A Landlord’s Guide to Bed Bug Insurance

If you’re the owner of a rental property the last thing you want is a call from your tenant telling you they’ve found bed bugs. It’s not just a headache. It’s a potential nightmare. And likely a costly one.

Regular pest inspections and maintenance can go a long way to protecting your property. However, there’s always the chance for a bed bug infestation. That’s why an increasing number of landlords are looking into the possibilities of taking out specific bed bug insurance policies. These help to cover the costs of eradicating these troublesome pests while protecting your property and your bottom line.

Bed Bugs and Rental Properties

All rental properties have a common characteristic. The constant turnover of tenants. This puts your property at an increased risk for bed bugs. Especially if you own and manage a multi-unit building.

This is no reflection on your renters. Bed bugs are tricky and subtle creatures. They can find a way into almost any property. All it takes is a few stray bed bugs hitching a ride with one of your tenants to lay the groundwork for an infestation.

In multi-unit buildings bed bugs can easily travel from one unit to another looking for hosts and hiding places. They can squeeze through the smallest gaps in the walls, traveling from apartment to apartment.

When bed bugs are found in a rental property the ideal scenario is for the landlord to work in partnership with the tenants to address the situation. But a bed bug infestation can be difficult to spot in the early stages. And it’s often late in the game when it’s brought to the attention of the owner. Dealing with a large scale infestation can be costly, which is why bed bug insurance is becoming a popular add-on for landlords.

Insuring Your Property Against Bed Bugs

The cost to clean up a large scale bed bug infestation can be substantial. But the majority of standard insurance policies don’t cover the elimination of pests or vermin. Bed bugs are generally considered an act of God and few insurance companies are willing to offer coverage to protect against an infestation.

However, as bed bug infestations become increasingly more common throughout the country, some insurance companies are beginning to off specific bed bug related policies. These policies are generally taken out by the landlord or property owner.

It’s important to note here that the overwhelming majority of bed bug related insurance policies are targeted to property owners and landlords. Not renters. As it stands most rental insurance does not cover bed bugs or other infestations. So tenants are largely dependent on their landlords to proactively research insurance options.

How Does Bed Bug Insurance Work?

Bed bug insurance is relatively new and policy specifics can vary depending on the insurer. But in most instances the landlord or property owner will contact a pest control company to inspect and verify the infestation. Once the situation is evaluated by an expert extermination procedures should begin. It is important that treatment be completed by an approved professional and that all bed bugs, eggs and larvae are treated to reduce the risk of re-infestation.

Again, bed bug policies can be inconsistent. Some will allow landlords to make a one off set claim to recoup the cost of bed bug treatment. Others may allow you to reclaim pest control expenses, loss of revenue, and potential content damage. It’s incumbent on landlords and property owners to find the insurer and policy that offers the highest level of protection.

Finding an Insurance Provider

So far bed bug insurance is a niche product, and not all insurance companies offer the coverage. It may be necessary to do some investigating until you can find one that does. It’s also worth noting that some insurers offering bed bug specific coverage may be partnered with a local or national pest control firm. In which case you may be locked into using their preferred pest control specialists whether or not you have one of your own.

Bed bug infestations are on the rise all over America. As a landlord or property owner it is in your best interest to look into the availability and advantages of taking out bed bug insurance. While it may take some leg work on your part it may well pay dividends in the future.

Published by Scott Palatnik

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