Since just a few years ago, bedbugs have become a real problem in commercial hotels, motels and residential homes. I personally know of someone who was a guest at a friend’s home. Little did the hosts know that they actually had a problem of bedbug infestation and neither did my buddy. Unfortunately for him, some of the pests actually hid themselves in his suitcase while he enjoyed his brief reprieve only to relocate to his mattress when he returned home.
Finally, when my friend experienced incessant long-term annoying itching, he began to notice a chain of bites on his arms. That was when he decided not to waste any more time in receiving medical attention. Jumping into his car, he drove to an after-hours medical center to be examined. The prognosis was clear as day although the hour was way past the sun’s setting: my friend’s itchiness and rash was professionally diagnosed as bedbug bites.
Lest you think his ordeal ended easily, allow me to enlighten you: this was far from the case. Not only did the bedbug liability include general aggravation, embarrassment and intense discomfort, it also involved a lofty expense for the exterminator – something he would learn through his insurance agency was not covered by his standard Homeowners Insurance policy.
My friend’s ordeal was a genuine learning experience – albeit a painful one. Though another person may have considered bringing a lawsuit against his hosts who had infected him with the little bugs that made him ultimately incur damages and losses, to him it was simply not an option because it ran counter to his ethical code in relation to friendships. What the matter taught him, however, was to pay close attention to all the fine points of coverage before deciding on one policy – and to weigh needs not just by comparison of quotes.
While a standard Homeowners Insurance policy usually covers:
• Sudden and accidental smoke damage
• Damage from aircraft, automobiles, trucks and other vehicles
• Windstorm damage
• Hail damage
• Sudden and accidental damage from water
• Damage from weighty ice, snow and sleet
• Damage from riots and social upheaval
It does not cover:
• Flood damage
• Earthquake damage
• Frozen pipes (unless under certain situations)
• Losses incurred when your home was left vacant (according to the terms of the policy)
• Wear and tear or termite and bedbug damage that could have been avoided by prompt attention and maintenance.
Because my friend did not notice he had a bedbug problem immediately, the crisis intensified so much that it wrought damage that the insurance companies defined as something that could have been avoided with proper maintenance. Nonetheless, if he would have included a bedbug rider to his policy before the onset of the unwanted insects, he would have benefited from coverage.
You certainly live and learn. Now that the losses are a thing of the past, my friend knows always to discuss all aspects of personal and property coverage with his independent agent – and to be extra careful about where to set up temporary lodging!