From sites like airbnb.com and couchsurfing.com to old-fashioned weekly and monthly rentals, there are lots of options for people looking to rent out everything from their entire home to a single bedroom.
In addition to pricing things right, marketing your property and finding good, trustworthy renters, have you thought about what would happen if a guest accidentally caused a fire? Would you be covered if a person slipped and fell in your home or stole personal property from your home?
Unfortunate things can happen. To protect yourself, it’s imperative that you talk with an insurance agent to help ensure that you have the right protection in place for short-term rentals.
Here’s how insurance for short-term home rentals works for some of the most common options.
Airbnb is a website that lets people rent out their homes or apartments. Airbnb has members in virtually every country in the world.
Its listings are equally diverse, with everything from single rooms to castles to tree houses. Airbnb has soared in popularity since debuting in 2008.
If you’re thinking of renting out a room or your entire residence, you should know that Airbnb automatically offers property owners $1,000,000 of property insurance through Lloyd’s of London. So, unless you have an exceptionally expensive home, you should be covered when it comes to your property. Just be aware the coverage excludes cash and securities, collectibles, rare artwork, jewelry and pets. You’ll either want to remove these things from your premises before guests arrive or talk to an insurance agent about separate coverage.
Airbnb does not cover is liability. So if a guest gets hurt on your property, you cannot rely on Airbnb to help out. In this instance, you’ll definitely want to talk to an insurance agent. He or she can alert you to any potential coverage gaps and suggest coverage to bridge them.
Couchsurfing International, Inc. bills itself as the world’s largest travel community. On its site, travelers can browse listings of couches where they can spend the night. The only caveat is that hosts cannot charge travelers.
Since you’re doing this as a goodwill gesture and there is no money exchanged, your homeowners or renters policy should provide coverage. Still, it’s better to be on the safe side by talking with an insurance agent about your situation. This is especially important to do if you plan to couch host often.
Traditional short-term rentals
Perhaps you have an extra home that you live in only part of the year. If so, renting out your home for a few weeks or months can help you generate income to cover the costs of having that extra home.
Insurance coverage for short-term rentals can be tricky since each risk and its circumstances are considered on a one-off basis. Sometimes a homeowner’s policy is enough; other times, a commercial policy is needed. There are so many variables that it is hard to pigeonhole an exact answer about how much or what type of coverage you may need, so definitely contact an insurance agent to discuss your situation.
A final word of warning: Some carriers will not let you maintain your regular homeowners coverage if you extensively rent out your home. That’s why it’s key to discuss your particular situation with an agent to help you purchase the right insurance for short-term home rentals.