Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Bed Bugs?

Leonardo Castro November 3, 2020

Although home insurance covers many perils such as damage caused by lightning, fire and theft, home insurance does not cover bed bugs and the damage they might do to your home. In fact home insurance does not cover any infestations that cause home damage. Home insurance protects your home from any damage or destruction explicitly stated in your homeowners insurance policy. Bed bugs and other infestation are considered preventable hazards since these infestations result from keeping a home in a poor condition.

There are some cases in which homeowners insurance might cover pest infestation, like if it was caused by an accident covered in your policy. This is referred to as a proximate cause, which states that if a peril covered in your home insurance policy causes an infestation then it is covered. An example of a proximate clause would be if a pipe breaks and causes mold damage. If the water damage caused the mold or other infestation then the home insurance would likely reimburse you for fixing the mold damage. Although it is technically possible to get coverage from the proximate clause, it is worth noting that the chances of proximity coverage for bedbugs are slim since bed bugs do not result from any accidents such as fire or flooding.

What Is the Cost of Treating Bed Bugs?

Pest infestation of any sort can be very stressful and costly. The cost depends on the severity and the type of infestation. Bed bugs are one of the most costly infestations because they require a long extermination. The average prices of these extermination ranges between $300-$1200 and depend on the size of space that is being exterminated.

For example a studio or one bedroom apartment cost between $300- $900 while a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment cost around $400-$1,200. Bigger houses have a much higher cost ranging from $800 to $2,500.

Another factor that determines the price of extermination of bed bugs is the type of treatment the exterminator uses. The most expensive type of extermination is steam which does not use chemicals but uses the temperature of the steam to kill the bed bugs and eggs. The cost of the steam treatment is around $250 to $1000 per room.

The cheapest type of extermination is heat treatment in which the exterminator will drive hot air into the space to get the room temperature over 120 degrees. This method is somewhat effective as bed bugs have low tolerance for the heat but may still survive. This type of treatment cost around $1 to $3 per square foot.

How to Fix the Bed Bug Infestation

If your home is infested with bed bugs it can cause stress because they may damage the furniture in your home. So when you become aware of the infestation of bed bugs, your best option is to find a solution to the problem right away. Here are a few things you can do:

The best solution to removing bed bugs is to contact pest control. Pest control would come to your home and examine it to see if you indeed do have bed bugs or not. After that you can discuss rates and decide whether or not to exterminate them right away. These exterminations take around two weeks.

Vacuum your home such as furniture and rugs but make sure you empty the vacuum bag after the use and throw it away to get rid of any bed bug.

Some furniture will be more affected by bed bugs than others. Some things may have to be thrown out. But if the furniture is not heavily infested then it is possible to to minimize the infestation by doing a chemical treatment to exterminate the bed bugs from the furniture.

It is known that bed bugs cannot survive in high temperature so a good way to get rid of them would be to wash all washing machine friendly items and then dry them in high heat.

How to Avoid Getting Bed Bugs

The first thing to do to avoid getting infested with bed bugs is to familiarize yourself with signs of bed bugs. Bed bugs are oval small insects that are usually found in furniture such as box springs, mattresses, bed frames, wall outlets and floor cracks. These insects usually leave behind blood spots which appear to be dark red or brown on bed sheets, pillowcases and mattresses. Be on the lookout for these signs in your home to avoid a bug infestation.

Purchase mattress and box spring encasement and bed bug interceptors to protect your home and furniture from bed bugs. Bed bug encasements won’t exactly stop them from coming into your home but it will make it easier for you to eliminate them. These encasements trap bed bugs, which then die of starvation. The bed bug interceptors are cups that are placed under each foot of the bed frame to prevent bed bugs from climbing onto your bed.

Sometimes people buy second-hand furniture because they are on a low budget or they really like the item, but there is a big chance that these used mattresses and furniture bring bed bugs. Do not buy anything second hand unless it’s been inspected properly. Bed frames and mattresses have the greatest chance of holding bed bugs and their eggs so make sure that you inspect these thoroughly before bringing them home.

Bed bugs are known to attach to items and spread themselves. One common item that they attach to are suitcases and bags. It is important to safeguard your suitcases when you are visiting a hotel or other homes. One suggestion is that you wrap your suitcase with a trash bag when you arrive at a hotel to reduce the risk of catching bed bugs on trips. Another way to prevent getting bed bugs from hotels or other spaces would be to place your baggage in a desk or in the bathroom since those are areas where bed bugs are less likely to hide.

As stated before bed bugs often stick to our belongings such as luggage and clothes so another way to prevent bringing bed bugs home would be to wash everything immediately. When you arrive home from the hotel, vacuum your luggage to make sure you get rid of bed bugs. Not only clean your luggage but make sure to wash your clothes that you took on your trip even those that are clean so you don’t infest your closet.

According to the US Environment Protection Agency, bed bugs and other pests can form great hiding places in cluttered areas and dirty places. Cleaning up your home can be a good way to reduce hiding spots for bed bugs and make your home much nicer. Bed bugs also like to hide in cardboard boxes so it is better to replace them with plastic containers.

Another way to avoid getting bed bugs is to monitor your pets as these bugs also like to feed off pets. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation found that bed bugs like to travel through your pets and live in their bedding so it is advised to inspect your pets and their belongings too.

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