Insurance Coverage for Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are all over the news lately, showing up in places other than bedrooms.    It is believed that due to the rise in international travel and the use of less toxic pesticides, bed bugs have been making a comeback.  These little creatures are easy to pick up and difficult to remove. 

Experts say that a national infestation of bed bugs has rolled into Portland and calls to pest controllers have nearly tripled in the past two years.  If you don’t have bed bugs now, there is a high likelihood you might some day.  While bed bugs don’t spread disease and are not a threat to public health, they are tops in the nuisance category.

To make matters worse, a typical homeowners insurance policy would NOT cover an infestation of bed bugs.  Most standard homeowners policies contain an exclusion for damage from birds, vermin, rodents or insects.  The same is true on a commercial property policy which excludes damage caused by nesting or infestation by insects, birds or rodents. 

How to detect bed bugs:
  • Adult bed bugs have oval bodies that are reddish brown in color.
  • They are about the size of an apple seed.
  • They will leave blood spots and dark fecal stains on sheets after eating.
  • As they grow, bed bugs shed their skins and leave behind light-brown exoskeleton shells.
Where to look for bed bugs:
  • In sleeping areas – pull back the bedding and check the mattress seams thoroughly.
  • Check furniture, especially behind the headboard, and the sides facing the wall.
  • Check baseboards and recessed screws.
  • Check all upholstered chairs and sofas, looking in all the seams and crevices.
Ways to control an infestation:
Remove clutter.  Don’t spread bed bugs into non-infested areas.  Before removing items from an infested area to treat, completely seal in plastic.  Laundry that has been infested by bed bugs can be placed into dissolvable laundry bags.
Work with a qualified Pest Management Company who utilizes an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to bed bug management for long term control.  This may include visual inspections, use of bed bug detection dogs, and treatments including:
  • Heat
  • Product application
  • Mattress encasements
  • Monitoring systems
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