Insure your property for the cost of bed bugs
Just the mention of bed bugs is enough to make most people itch, but if you are a property owner you won’t want to be left scratching your head looking for advice. But, should an outbreak arise, it is up to you as the homeowner to deal with the problem unless you can prove that the bed bugs are directly linked to the tenant.
Bed bugs in rental properties
Bed bugs live off hosts who can unwittingly bring them into your home. Due to the nature of home rentals, you can expect a higher turnover of tenants which puts your property at an increased risk of bed bugs.
It is difficult to know where the bed bugs may have come from as they can climb through the smallest of gaps, transport themselves between rooms and even travel from apartment to apartment, and shaming your tenants will only cause more discomfort for all. However, if you are interested to know more about tenant and landlord pest control rights when renting, please read this informative blog.
The ideal scenario, however, is to work in partnership with your tenants to fight back against bed bugs in your property. Because as we all know, bed bugs may be hard to spot initially, but they do not disappear overnight.
This includes making sure that regular maintenance takes place to keep any unwanted pests at bay – including bed bugs. Should the pesky little critters enter your property, you need to work as quickly as possible to get them back out.
Do insurance companies cover bed bugs?
The cost to clean up bed bugs can often be substantial and most standard insurance policies do not cover the elimination for infestations or vermin. Although bed bugs are mainly considered to be an act of god, there are a few insurance companies willing to offer cover to protect against them.
These specialized bed bug insurance policies offer pest control which covers the costs of eradication – often in the form of a pest control company. This type of bed bug insurance is generally taken by the landlord, who will recoup the cost of this policy in the overall price of the monthly lease.
If you are a concerned tenant, however, or know in advance that your landlord does not have bed bug insurance, then you may want to look into taking out your own protection cover.
As bed bugs are starting to become recognised as a real issue in the USA, more insurance companies are starting to offer bed bug insurance – often working in conjunction with reputable pest control companies. There are even some bed bug policies that are specifically aimed at assisting commercial properties and those within the hospitality industry.
How does bed bug insurance work?
A landlord will initially contact a pest control company to verify and inspect the bed bug situation. Once the problem has been confirmed by an expert, professional extermination should take place. It is vital that all bed bugs, eggs and larvae are treated so that a re-infestation does not occur.
Some bed bug insurances allow you to make a one off set claim to recoup any bed bug elimination costs. Others will allow you to reclaim your pest control expenses, loss of revenue, contents damage and will take care of any required repairs.
Does apartment insurance cover bed bugs?
If you are leasing an apartment, then standard apartment insurance will not cover you for bed bugs. Rental insurance generally covers you for loss of property caused by scenarios such as fire, theft or water damage.
Although bed bugs can cause significant damage to your soft furnishing and furniture, your apartment insurance will not cover the replacement costs. This is because bed bugs are considered by insurers to be a maintenance or hygiene issue only.
How much will it cost to remove bed bugs?
Bed bug insurance is a relatively new concept and when you combine this with the expense of pest control services, premiums can often seem high. When weighing up whether to take out bed bug insurance you should consider how much it would cost to save your business’s reputation or how much extra in rent your tenant would be prepared to pay for a restful night’s sleep.
Paying out for professional pest control treatment may seem costly, however if left untreated, it could stretch into thousands of dollars in home pest repairs alone. New mattresses, carpets and furniture…it doesn’t take long to add up.
As bed bugs are persistent pests, they often require multiple treatments and costs can vary between $125 to $500, with severe infestations requiring fumigation costing $1000’s.
If it's your responsibility to foot the bill for extermination and you have bed bug insurance, then you will need to call around for a selection of quotes, unless a specific company has been allocated to you. Some pest-control companies offer free inspections with or without extermination, while others can charge up to $200 just for this service alone.
If you do not have bed bug insurance and you want to attempt to banish bed bugs using do-it-yourself methods and techniques, then take a look at our guide for getting rid of bed bugs for good. Here you’ll find advice, tips and reviews on the best ways to detect, identify, treat and prevent bed bugs from taking over your property.
How to prevent bed bugs
A bed bug infestation is difficult to treat once bought into a property, so it is much easier to prevent them instead. Remember that bed bugs are mini hitch hikers and will seek their way into homes through people, furniture, bedding, boxes, clothing and luggage. Below are some top tips to prevent bed bugs:
- If you are renting a furnished apartment, then you should inspect the bed as soon as you arrive, scrutinizing for any marks, stains or signs of bed bugs. Also check behind the headboard and around the legs. Dig deep into mattresses, scratch along seams and check in and behind hanging headboards and pictures as well as electrical outlets. If you spot anything then you should alert your landlord immediately.
- If you are a landlord renting out a property unfurnished, however, then it is up to your tenant to make sure that they check any furniture or mattresses they bring through the door for bed bugs.
- As a landlord you could place protective covers on all mattresses and box springs to eliminate hiding places. They also make bed bugs easier to see. For more information check out our guide to the best bed bug mattress encasements
- Although a landlord has a legal requirement to let a property in habitable condition, it is up to the tenant to keep it clean and tidy on a regular basis. Landlords should do regular checks to ensure that this is being adhered too.
- If you are renting out a property in a shared building, then as the landlord you should take extra steps to protect your property from bed bugs by installing door sweeps and sealing cracks around light sockets and baseboards. Bed bugs can move through voids in the walls, so try not to place beds directly up against them and use interceptors on the bed legs to trap bed bugs that may attempt to climb.
Bed bugs are on the rise all over America and as a landlord or commercial property owner, we would strongly recommend that you look into the prospect of taking out bed bug insurance.
Although bed bug insurance may seem like an unnecessary additional expense, not taking it could prove a costly mistake.
If you are a tenant, then you should check your lease before moving in to find out your rights, should a bed bug infestation occur. This will then allow you to make an informed decision regarding whether you need to take out separate bed bug insurance on top of your rental apartment insurance.