Does Homeowners Insurance Pay for Bed Bug Extermination?

The cost for professional bed bug extermination typically ranges from $500 to $1,500, depending on the extent of the invasion. An infestation is a minor home disaster, so extermination must be covered, right?

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Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

The cost for professional bed bug extermination typically ranges from $500 to $1,500, depending on the extent of the invasion. An infestation is a minor home disaster, so extermination must be covered, right?

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Not so fast. Insurance companies classify bed bugs as a home maintenance issue and thus the owner’s responsibility, says Michael Barry, a spokesman for the nonprofit Insurance Information Institute.

A Bad Risk for Homeowners Insurance

Although bed bug infestations occur across the United States, they are too random (and costly) to fit insurance risk models, Barry says. “No insurer wants to take this on.” Nor does renters insurance cover bed bugs, although in some locales—such as New York City— landlords are required to remove them.

Can You Get Rid of Bed Bugs Yourself?

If you do face an invasion, it’s possible to exterminate bed bugs yourself. It’s a huge investment of time, but you’ll save quite a bit of money. Learn how to get rid of bed bugs here. For still more information, the EPA offers tips on extermination options at epa.gov/bedbugs. The National Pest Management  Association offers guidance at pestworld.org. And for a detailed look at homeowners and renters insurance, visit the Insurance Information Institute at iii.org.

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Focus on Preventing Bed Bugs

Without a doubt, the best way to prevent bed bugs is to not bring them home in the first place.

  • Inspect used furniture before you bring it home. Live bugs are visible, as are dark spots of excrement. Crushed bed bugs leave a reddish stain.
  • Vacuum frequently.
  • Reduce clutter in your home, making cleaning easier.
  • At a hotel, set suitcases on the luggage rack, not on the floor or bed.
  • Inspect the hotel luggage rack before using it.
  • Some savvy travelers even stow their suitcases in the bathtub.
  • When you travel, keep dirty clothes in a trash bag and put them directly in the wash when you get home.

Check out these 11 effective strategies for do-it-yourself pest control.

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Bed Bugs: The (Not So) Fun Facts

  • 500 – The number of eggs a single bed bug can lay in a lifetime
  • 50 – U.S. states where they are found
  • 3x – The rate of urban vs. rural infestation
  • 7x – The amount of blood, relative to body weight, they can consume
  • 122 degrees F – The maximum temperature at which they’ll survive

Source: National Pest Management Association