Up until just a few years ago, traveling meant making plans well in advance, booking through travel agents, and lots of planning ahead for hotels or other accommodations to explore desired locations. But with the internet at our fingertips and services like Airbnb, VRBO, etc now… it’s easier than ever to find a place to crash. Some, especially in the real estate industry, may even explore purchasing a property as an Airbnb as a long-term investment or for supplemental income. There are a few important things to consider though.
Regular home insurance policies are intended to protect you and your family from everyday risks, not from commercial renting. If a renter occupies your home for even a short amount of time, you and your family will be exposed to significantly different risks that weren’t considered when your policy was initially obtained. As a result, most homeowners and renters policies won’t cover property damage that’s caused by Airbnb guests.
There are also issues that come with rentals being vacant from time to time, in which insurance carriers are not comfortable taking on. For example: If you have a property that doesn’t get rented for two weeks and a toilet overflows, no one is aware before the damage is much worse and could’ve been prevented or mitigated sooner.
There are also liability concerns with different short-term renters coming in and out.
If you’re considering renting through Airbnb, your first step should be to contact your insurance advisor to review your current homeowners or renters insurance policy. While that policy may allow you to rent your property to a guest, it’s important to keep in mind that each insurer has its own restrictions and requirements. Some insurers may require advanced notice of any short-term rental, whereas others might insist that you purchase an endorsement to expand your coverage appropriately.
If you plan to rent your property out on a regular basis, many insurance companies will consider this commercial use. In many cases, regular Airbnb hosts will need to obtain a commercial insurance policy in order to be adequately insured. However, a growing number of insurance companies are now offering home-sharing liability insurance policies that can be purchased on a month-to-month basis, so this is also something to consider.
Lastly, there are Host Guarantee and Host Protection policies offered by Airbnb in particular but we would advise you to beware of coverage gaps and exclusions with these options. You can look into the details of these offerings on their website here. As always, we are happy to help navigate through this process anytime you or your clients are considering it.