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Putting your home on Airbnb this Summer? Insurance need to know

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You might not have your sights set on the £12 million or so rental income made by one landlord from Airbnb lettings (reported by the Independent newspaper on the 10th of November 2017), but it may offer a way of earning a little extra cash from your spare rooms this summer.

If that’s your intention, what are some of the insurance considerations to keep in mind?

What does Airbnb have to say? 

Although many Airbnb hosts and their guests are generally satisfied with the affordable and convenient accommodation offered to travellers, many horror stories have emerged about when things go horribly wrong. There is even a website dedicated to such alarming stories called Airbnb Hell.

Unsurprisingly, Airbnb itself has tried to allay such fears by assuring potential hosts that safety measures are in place when they sign up to the accommodation-sharing platform. Those measures currently take two forms:

Host Guarantee

  • the Host Guarantee was the platform’s original attempt to provide some form of security to hosts; 
  • it claims to offer up to £600,000 of compensation to homeowners and renters whose property is damaged by irresponsible guests; 
  • but there are notable exceptions to the types of losses covered by the guarantee – loss or theft of cash and securities, damage to shared or common areas of the property, pets and the host’s personal liabilities, for example, are all specifically excluded;
  • Airbnb itself, therefore, recognises that the Host Guarantee is no substitute for specialist Airbnb home insurance;

Host Protection Insurance

  • recognising the limitations of the Host Guarantee scheme, Airbnb has more recently introduced a Host Protection Insurance policy with a more specific focus on insuring hosts against the risks of property damage and claims brought against them by guests who have been injured during their stay; 
  • provided by a third party provider, this offers a more conventional form of insurance cover, although Airbnb’s description of its terms and conditions is at pains to point out exclusions which continue to apply – notably “intentional acts”, including assaults, personal injury, product liability and defects in the property itself. 

Purpose designed insurance cover

If you are concerned about the apparent deficiencies of either of Airbnb’s security measures – the Host Guarantee or the Host Protection Insurance scheme – you may be better off giving careful consideration to the purpose-designed Airbnb insurance explained in our Knowledge Base on the 25th of January 2018.

Our specialist insurance policies may be tailored to provide precisely the level of protection you need against the risk of damage to your property – including the risk of malicious damage caused by your Airbnb guests or their visitors. 

The policies also incorporate liability insurance to provide you indemnity against the full range of potential claims made by Airbnb guests or their visitors who have been injured or had their property damaged during their stay with you. Standard forms of such liability insurance typically offer at least £1 million of indemnity.

Specialist Airbnb insurance may also provide an element of compensation for loss of rental income if your property becomes temporarily unavailable to let to an Airbnb guest following damage caused by some insured event.