One of the worst things that can happen after moving into an apartment is waking up to discover bed bug bites across your skin or a cockroach in your kitchen. An infestation can quickly grow out of control and threaten the health and safety of your family and pets. Not only that, but some insects can eat away at your personal belongings and the structure of your apartment. So, does renters insurance cover infestations?
Unfortunately, no. Renters insurance generally excludes any infestation from bugs or rodents. It will not cover the cost of fixing any damage they cause or the price of getting rid of the infestation.
Why Is Infestation Excluded?
There are a few reasons that bug or rodent infestation is excluded from a policy. First, renters insurance excludes negligence. It's not uncommon for an infestation to occur out of negligence on behalf of the renter, such as failing to maintain a clean apartment, not taking the trash out frequently enough or failing to clear up an infestation at the first signs of it. Negligence is assumed in many cases of infestation, as the damage is generally obvious. Rats tend to be large and loud. And they often leave large holes in items they gnaw through. Bed bug bites are obvious, but you can't receive compensation for them. Even if you see only a single cockroach, it's crucial to notify your apartment and have the infestation cleared immediately. Waiting to file a claim until the infestation damages your property may leave you without compensation.
Although you can make a case that the infestation existed before move-in, renters insurance still may not cover the damages. This is why the infestation should instead be taken care of by your landlord. However, keep in mind that your landlord can accuse you of causing the infestation.
What If An Infestation Ruins The Apartment Structure?
Overall, renters insurance doesn't cover damage to the physical apartment. If a fire burns the walls, for example, renters insurance will not pay for repairs. The damage should instead be covered under your landlord’s property coverage. There are some exceptions, however.
If an unknown infestation damages the foundation of the apartment — which then leads to damages of the property or your personal belongings — it may be covered under renters insurance. This is because the infestation was not due to negligence on the renter's part. Therefore, it was impossible to prepare for or fix before damage occurred.
What Else Does Renters Insurance Exclude?
Like all insurance policies, renters insurance has a certain list of exclusions. Along with infestations, renters insurance commonly excludes criminal acts and damage due to floods or earthquakes. Floods and earthquakes can be covered under separate coverage policies, however.
There is also limited coverage for certain expensive items, such as jewelry, art and furs. These items may be covered under additional policy floaters.
So What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
There are a few things renters insurance doesn't cover, but it does cover a great amount of incidents and disasters. Renters insurance policies have three parts:
- Personal Liability covers you and your family from claims regarding bodily injury or property damage. It can help with medical expenses for the victim and legal fees if the victim decides to sue.
- Personal Possessions covers your physical belongings in the event of damage or loss due to fire, smoke, lightning, theft or vandalism.
- Additional Living Expenses helps with expenses related to temporarily moving elsewhere while the rented property is being repaired or rebuilt after a disaster.
Renters insurance is crucial for covering your belongings. In the event of an infestation, notify your landlord immediately.
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