Does Renters Insurance coverage Cowl Mattress Bugs? – Forbes Advisor

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Bed bugs are often associated with travel and hotel rooms, but your home is hardly a safe haven from the dreaded pests. In fact, pest control experts are more likely to find bed bugs in single-family homes, apartments, and condominiums than in hotels and motels, according to the National Pest Management Association’s latest survey by Bugs Without Borders.

Summer is the busiest season for bed bugs. More than half of pest control experts say they get the most bed bug symptoms during the warmer months. This is partly due to increased travel, which can help carry bed bugs home from vacation destinations, or college students returning home over the summer vacation.

And if you haven’t got the Heebie jeebies yet, there’s even nastier news: regular tenant insurance doesn’t cover bed bugs. But you may have other options.

Investigation of the bed bug

Bed bugs are small oval-shaped insects that are about ¼ inch long and reddish brown. They have six legs and two antennae, but they have no wings and cannot fly. Bed bugs are “hitchhikers” that cling to suitcases, clothing, and bed linen, which can spread the infestation.

They are visible to the naked eye and can be recognized by small reddish-brown stains on mattresses, walls and upholstery. You can also identify an infestation by finding molting skins and empty eggshells that appear pale white after molting.

Bed bugs feed primarily on humans and other warm-blooded animals. Their bites are painless and most people do not wake up when bitten. While bed bugs do not transmit disease, the bites often result in red, itchy welts.

The biggest problem with bed bugs is how quickly they spread. Females can lay one to five eggs a day and 541 eggs in their lifetime. Nymphs turn into adult bed bugs in about 21 days. If a bed bug population goes undetected, an entire household or building can quickly be infested. Bed bugs are difficult to get rid of and usually require professional treatment.

Why doesn’t tenant insurance cover bed bugs?

Standard renter insurance does not cover rodent or insect infestations, including bed bugs. That’s because tenant insurance is designed to cover sudden, unexpected damage such as fire or tornado damage. Pest control is usually viewed as routine maintenance.

If your apartment is infected with bed bugs, standard tenant insurance will not cover costs such as:

  • Medical expenses for bed bug bites
  • Buying a new mattress or bedding
  • Stay in a hotel while your home is being exterminated

Related: What Does Tenant Insurance Cover?

Insurance options for renters for bed bugs

Some insurance companies offer approval of the cost of getting rid of bed bugs. A confirmation is also known as a “driver” and is a supplement to a policy.

A bed bug certificate can help if your insurer offers one. For example, tenant insurance from American National Property and Casualty Co. has coverage choices of $ 500, $ 750, or $ 1,000 for a 12 month period and pays down:

  • Eliminate bed bug infestations in the home
  • Seal and treat units adjacent to the infected unit to prevent further infestation
  • Dispose of contaminated property
  • Clean and disinfect the residence
  • Clean or replace the policyholder’s items that were in the infected home
  • Confirm the bed bug elimination

The insurance cover includes paying additional living expenses if you cannot live in your infested apartment.

Is my landlord responsible for bed bug control and other expenses?

A landlord’s responsibility for bed bugs depends on where you live. In some states, landlords are not responsible for bed bugs if they are only found in a unit. That’s because tenants are responsible for routine maintenance of their unit, including pest control.

In other locations such as Florida, Maine, and New York City, a landlord is required to eradicate bed bugs if they are found in your home.

For example, in New York City, landlords are required by law to eradicate bed bugs within 30 days and prevent the affected units from being re-infested. New tenants must have a one-year history of bedbugs. If a landlord fails to disclose a bed bug history, you can request a DBB-N tenant complaint about the owner’s failure to disclose bed bug infestation / medical history and an order form to file a complaint. Call or visit a district office to request that the form be sent.

Here is a list of the National Pest Management Association’s state bed bug laws.

Worst cities for bed bugs

How to prevent bed bug infestations at home

Here are some tips from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help prevent bed bug infestation:

  • Check used furniture such as beds and couches for signs of infestation before bringing them to your home.
  • Use a light-colored protective cover that covers your mattress and box spring beds. The light color makes bed bugs more visible.
  • Reduce the clutter in your home to reduce the hiding places for bed bugs.
  • Vacuum often to remove bed bug “hitchhikers”.
  • When using communal laundry facilities, carry items in plastic bags. Take clothes straight from the dryer into the bag and fold them at home (a high heat dryer can kill bed bugs). If the infestation is active, use a new bag for the journey home.
  • If you live in an apartment building, take steps to prevent insects from entering from other units, such as the apartment building. B. the application of door sweeps and the sealing of cracks and crevices around skirting boards and lamp sockets.
  • When you travel, check linens for signs of bed bugs and use luggage racks to keep your luggage off the floor. Check your luggage when you return home and do not store your luggage under your bed.

If you spot bed bugs in your home, contact a pest controller. Bed bugs multiply quickly and it can be very difficult to get rid of an infestation on your own.

For more information on bed bugs, including tips on prevention and treatment, visit the EPA website.