Flickr photo by Matt Jiggins
In 2010, in the heat of public panic over New York's bed bug epidemic, State Assemblyman Dov Hikind sponsored a bill that would require insurance providers to cover costs associated with bed bug infestation (for an additional premium).
If you chose the additional coverage, costs like cleanup, extermination fees, and replacing damaged property would be covered.
So whatever happened to that bill?
We checked the New York State Assembly website, which says the latest update was in January 2012 when the bill was referred back to the insurance companies, and has not yet been passed. Calls to Mr. Hikind's office, which represents Borough Park and Flatbush neighborhoods of Brooklyn, were not returned.
That leaves bed bug victims who've shelled out thousands--or tens of thousands--of dollars to get rid of the pests pretty much empty handed.
"There is no insurance coverage under any policy that you are reasonably going to buy that covers bed bugs," says Jeff Schneider, president of NYC apartment insurance brokerage Gotham Brokerage. "Even termites or rodents are typically excluded on all insurance policies."
Schneider says insurance companies are wary of paying for severe infestations that occur when residents fail to nip problems in the bud.
"In some cases, once bed bugs get into the building, the entire building should be fumigated," says Schneider. "Apartment insurance rates are not set for that. They are set for occasional accidental things."
There is one exception: If you are accused of being someone who brought the bed bug infestation into the building, and you’re sued, then there is coverage there.
"All policies have third-party liability coverage," explains Schneider. "That’s a standard claim in New York. Say, if you fill your bathtub and it overfills and the downstairs neighbor sues you, you’re covered for that under the apartment policy."