Home Insurance and Bedbugs

Posted by on May 26, 2011 | 0 comments

Bedbugs can be very expensive house guests. The costs of temporarily moving out while your home is debugged, steam cleaning fabrics and extermination can run up very quickly.

According to a recent article in New York magazine, one family spent at least $70,000 trying to rid their Upper East Side home of bedbugs. Of course, people who don’t live on the Upper East Side, or New York for that matter, may not have to pay as much, but getting alternative lodging and extensive dry cleaning is costly no matter where you live.

The exorbitant figures leaves many people wondering: does homeowners insurance cover any of the costs associated with bedbugs?  Unfortunately,  the answer is no.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the costs of getting rid of bedbugs, like the costs of getting rid of rats or cockroaches, are considered part of the maintenance associated with owning a home and are not covered by homeowners’ policies. In general, according to the institute, losses caused by creatures including birds, vermin, rodents or insects aren’t covered by standard policies.

In addition, the premiums for such policies tend to be based around events for which the probabilities of occurrence and risk can be calculated. The experts we spoke with said the chance of getting vermin wouldn’t be easy to calculate.

Not only are homeowners supposed to get rid of unwelcome guests when they first see them and before they become a problem, but ”it would be really hard to calculate the possibility of a bedbug getting into someone’s luggage at an airport and infesting a house,” said Jeanne Salvatore, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute.

Similarly, a spokeswoman for the Fireman’s Fund, a high-end insurer, said that the costs associated with bedbugs (she cited getting a new mattress) were not a covered loss under homeowners’ policies.

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