You don’t want to learn what your insurance covers after you’ve already suffered losses because of a home-sharing guest. You also can’t assume that your current homeowner’s insurance policy will cover property and liability claims for paying guests the same way that it would cover your family. Before you decide to accept your first guest from a company like HomeAway or Airbnb, you should plan to schedule a call with your insurance agent. Very often they can offer you affordable solutions; however, you can be certain that going without coverage will be a mistake that you cannot afford.
What to Ask Your Insurance Agent Before You Accept Home-Sharing Guests
This quick list of questions to ask your insurance agent before you work with a home-sharing company can help you get started:
- Will the home-sharing company’s insurance, if any, make up for gaps in protection? Airbnb does offer some coverage for both hosts and guests. First, not all of these companies offer coverage. Also, you should make sure that you completely understand the exclusions or limitations if they do. For example, the Airbnb policy might ask you to demonstrate that you attempted to get your guest to reimburse you before they pay a claim.
- Will you violate the terms of your current home policy if you start accepting paying guests? A few Airbnb guests posted that their homeowner’s insurance companies terminated their coverage when they discovered the policy owners entertained paying guests without having notified the company first. Then they had to scramble to find a new policy and may have had to pay more because they had a termination on their record.
- Will your current homeowner’s insurance policy cover property or liability claims from paying guests? Even though most hosts haven’t had their home policies terminated, many have found that their current home policy won’t cover claims that result from a paid guest. Typically, homeowners insurance companies exclude or greatly limit their payments for running a home business, and this is exactly what home-sharing hosts do.
Steps to Include Home-Sharing Guests in Your Insurance
Of course, the kind of coverage you may need for your home-sharing activities will depend upon the answers that you get from your insurer and the kind of coverage that the home-sharing company provides. Some homeowners insurance companies will allow you to add an extra rider to extend your current policies. Some companies may want you to buy a commercial landlord policy. The best solutions really depend upon the insurer, the home-sharing company that you use, and how often you plan to host paying guests.
A few insurance companies even offer special short-term rental policies that you can take out for 30 days at a time when you need them. This sort of solution might work if you only plan to rent rooms while you’re gone on vacation or during the peak travel season, but you don’t plan on welcoming guests for several months at a time.
Plan for the Right Home-Sharing Insurance Before You Entertain Guests
Again, you don’t want to have to learn about the limitations of your homeowner’s insurance after a guest has accidentally broken expensive electronics, tripped on a loose rug, or clogged up your plumbing. In order to make certain that you and your house have the right protection, you need to start asking questions before you let the first guest through the front door. Average people may have a hard time reading all of the fine print of homeowners insurance policies. However, you can spend just a few minutes to contact Carrigan Insurance to ask the right questions.