Does renters insurance cover bed bugs?

Renters insurance generally won’t cover bed bugs. That doesn't necessarily mean you're responsible for paying extermination costs out of pocket, though. In some instances, your landlord may be responsible for controlling bed bugs, mice, and other vermin.

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Is there renters insurance that covers bed bugs?

Standard renters insurance policies typically won't offer coverage for bed bug infestations or any resulting damage. If an infestation occurs, you or your landlord are responsible for covering the extermination costs.

Are landlords responsible for bed bugs?

According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), every state has different laws that determine who's responsible for getting rid of bed bugs and cities may have their own ordinances in place. In some cases, your landlord may be required to pay for extermination expenses, especially if multiple units in your building show signs of bed bugs. If the bed bugs were the result of your negligence, you may be responsible for the cost of extermination.

How to prevent bed bugs

Bed bugs can be an expensive problem, but here's how you can minimize the chances of an infestation:

  • Encase mattresses and box springs in a protective cover, inspect second-hand furniture and never buy a used mattress
  • Know how to identify bed bugs: they're oval, brown, approximately ¼-inch long, and leave behind fecal deposits or blood spots
  • Vacuum frequently and launder clothes and linens at the hottest temperature suitable for the fabric
  • When staying in a hotel or away from home, check the bed, nightstand, and furniture for signs of bed bugs

How to treat bed bugs

Your best bet is to hire a pest control expert, but here are some DIY tips for eliminating bed bugs.

  • If you choose not to purchase a new mattress, use a stiff scrub brush on your mattress before running a vacuum
  • Vacuum over all infested areas and possible hiding places; make sure to seal up the vacuumed contents in a plastic bag and dispose of them right away
  • Seal up all infested items that can’t be laundered in a plastic bag for a few months to ensure the bugs die
  • Wash and dry clothing and linens at your machine’s highest temperature setting

Pro tip:

As a tenant, you have a responsibility to keep your dwelling clean and well-maintained. If your landlord can prove that your negligence caused the problem, they may be able to deduct extermination costs from your security deposit. Always keep food properly sealed and stored, and make sure to dispose of trash appropriately by placing it in closed bins.

Does renters insurance cover pests besides bed bugs?

Like bed bugs, renters insurance typically won’t cover rodent infestations or damage from termites or cockroaches. If you think that you have mice, rats, or other pests in your residence, act as quickly as possible to mitigate costly damage and potential health risks.

Contact your landlord at the first sign so they can bring in an exterminator before the situation evolves into a widespread issue.

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