Why Renters Insurance Usually Doesn't Cover Bed Bugs
Renters insurance policies usually do not cover the extermination and cleanup of bed bugs — or other insects or vermin that might take up residence in your home.
Do you have bed bug coverage?
You can check if your renters insurance policy covers bed bugs by reading two important sections: "Perils Insured Against" and "Exclusions."
Perils Insured Against
Perils Insured Against are events that the insurance company explicitly agrees to cover. They usually include perils like fire, lightning, explosion, and falling objects.
If you have a Named Perils policy, your insurance will only cover the events on this list. Check your renters insurance policy for your coverages. If insects and vermin are not on the list of covered perils, then your insurance policy won't cover damage caused by them.
In contrast, if you have an Open Perils (All Risk) policy, your insurance will cover all losses except those explicitly excluded.
Exclusions are the events that the insurance company will not cover. Some common examples of exclusions are earth movement, flooding, and neglect.
If you have an Open Perils policy, check the exclusions. If insects and vermin are on that list, then bed bugs won't be covered.
Why aren't bed bugs covered?
Short Answer: A bug infestation is neither "sudden" nor "accidental."
Long Answer: An insurance policy's purpose is to act as a financial safety net for sudden, accidental losses. An infestation does not fall into that category.
By exercising caution when you travel, you can prevent a bed bug infestation from starting.
A bed bug infestation is gradual, and you'll probably notice it before any major damage can be done.
Bed bugs don't directly damage your property. You may need to dispose of certain soft objects like your mattress or pillows to get rid of the bugs. But, for the most part, remediation only requires sending things to the cleaners.
If the bed bugs were present when you moved in, contact your landlord. In many states, it's the landlord's responsibility to deal with a bed bug infestation. If you were the one who introduced bed bugs to the building, your landlord might charge you for the cleanup. However, extermination will be your landlord's responsibility if you can demonstrate that the bed bugs were in the apartment before you moved in, or if other apartments in your building are also infested with no clear source of the infestation.