Sheilas’ Wheels Insurance covers bed bugs, but spreads misinformation

by nobugsonme on November 17, 2011 · 12 comments

in bed bugs

Why are people so ignorant about bed bugs?  Perhaps because the media keeps publishing misinformation about them!

The latest example: the Daily Mail picks up a Sheilas’ Wheels Insurance press release about their annual “Bed Bug Audit,” which polls Brits about their domestic habits.

The latest poll found that one in six British men wash their sheets only once a month, and 46% of Brits have eaten a meal in bed. (More on that in a moment.) The article notes:

Sheilas’ Wheels home insurance spokeswoman Jacky Brown said: “We spend so much time in our beds that it is astounding so many Brits and particularly bug busting men – do not keep them clean.

“Simple measures like avoiding eating in bed, leaving the sheets exposed during the day and washing them regularly can help avoid an infestation.

“Bed bugs in the home can be an extremely unpleasant experience so it is important that homeowners have a way to deal quickly with an infestation such as our pest cover otherwise the upcoming cold spell could provide a nasty wake-up call.”

The Sheilas’ Wheels press release this article is drawn from notes that new home insurance customers as of 11/27 will receive a limited amount of coverage for a bed bug infestation:

As from 27th November all Sheilas’ Wheels new business customers purchasing pest cover will now be covered for the treatment/extermination of bed bugs in one infested area in the event of an emergency.


The phrase “one infested area” suggests the coverage will be limited in value and perhaps just enough to help with a problem which is detected very early and hasn’t spread.   All the more reason the firm’s clients need to be more educated about the pest and how to detect it.

It sounds like Sheilas’ Wheels is confusing bed bugs with dust mites.  Note to insurers: if you’re going to cover bed bug outbreaks in the home, you ought to learn a bit about this pest.

Although regular vacuuming and sheet-washing might, with a lot of luck, deal with a newly-introduced bed bug, bed bugs are not caused by poor housekeeping habits or eating in bed.  Moreover, “leaving sheets exposed during the day” will do absolutely nothing to combat this blood-sucking pest.

1 A&S November 17, 2011 at 3:11 pm

“Moreover, “leaving sheets exposed during the day” will do absolutely nothing to combat this blood-sucking pest.”

As anyone who has ever survived an infestation can attest to.

2 VictoryIsMine November 18, 2011 at 3:11 am

It’s insane how the cluelessness can be widespread even amongst those supposed to be specialized professionals. Grim.

Can we create a non-profit for proper BB education, as well as to assist people in desperate need who can’t afford treatment?

3 CarpathianPeasant November 18, 2011 at 7:50 am


Perish, the thought!

Non-profits of any sort seldom live up to expectations and flounder as soon as donations wane.

More important, some government health departments already provide educational things (brochures, lectures, etc.) and some universities have people studying the matter. These need to be expanded, not watered down with money and effort going elsewhere. Special grants somewhere in there from some foundation would be worthwhile.

Assisting people in desperate need is not reducable to paying for extermination services. A hefty percentage are renters in apartment complexes.

4 Pete November 18, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Although it would be beyond great for insurance companies to provide bed bud insurance, it saddens me to see the reality of this situation being that certain entities are more looking for a way to make profits as opposed to really helping solve the bed bug issue in this country.

5 Kevin November 23, 2011 at 5:00 am

“Perhaps because the media keeps publishing misinformation about them!”

I wonder who approves these articles? I guess trying to make bed bugs seem more common than they really are (eating food in your bed… really?) So people get scared and spend the extra few bucks on insurance.

6 rachel November 28, 2011 at 10:36 pm

what does not eating in bed have to do with bedbugs? if they live off of blood, crumbs being left behind wouldn’t have anything to do with an infestation, would it?

7 Ci Lecto December 4, 2011 at 10:41 pm

An insurance company writing coverage against a particular peril better:
A. Damn well understand the nature of that peril, the odds of it occurring and its potential costs
B. Set the terms of coverage and price it so that it makes a sufficient ROI on the money it puts up for this.

So, silly ad copy notwithstanding, eSure/Sheila likely knows what it’s doing here.

8 definitely December 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Tell you what would help, a guide for tenants. If I’d known the signs before moving in I’d have known to avoid! When I moved in I wasn’t even aware bed bugs were a problem these days. Those weren’t speckles of paint..that was bug poo on the wall! Now I’m having to find hundreds of pounds to replace beds not to mention all the work. I can’t afford new beds. I don’t know what to do. My metal one can be saved but my children’s expensive (bought when we once I had money) bunk beds are ruined.

9 nobugsonme December 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Hi definitely,

There are lots of guides (see our Resources section) but people don’t tend to find them until they hear about bed bugs some other way. So I think what we need is more public service advertising campaigns.

I am sorry you are dealing with this problem. Please come to the forums if you need support or input.

10 nobugsonme December 9, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Good point, Ci. They should buy better press releases, though.

11 definitely December 9, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Exactly, once you google you can find loads! But I wasn’t even aware they still existed before I moved in this house (I’m in the UK). So making the general public aware wouold be a good thing. The council have said they are getting way more call outs these days so it’s a growing problem.

12 All Bed Bugs Begone January 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Interesting to hear feedback in regards to insurance coverage on bed bug infestations. I wonder how the statistics compare to the United States. Bed bug bites and infestations are not something to be taken lightly. Thankfully more and more ways to prevent and treat bed bugs are emerging. Great article!

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