Damaging incidents involving animals account for a large number of liability insurance claims filed by homeowners. For decades, issues with dogs, deer and birds have accounted for the largest number of animal-related insurance claims, but insurance claims filed over bed bug bites and infestations have been increasing rapidly during the past decade. Twenty years ago, bed bug-related insurance claims were unheard of, as a successful nationwide pest control campaign nearly eradicated bed bugs from the country during the latter half of the last century.

According to the Bugs Without Borders survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association, 97 percent of pest control companies had addressed bed bug infestations within homes during 2017. Fifteen years ago, however, only 25 percent of pest control companies had treated homes for bed bug infestations. Considering this, it’s no surprise that bed bug-related insurance claims are on the rise, and experts predict that bed bugs will continue to cost insurance companies millions of dollars with each passing year unless the insect pests become better controlled. A recent study that reviewed 470,000 animal-related insurance claims filed by homeowners during the past five years found that bed bugs accounted for 8 percent of them, which is around the same amount of insurance claims filed over cat-related issues.

Claims involving dogs, deer and birds outnumbered those involving bed bugs, and many of the bed bug-related claims were filed in big cities in the northeast where high density populations, busy public transport and a large number of tourists allow bed bugs to spread into homes easily. Philadelphia and New York City were recently listed as the two most bed bug-infested cities in the US, while Boston was listed at number 10. Bed bug infestations are frequent in homes throughout Massachusetts, and new laws in the state require landlords to pay for bed bug control services when the pests infest their rental properties.

Have you ever found bed bugs within a hotel room?