You have taken out tenant insurance to protect yourself from the what-ifs of life. So when you wake up with a series of small bites, you might be wondering: does tenant insurance cover bed bugs?

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Bad news. In most cases, you can’t get tenant insurance to cover bed bugs. You’ll have to pay for the extermination or other treatment of your choice – provided you can’t prove that your landlord is responsible for the situation.

(This doesn’t mean you should drop your Tenants Policy. It still covers you against a whole host of risks.)

In short, tenant bed bug insurance is next to nonexistent. Let’s find out why.

[ Read: Is Renters Insurance Worth it?]

Does tenant insurance cover bed bugs?

No.

But your tenant insurance should protect you from unexpected disasters. Why doesn’t tenant insurance cover bed bugs?

Your tenant insurance protects you against sudden, inevitable disasters. Bed bugs will disqualify you for cover in two ways. First, insurers don’t see them as a sudden threat. Second, they are generally seen as avoidable. In fact, most insurers will argue that preventing and treating bed bugs is a maintenance issue.

Additionally, most tenant policies – both cheap and expensive tenant policies – specifically exclude bed bug insurance. Even All-Perils policies usually list bed bugs as a policy exclusion. (The same generally applies to household insurance.)

Some companies offer bed bug insurance for renters, which means you can add bed bug insurance to your policy. However, these endorsements are becoming increasingly difficult to find. And for insurance policies designed specifically for bed bugs, these are usually reserved for landlords and business owners (e.g. hotel owners). You will likely find it quite difficult to find rental insurance that includes bed bug protection.

[ Read: The Best Renters Insurance of 2021 ]

Should my landlord take care of bed bugs?

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

Legal rights as a tenant

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

It is easiest to rely on your statutory rights as a tenant if your landlord is handling the infestation in two cases:

  • They just moved in and found bed bugs. If so, you can probably prove that the bed bugs were there before you.
  • You live in a multiple unit property and multiple units have bed bugs. If the bed bugs cannot be traced back to you or another tenant in the property, your landlord will need to take care of it.

Bed bug laws

In some states, landlords are required by law to get rid of bed bugs on their property. For example, in Arizona, California, and other states, a landlord cannot knowingly rent a unit with bed bugs. In Florida, landlords are specifically required to eradicate bed bugs every time they appear on their property.

Ultimately, bed bug laws vary from state to state. However, this doesn’t mean you have to check your state’s statutes and codes to find out if your landlord is on the hook. The EPA has a convenient alphabetical table that summarizes all of the bed bug laws in each state.

[ Read: How Much Renters Insurance Do I Need? ]

How do I prevent bed bugs?

Since you know you don’t have bed bug insurance for renters, you definitely want to avoid this infestation. Staying away from bed bugs is a great way to check items before you bring them into your home.

After the journey

If you travel to a place that you suspect has bed bugs, wash the clothes you are wearing and shower immediately. Then leave your suitcases outside until you can wash everything in them (hot) and vacuum them thoroughly. Make sure you hit all the seams with extra care.

After buying second hand

If you are looking for furniture or clothing items, double-check anything you are taking home before you bring it in.

Tips at home

Additionally, there are a few things you can do around the house to make bed bugs more difficult to thrive there:

  • Clean up clutter around your bed so these bugs have no place to hide
  • Vacuum around your bed regularly
  • Put your mattress in a protective cover (bed bugs love to hide in mattress seams)

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How do I get rid of bed bugs?

You have a few ways to get rid of these pesky pests:

Hire an exterminator

Your best bet for getting rid of bed bugs is to bring in a professional. The cost of treating your bed bug infestation can vary depending on the extent of your infestation and the treatment you choose, but you’re probably looking for between $ 500 and $ 1,500.

Wash what you can – and seal what you can’t

Run all of your clothes through the wash on a hot cycle for both washer and dryer. Do the same with your bedding and literally anything else you can wash, including comforters, curtains, towels, carpets, and stuffed animals.

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

Vacuum, then carefully deflate the vacuum

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

Take the vacuum outside immediately after you have finished vacuuming. Put the contents in a garbage bag and seal. Put this bag in an outdoor trash – don’t bring it in or you risk undoing all of your progress.

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We appreciate your feedback on this article. Contact us at Inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

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