Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs? | The Simple Dollar

Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs? | The Simple Dollar

You bought renters insurance to protect you against life’s what-ifs. So if you wake up with a row of small bites, you might be wondering: Does renters insurance cover bed bugs?

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Bad news. In most cases, you can’t get renters insurance to cover bed bugs. You’ll be on the hook for paying for extermination or the other treatment of your choice — provided you can’t prove your landlord is responsible for the situation. 

(This doesn’t mean you should drop your renters policy. It still covers you against a whole bunch of risks.) 

Long story short, renters insurance bed bugs coverage is pretty much nonexistent. Let’s find out why.

[ Read: Is Renters Insurance Worth it?]

Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs? 


But your renters policy is supposed to protect you against unexpected disasters, so why doesn’t renters insurance cover bed bugs? 

Your renters insurance safeguards you against sudden, unavoidable disasters. Bed bugs disqualify you for coverage in two ways. First, insurers don’t see them as a sudden peril. Secondly, they’re generally seen as avoidable. In fact, most insurers will argue preventing and dealing with bed bugs is a maintenance issue. 

Beyond that, most renters policies — both cheap and pricey renters policies — specifically exclude bed bug coverage. Even all-perils policies usually list bed bugs as a policy exclusion. (The same is generally true for home insurance policies, too.) 

Some companies offer renters insurance bed bugs endorsements, meaning you could add bed bug coverage to your policy. But these endorsements are increasingly hard to find. And as far as insurance policies designed specifically for bed bugs, those are usually reserved for landlords and business owners (e.g., hotel owners). You’ll probably have a pretty hard time finding renters insurance with bed bugs coverage. 

[ Read: The Best Renters Insurance of 2021 ]

Is my landlord supposed to take care of bed bugs? 

Does renters insurance cover bed bugs? No. But does that mean you definitely need to pay out-of-pocket to deal with them? Not necessarily. In some cases, the infestation is your landlord’s responsibility. 

Legal rights as a tenant 

In most states, landlords have to provide their tenants with a safe, habitable living space. If you can prove that the bed bugs are your landlord’s fault — not yours — you have a leg to stand on here.

It’s easiest to lean on your legal rights as a tenant to have your landlord handle the infestation in two cases:

  • You just moved in and found bed bugs. In this case, you can probably prove that the bed bugs were there before you.
  • You live in a multi-unit property and multiple units have bed bugs. If the bed bugs can’t be traced back to you or another tenant at the property, your landlord will have to deal with them. 

Bed bug laws 

In some states, landlords are legally required to get rid of bed bugs at their property. In Arizona, California and other states, for example, a landlord can’t knowingly rent a unit that has bed bugs. In Florida, landlords are explicitly required to exterminate bed bugs any time they show up on their property.

Ultimately, bed bug laws vary from state to state. But that doesn’t mean you have to delve your state’s statutes and codes to find out if your landlord is on the hook. The EPA has a handy, alphabetically organized spreadsheet summarizing all bed bug laws in each state. 

[ Read: How Much Renters Insurance Do I Need?

How do I prevent bed bugs? 

Since you know you’re lacking renters insurance bed bugs coverage, you want to avoid this infestation, for sure. Steering clear of bed bugs comes down to checking items before you bring them into your house. 

After travel

If you travel somewhere you suspect had bed bugs, launder any clothes you’re wearing and shower right away. Then, leave your suitcases outside until you can launder everything in them (on hot) and vacuum them out thoroughly. Make sure you hit any seams with extra care. 

After buying second-hand 

If you thrift for furniture or clothing items, check anything you bring home really well before you bring it inside. 

Tips at home

Additionally, you can do a few things around the house to make it harder for bed bugs to thrive there:

  • Clear out clutter around your bed so these bugs don’t have a place to hide
  • Vacuum regularly around your bed
  • Put your mattress inside a protective cover (bed bugs love hiding in mattress seams)

America’s top-rated renters insurance

  • Policies starting at just $5/month
  • Sign up in seconds, claims paid in minutes
  • Zero hassle, zero paperwork

How do I get rid of bed bugs? 

You have a few options you can explore to nix those pesky pests:

Hire an exterminator

Your best bet for ditching bed bugs is to bring in a pro. Costs to treat your bed bug infestation can vary based on the extent of your infestation and the treatment you choose, but you’re probably looking at somewhere between $500 and $1,500. 

Launder what you can — and seal up what you can’t

Run all your clothes through the laundry on a hot cycle for both the washer and dryer. Do the same with your bedding and literally anything else you can launder, including bedskirts, drapes, towels, rugs and stuffed animals. 

If something can’t go through the wash, double bag it in a trash bag and be prepared to stash it for a while. Bed bugs can live for months without feeding. 

Vacuum, then empty your vacuum carefully

Vacuum the crevices of your mattresses and furniture. Vacuum all of your floors, focusing particularly on the areas around the legs of your bed, too. 

Immediately after finishing vacuuming, take the vacuum outside. Dump the contents into a trash bag and seal it. Place that bag in an outside trash — don’t bring it inside or you risk undoing all of your progress. 

[ Read: How to Buy Cheap Renters Insurance Online ]

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