Q: Is a bedbug infestation covered by my homeowners' insurance?

Consumer Reports News: September 08, 2010 04:00 PM

A: No. The Insurance Information Institute, representing the property and casualty insurance industry—including homeowners and auto insurers—notes in a recent blog that costs associated with getting rid of bedbugs and other vermin is considered part of home maintenance and isn't covered in a standard homeowners' or renters' policy.

However, if you're a renter in New York, you now will have access to information about whether an apartment you're renting or intend on renting has had a recent infestation. The Wall Street Journal reports on a new state law that would require landlords to disclose past bedbug infestations.

Homeowners insurance doesn't cover bedbugs, but it does reimburse you for mishaps you might not expect, including food spoilage in your fridge and freezer due to a covered peril (wind and fire, for instance); the stained-glass window your child's baseball destroys on your neighbor's property; and jewelry stolen from you while traveling. (No surprise, you'll have to meet deductibles and adhere to other limitations.)

Homeowners coverage pays for your property losses even if an airplane falls from the sky and lands in your front window. Riders or add-ons to standard insurance indemnify you for costs related to recovering your good name after identity theft, and to defending yourself in a libel or slander lawsuit.

The III outlines what's covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. Check Consumer Reports' advice on buying homeowners insurance, and our unique Ratings of homeowners companies.

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