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Are you looking to Airbnb your home?

Depositphotos 89608284 m-2015 (1)

By all accounts, it’s something that you might turn into a very lucrative number – renting out a room, or your whole home, through a listing on Airbnb.

According to an article published by House Beautiful on the 2nd of January 2019, some 100,000 guests over the Christmas and New Year holidays spent an average of £230 a night in Airbnb accommodation in London alone. That comes to a grand total of some £23 million – in just 12 days.

The Airbnb success story

But it is not just London where homeowners have cottoned on to the earning potential of letting a spare room through Airbnb.

The online listing site now claims more than 5 million hosts, in more than 81,000 cities, across 191 countries around the globe.

If you want to Airbnb your home, therefore, you have immediate access to a huge, international market of potential guests.

When Airbnb goes wrong

Some homeowners, however, have discovered the hard way that the Airbnb way is not without its risks – and stories are rife about flats and homes being ransacked by irresponsible, out of control, guests.

One of the latest incidents was in London’s upmarket area of Kensington, where drug-fuelled ravers descended on a £2.5 million flat that had been let through Airbnb and refused to abandon the premises until the police had been called. An account published in the Independent newspaper on the 27th of January 2019 reported that the luxury flat had been “trashed”.

Airbnb’s Host Guarantee

The Airbnb website is also aware that things may go horribly wrong when a “host” lets their home to rogue “guests”. That is why the website offers a Host Guarantee, which promises to compensate hosts by up to a maximum of $1 million (about £758,000) for damages and breakages caused by errant guests.

The restrictions and limitations on the scope of that guarantee, however, are perhaps more important than the total amount of compensation for which you might be eligible. Briefly these are as follows: 

  • there is no cover for the theft of cash or securities from your home; 
  • injuries to or the loss of your pet or pets are not covered; 
  • only limited cover is provided for high-value contents, such as artwork (and an £8,000 Bansky print was stolen from Airbnb hosts in 2016, according to a story that appeared in the London Evening Standard), collectables and jewellery;
  • cover does not extend to shared or common areas of your home; and 
  • the guarantee offers you know public or landlord liability indemnity (if one of your guests suffers an injury or has their property damaged, holds you liable and claims compensation).

What’s more some Airbnb hosts have complained about the difficulty of recovering any compensation at all if the guests subsequently delete their profile on the site – as recounted by a correspondent in the Guardian newspaper on the 31st of January 2019.

Therefore, the Airbnb Host Guarantee is no substitute for suitable insurance – as the company’s website itself admits. 

It is also worth noting that any existing home or holiday let insurance cover may typically be invalidated when you let to Airbnb guests. 

The solution 

Because of the severely limited protection offered by the Airbnb Host Guarantee, and the fact that any existing property insurance cover may become invalid if you rent to Airbnb guests, making sure you have specific protection in the form of Airbnb insurance is key.

To find out more about how our Airbnb insurance can protect your property, and to download your free guide to Airbnb insurance, please click here.