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Renting your house on Airbnb? What you need to know

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The website Airbnb has taken large sections of the travelling public by storm. 

Like many internet sensations, the principle is fairly simple:

  • if you have spare room in your home, or are going away and want to let the whole property whilst you are away, you are able to earn a little extra cash;
  • you simply sign up to Airbnb online and advertise the vacancy and offer your accommodation;
  • travellers who then also register with Airbnb are given access to the listings of all vacancies and arrange to let the spare room or vacant accommodation from the owner – or even tenant of the property. 

Is there a catch?

Deceptively simple and straight forward as such arrangements might be, there is of course a catch – and the catch is whether you may always rely on the responsibility of prospective short-stay tenants and their ability to treat your home with the respect it deserves.

The press has not been slow in coming forward with many a tale of woe of Airbnb homeowners finding their homes trashed or used for completely nefarious purposes by unscrupulous, irresponsible and caring Airbnb guests. 

The fallout becomes still more serious if the householder then discovers that their existing home insurance does not cover the extent of damage that has been caused.

Protecting yourself

Despite these perils, subscription to Airbnb as a potential host may still have its attractions and here at UKinsuranceNET we offer a free guide to download which details the Airbnb process and the specialist insurance we offer to cover that eventuality.

Why is specialist insurance for Airbnb hosts necessary?

Specialist insurance is necessary because: 

  • your existing home building and contents insurance might not cover the circumstances where someone is temporarily renting a part or a whole of your home; and

What is the host guarantee?

Airbnb itself recognises the potential for some of its subscribers to turn out to be less than perfect guests and for there to be occasions when damage is caused to hosts’ homes.

The host guarantee programme makes provision for up to the equivalent of $1,000,000 in the event of a guest causing damage to your property, says Airbnb. It is equally quick to point out however, that this “guarantee” does not cover losses of cash or securities, jewellery, fine works of art, collectibles, or personal liability claims – and neither does it cover any injury or loss of one of your pets. 

Indeed, Airbnb is upfront about its host guarantee programme being no replacement for your existing home insurance (or contents insurance if you are renting) and the company also recognises that not all of these standard forms of insurance may cover the situation where you have taken in an Airbnb guest.

Airbnb also points out that even if you are making a claim under its host guarantee programme, the guest is still likely to held financially responsible for any damage which they may have caused.

If you are thinking of becoming an Airbnb host, therefore, it is important to consider the possibility of something going wrong and make sure to download and read our free guide. 

Further reading: Thinking about putting your house on Airbnb? Here is what you need to know about insurance