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Airbnb insurance explained

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If you have a spare room in your home or are moving out for a few weeks, you might have considered the possibility of earning a little extra cash by letting the space through Airbnb.

Airbnb also offers a way of letting your holiday or second home during those periods when you are not going to be using it yourself. 

Although you might have read about some of the disasters that have happened to so-called Airbnb “hosts” – the horror story reported by the Independent newspaper on the 4th of September 2017 is particularly alarming – you may be reassured by what is called the Airbnb Host Guarantee. This appears to offer some form of insurance against loss or damage caused by your temporary “guests” or tenants. 

Take a closer look at the guarantee, however, and this is far from the case. Airbnb’s website explains that although the protection offers compensation of up to $1 million (approximately £740,000) for damage caused by guests, it specifically excludes:

  • loss or theft of cash or securities, jewellery, artwork or collectors’ items;
  • injury to or the loss or death of any domestic pets; and
  • your liabilities as the owner and landlord of the property (the risk of claims alleging your responsibility for any injury to your guests and their visitors or damage to their property).

Little wonder, therefore, that Airbnb itself warns that the host guarantee is not an insurance policy and that you are advised to arrange cover which specifically protects against the risks you are likely to encounter. Airbnb adds that your existing home or landlord’s insurance might contain explicit exclusions for any occasion when the whole or part of your home is temporarily let to tenants.

Airbnb insurance

Because your existing insurance cover may be invalidated when you let to Airbnb guests and because of the severely limited protection offered by the Airbnb Host Guarantee, we have previously explained the need for specialist, standalone Airbnb insurance – for your home or holiday home.

We offer such cover from a number of providers, and the details may vary from one insurer to another. Typically, however, the main features of all policies include:

Liability insurance

  • indemnity against claims that you are liable for any injury or property damage suffered by one of your guests 
  • since claims such as this may involve substantial sums, indemnity of at least £1 million is typically provided;

Property damage

  • specialist Airbnb insurance also makes good the limitation offered by the site’s own host guarantee – allowing you to determine an appropriate level of cover for the contents of your home; 
  • our specialist policies may also extend cover for malicious damage caused by your Airbnb guests or their visitors; 

Loss of income

  • the Airbnb Host Guarantee offers no protection at all against the risk of your loss of rent because your accommodation has become temporarily uninhabitable (following accidental loss or damage, for example); 
  • specialist Airbnb insurance, however, may provide an element of compensation for such loss of rental income (up to defined limits or as a percentage of the total sums insured).

For full details of the benefits and safeguards offered by Airbnb insurance – including that for your second or holiday home – take a look at our free guide.