More and more people are taking advantage of the ease, convenience and relative affordability of renting a private residence while on vacation. You can find hidden gems tucked away in the hearts of tourist districts that will house you and your family together in comfort where a hotel room (or rooms) would have been far too expensive. Home sharing vacation rentals have kitchens to make it easy to save money on meals, and often include added bonuses such as numerous bedrooms, private pools, barbecues, expansive backyards, game rooms, unblocked views, and even the occasional resident fish or cat for extra company. Plus, homeowners often provide great tips about where to go, and leave behind very nice gifts such as a bottle of wine or chocolates, or even tickets to a show
Airbnb now owns approximately 20% of the entire U.S. consumer lodging market, according to this article by Vox.com, with customers spending more on Airbnb lodgings than they did on the entire Hilton chain and its subsidiaries this year.
For homeowners, it’s easy to be tempted into the “vacation rental by owner” market. It’s said that some Airbnb’ers make as much as $10,000 a month off of their vacation rental, but that level of success is not that common. The average is much more like $500 a month, which is still substantial. But before you start opening your door to strangers, there’s a lot you need to know, especially about home sharing insurance and how to get it.
Insurance Provided by Home-Sharing Companies
There are more than a few stories out there about nightmare renters who have virtually destroyed properties. Owners have returned to their homes to find tens of thousands of dollars in extensive damage that the vast majority of us can’t even begin to pay out of pocket. Airbnb does provide some protection to its homeowners to help in such situations, however, which you will automatically receive when you sign up.
Host protection insurance: Through Airbnb you will receive liability coverage for up to $1 million in the event of a third-party claim for an injury or damage to their property while on your premises.
Host guarantee protection: This protects the host, or the owner of the property, from damage to their home or possessions caused by a guest that is above and beyond the amount stipulated in the security deposit (or if there is no deposit in place). Keep in mind, though, that this coverage does not include jewelry, art, or collectibles.
Home Sharing Insurance
Before you even fill out the Airbnb (or HomeAway or VRBO) form, though, the first thing you need to do is talk to your insurance broker or provider. Even if you are only going to be renting your home out periodically, such as when you and your family are on vacation, you will still need to change your coverage to include home sharing insurance. Since your property will now be bringing in an income for you, you have essentially nullified the terms of your original home insurance contract.
There are only a few companies in Canada providing home sharing insurance. We know exactly which ones, and how to get you their best rates. Very generally speaking, you can expect your insurance to go up by about 20% when you decide to home share.
Home sharing insurance policies generally include:
ï Coverage for loss or damage to buildings and personal property
ï Coverage for intentional or criminal acts
ï Coverage for a guest failing to act, which then results in damage
ï Coverage for loss or damage to a guest’s belongings
ï High liability limits in the case you are sued
Home sharing insurance policies are designed to complement the coverage provided through companies such as Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO, not compete against it.
More to Know About Home Sharing
Home sharing insurance is your defense against guests getting out of hand and damaging your property and/or hurting themselves. But you can do even more to protect yourself by following a few of the tried-and-true tips and tricks provided by other hosts of home sharing properties.
ï If your mail is delivered to your home, make sure it is directed away for the durations of your guests’ stay to avoid identity theft
ï Store all valuables (including paperwork) in an off-site safe deposit box.
ï Use a VPN router in case one of your guests takes part in illegal online activities on your network.
ï Research your guests as much as you can before accepting their reservation. Google their names to ensure that they are who they say they are.
ï Install a home security system. This will alert you if the door is not locked, a window is left open, or the heat is set too high or too low. Remember, though, that you may not install cameras in guest areas.
ï Lock away or remove anything of value, including your clothes. Expect that anything you leave out will be either used or rummaged through.
Trust Lane’s for All of Your Home Insurance Needs
Our homes are our sanctuaries, and are filled with the things we love. Be confident that your home insurance is comprehensive enough to cover both its structure and your belongings by contacting the experienced brokers at Lane’s. We work for you, not the insurance companies, and are able to access policies from a number of Alberta’s leading providers. This means we can shop around for you for the best possible coverage at the lowest possible rates.