cool, put them on a wire rack and off the counter. Clear up any crumbs or debris afterwards.
- Clean out your fridge and kitchen countertops frequently.
How do you deal with a bedbug infestation?
It’s easier to prevent an infestation than to stop one once it has occurred. However, if you do find yourself dealing with an infestation or suspect you may have bedbugs, you may find the following steps and tips useful:
- First, find the source of the bedbugs. They typically like enclosed, dark spaces like clothing, luggage, beds, couches, and other furniture.
- Clean your linens, curtains, bedding, and clothing in hot water, and dry them high and away from the ground. Anything that can’t be washed – like shoes or stuffed animals – should be put in the dryer and left to tumble for half an hour.
- Vacuum your mattresses and place the cleaner bag in a plastic bag in an outside garbage bin.
- Remove any clutter around your bed and inspect.
- Use a DIY-cleaner.
- Try to seal up any entryways you find where bedbugs may be entering from.
- In most cases, it is safest to hire a pest control professional to do bedbug extermination.
Bedbugs aren’t fun for anyone involved. For more answers regarding your renter’s insurance or tenant’s insurance and what it covers, discuss with an Excalibur Insurance broker. They can review your policy with you to ensure you have a clear idea of what you’re covered for.