Don’t Lose Sleep Over Bed Bugs: What insurance company covers bed bugs at short-term rental properties?

Just like your guests, bed bugs love to travel. But these unwelcome hitchhikers aren’t packing along a good time. As a short-term rental entrepreneur, a “rentalpreneur” as some have coined it, you’re all about creating a fantastic experience for your guests which includes providing a clean and comfortable bug-free stay. So you might be wondering, what insurance company covers bed bugs at short-term rentals like Airbnb or Vrbo? 

We’re going to shine some light on the risks that Airbnb bed bugs can bring to your rental business and dive into detail on Proper Insurance’s Bed Bug Coverage the first and only short-term vacation rental insurance policy that offers coverage for bed bug liability, bed bug extermination and loss of business revenue with no deductible.  

Sleep tight by knowing you’re covered even if the bed bugs bite.

An illustration of a person sharing a bed with a life-sized bed bug.

Introduction to Bed Bugs

What are bed bugs, and where do they come from?

Bed bugs are small, flat, wingless, reddish-brown insects. They feed on human and animal blood – usually while their prey is sleeping, which is how they likely earned their name. They are resilient pests that can live for several months without a meal.

Bed bugs latch onto luggage, clothing, and personal belongings, spreading from place to place along with your well-traveled guests. And despite their name, bed bugs are not limited to beds. They are known to hide in various nooks and crannies, making them challenging to spot and eliminate.

How common are bed bugs? 

If your skin isn’t crawling yet, here’s a fair warning that this stat may make you squirm.  

According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), one in five (20%) Americans annually report some level of bed bug infestation. The NPMA also notes that the most common place pest professionals find bed bugs are in single-family homes, followed by apartments and condominiums, and then hotels and motels. 

As an insurance company that insures thousands of short-term rentals across the United States, we have received liability claims and paid bed bug remediation costs on some of our largest, most pristine multi-million-dollar homes.

How costly are bed bugs in a short-term vacation rental property? 

Without bed bug insurance for your short-term rental property, the out-of-pocket cost for a bed bug infestation can quickly add up, especially when factoring in the loss of income for the duration of the bed bug treatment and extermination process since the property will be non-operational during that time.

The cost to exterminate bed bugs depends on several factors: the severity of the infestation, the size of the area that needs to be treated, and which extermination method you choose. Professional bed bug extermination typically costs between $1,750 and $3,250. Again, keep in mind that this cost can significantly fluctuate, with some cases costing more than $5,000, according to Angi.

An additional cost you may absorb from a bed bug infestation is the potential liability if a guest gets bitten while staying at your property. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 92% of people find out they have a bed bug infestation because they discover bites and welts on their bodies, which often won’t appear for several days so by that time there is likely serious bed bug infestation at the property. 

However, with a plan in place like Proper Insurance’s Bed Bug Coverage, you can be confident that you’re covered during a bed bug infestation at your short-term vacation rental property. Proper Insurance’s Bed Bug Coverage is the only policy in that nation that includes bed bug liability, bed bug extermination, and one week’s worth of lost business revenue. 

Illustration: Oops! They brought bed bugs. Does your insurance cover that?

Preventing Bed Bugs

How can I prevent bed bugs at a short-term rental? 

A proactive approach is crucial in keeping bed bugs away from your short-term rental. To help reduce the risk of your property getting bed bugs, follow these tips:  

  • Use mattress and box spring encasements: Protect your beds with tightly woven encasements that bed bugs can’t penetrate. Purchase them for all mattresses and box springs.  
  • Regular inspections: Stay vigilant for signs of bed bugs, such as small, dark spots (fecal matter), bloodstains, shed skin casts or live/dead bed bugs.  
  • Opt for metal bed frames and luggage racks: Bed bugs dislike crawling on cold metal surfaces, making it less likely for them to cozy up in your short-term rental property.  
  • Maintain cleanliness and organization: Keep your rental property clean by vacuuming regularly. Also, try to reduce clutter to minimize hiding spots for bed bugs.  
  • Take swift action: If you suspect bed bugs, promptly contact a professional pest control company for inspection and treatment. 

Implementing these measures will reduce your risk of unexpectedly hosting a bed bug party in your short-term rental. 

Responding to Bed Bugs

What should I do if I have bed bugs at my short-term rental? 

Uh-oh, you’ve discovered bed bugs in your short-term rental. Swift action is key, so let’s get straight to it:  

  • Isolate the affected area to contain the bed bugs from spreading.  
  • Notify current or upcoming guests immediately. 
  • Hire a professional pest control service and keep all receipts. 
  • Ensure thorough cleaning, treatment, and extermination to banish the bed bugs. 
  • Call your insurance company to report the issue and inquire about coverage options. 

Remember, without having bed bug insurance in place, you may be responsible for covering the costs out of pocket. Proper Insurance is proudly the only company offering bed bug extermination, lost business revenue, and bed bug liability in the case of a bed bug infestation. 

Bed Bug Insurance Coverage

What insurance company covers bed bugs?

Bed bugs are a nightmare for any property owner. They can cause financial loss, damage the reputation of your short-term rental, and ruin your guests’ vacation. The only way to exterminate your worry about bed bugs is to have a plan like Proper Insurance’s Bed Bug and Flea Coverage.

Comprehensive Bed Bug and Flea Coverage 

Proper Insurance’s Bed Bug and Flea Coverage is comprehensive so that you can be sure you’re protected in the event of a bed bug infestation.  

Proper Insurance’s Bed Bug Insurance Protection includes:  

  • Bed bug and flea liability: This coverage protects you from financial losses if a guest gets bitten by bed bugs/fleas or bed bugs/fleas hitch a ride home with your guests from your property. Proper Insurance Bed Bug and Flea Coverage pays legal expenses and any settlement up to your insurance limit, which starts at $1million.  
  • Bed bug and flea extermination: This coverage pays for the cost of professional bed bug extermination with no deductible. 
  • Lost short-term rental revenue: This coverage pays for the revenue you lose if your property is out of operation due to a bed bug or flea infestation. This endorsement pays up to one week’s (7 days) worth of lost business revenue after you first detect or are notified of bed bugs or fleas, with no deductible.

Please note that the combined maximum coverage limit of extermination cost plus the loss of business revenue is $15,000. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are bed bugs, and where do they come from?  

Bed bugs are small, wingless insects that can be found in various environments, including homes, hotels, vacation rentals, and public transportation. They are expert hitchhikers, spreading from place to place by latching onto luggage, clothing, and personal belongings. 

How can I prevent bed bugs at my short-term rental?  

You can reduce your risk of exposure to bed bugs by regularly inspecting the property for signs of infestation and using bedbug-proof covers for mattresses and box springs. Additionally, you will want to respond promptly to any reports of suspected bed bugs and utilize professional pest control services for thorough inspections and treatments.

What should I do if my short-term rental has bed bugs?  

If you suspect your short-term rental has bed bugs, you will want to take immediate action to prevent the infestation from spreading. Start by contacting a pest control professional to inspect and treat the property thoroughly. If you have guests at the property at the time of infestation, you will want them to pack up and stay elsewhere while being cautious of taking any bugs along with them. You should also contact your insurance company to see if you have any coverage from bed bugs at your short-term rental. However, most insurance companies do not cover expenses accrued from bed bugs. Proper Insurance is the only company covering bed bug liability, bed bug extermination, and loss of business revenue in the case of a bed bug infestation. 

Do I need bed bug coverage for my Airbnb or Vrbo?

Without the right insurance coverage for your short-term rental property, the out-of-pocket cost for a bed bug infestation can quickly add up between the cost of extermination, the loss of income for the duration of the bed bug treatment process and the strong possibility that a guest holds you liable and sues for bed bug bites. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to financial loss – take the time to understand your coverage so that you are properly insured.

Who is responsible for bed bugs at a short-term rental?

The property owner or host is typically responsible for dealing with bed bugs at short-term vacation rentals like Airbnb and Vrbo. These properties fall under hospitality law, meaning the owner must provide a clean and safe place for guests. It is recommended for short-term rental owners and hosts to familiarize themselves with the laws and regulations in their area. 

Verify Your Insurance Coverage Today 

How do I know if I have bed bug insurance coverage at my short-term rental? 

To make sure you have the right coverage for various scenarios that may happen at your short-term vacation rental property, start by reaching out to your current insurance agent to share your online listing and ask policy questions like “Is my short-term rental covered during a bed bug infestation,” then obtain written confirmation from the underwriter of your policy.

Or simply contact one of our Super Agents to compare your current policy to the unmatched coverage offered by Proper Insurance. 

Proper Insurance is the nation’s leading short-term vacation rental insurance provider, with the most comprehensive policy on the market. We protect homes in all 50 states with unmatched coverage for your property, revenue, and business liability, customized to include guest-caused theft/damage, liquor liability, amenity liability (bikes, kayaks, hot tub, etc.), bed bugs & fleas, squatters, and more.

Give us a call at 888-631-6680 to receive a comprehensive coverage comparison, or submit a request for a quick 3-minute quote today. 

About the Author

Justin Brodin

Justin Brodin is the Marketing Director at Proper Insurance, where he specializes in short-term rental insurance education. With six years of experience in the STR industry, Justin has developed a deep understanding of the unique needs and challenges short-term rental owners and operators face. He currently resides in Austin, TX, where he enjoys the warm vibes of the city and spends his free time on the water.

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