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Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs?

Updated Jan 6, 2023

Updated Jan 6, 2023

Home > Renters Insurance > Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs?

Renters insurance protects the tenant from the financial burden of replacing or repairing their property if it’s damaged during a covered incident, like a fire or storm. Renters insurance will even pay for medical costs for an individual injured in your home, such as if your dog bites someone. However, renters insurance won’t cover preventable damages, only sudden, physical losses. 

Typically, renters insurance doesn’t cover bed bug infestations because it’s considered a preventable problem through routine maintenance and preventative care. However, this isn’t the case for all bed bug infestations. Sometimes, your landlord may be legally obligated to fix the bed bug problem. 

Keep reading to learn more about when renters insurance will and won’t cover and other steps you should take to prevent bed bugs as a renter. 

Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs?

close-up photo of bed bug with eggs
Image Source: Canva

Homeowners insurance and renters insurance policies cover specific incidents, otherwise known as perils. 

Examples of commonly covered perils include: 

  • Water damage (not caused by flooding)
  • Fire and smoke damage
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Falling objects (for example, a tree falling onto your roof)
  • Burst pipes
  • Windstorms
  • Hail

Standard renters insurance policies don’t usually cover pest control for bed bugs, cockroaches, and other pests because it’s considered a preventable incident. In other words, pest prevention measures should be enough to avert a bed bug problem in the first place. If a huge infestation forms, this is considered the tenant’s fault, and it would be on you to pay for the infestation, medical expenses, and any necessary repairs or cleanup.

Other examples of preventable issues that renters insurance wouldn’t cover include damages to your home if the roof is in ill repair and not well maintained. The insurer may deny this claim because you neglected to maintain the property.  

If you’re interested in insurance coverage for pests like bed bugs, consider pest insurance for additional coverage. Some renters insurance companies also offer all-risk insurance coverage, which usually includes coverage for pests. 

Is My Landlord Required To Help With Pest Control Costs?

Bed bug extermination can easily cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, making this a large expense you don’t want to take on if you can avoid it. 

Pest control problems aren’t typically considered a landlord’s responsibility. However, this will vary based on the state you live in and the situation. 

Some state laws require landlords to take responsibility for bed bug extermination costs. These laws may even include the cost of replacing damaged personal belongings. 

Here are a few states with landlord laws regarding bed bugs: 

  • Florida requires landlords to exterminate bed bugs found on their rental property.
  • Arizona has laws prohibiting a landlord from renting a unit with known bed bugs. Landlords are also required to provide bed bug educational materials to renters. 
  • New Hampshire prohibits landlords from renting units with bed bug infestations. Landlords must conduct regular pest inspections and implement needed remediation programs. 

Check your state’s laws for specific, current information on what is and isn’t required of your landlord before you pay for an exterminator or attempt an insurance claim. 

Signs of Bed Bugs

So, how do you know if your unit has bed bugs? Bed bugs are too tiny to see with the naked eye easily, but they have distinct signs they leave behind that help with identification. 

Here are some of the most common signs of bed bugs: 

  • Dark spots on fabric or mattresses. Bed bugs typically live near or in beds or other upholstered fabric furniture. Bed bug excrement is dark enough to see when examining these surfaces, so look for this sign first. Blood stains may also be visible on the mattress. 
  • Bed bug bites are uncomfortable and will often appear on individuals living in the infested space because bed bugs feed on the blood of humans and other animals. They typically feed at night when the host is asleep. If you or your loved ones are waking up with itchy bites, you may have a bed bug infestation. These bites resemble mosquito or spider bites and may cause rashes on individuals with sensitive skin.  
  • Bed bug exoskeletons may be visible. Bed bugs molt, and their exoskeletons may be left behind on your bedding or other fabric surfaces. 
  • Bed bugs create a sweet, musty odor. 

If you believe you have a bed bug infestation, immediately contact a professional or your landlord to have the problem dealt with. Bed bugs are one of the most challenging pests to exterminate and can cause discomfort from itchy bites and psychological distress. They’re not known to spread disease but should be dealt with immediately. 

How To Prevent Bed Bugs

bed bugs crawling on a mattress
Image Source: Canva

Prevention is always easier than eradication later. 

Here are our top tips for preventing bed bugs: 

  • Be careful about the hotels, motels, Airbnb, and lodging you choose when you travel. Bed bugs are notorious for living in travel accommodations, and they can easily come home with you by crawling into your suitcase. Once in your home, they’ll reproduce and build a large infestation. 
  • Examine secondhand furniture, couches, beds, and fabrics before bringing them into your home. Bed bugs typically travel on people or inside fabrics. 
  • Decrease the clutter in your home. Pests love creating hiding places within clutter, so the less stuff you have, the lower your risk of pests. 
  • If you use shared laundry facilities, place all your items to be washed in plastic bags. Remove your clothing and linens from the dryer and take them home immediately. If you’re killing bed bugs in the dryer, which can effectively kill them on high heat, place the clothing in a new bag and transport it back home. 
  • Keep your home tidy by vacuuming regularly to kill bed bugs that successfully hitchhike into your home. 
  • Place a protective cover on your box springs and mattress to eliminate this common bed bug hiding place. The protective encasement is light in color, making checking for bed bugs or dark spots much more manageable. You can even purchase covers that are pre-treated with pesticides. 

Final Thoughts

Bed bugs are one of the most challenging pests to eradicate. If you find signs of bed bugs, immediately contact your landlord if they’re responsible for covering this incident or check your rental insurance coverage. Remember that most renters insurance policies don’t offer bed bug coverage unless you have an all-risk coverage plan. As a result, preventing bed bugs will always be better than relying on your insurance coverage for this costly treatment.

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