Matt Hands, VP, Insurance and MoneySense
If you’re renting out your home on Airbnb, Homeaway, VRBO, or any other platform you need insurance for your short-term rental property. While Airbnb host insurance or VRBO host insurance promises protection, without informing your home insurance provider, you’re leaving yourself open to lawsuits, litigation, loss of income, and other potential shortfalls in your insurance policies.
In fact, most insurance companies will decline to insure your house if you temporarily rent it out. The technical insurance term is called misrepresentation if you choose to rent out your property without informing your insurance carrier ahead of time. By operating a business from your home (e.g. Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway), the risk profile changes. In simple terms, lying to your insurer, or failing to inform them of potential risks, you could end up with more problems than you bargained for.
For example, let’s say someone injures themselves during their stay and chooses to sue you. Airbnb or VRBO insurance coverage has you covered for up to $1 million USD. But, if they request more, and you haven’t told your home insurance company, they could deny your claim and cancel your coverage altogether. This would leave you on your own to pay any potential damages awarded from a successful lawsuit.
Instead, with liability insurance for your short-term rental in place, you have coverage to handle any overages.
As another example, If a fire breaks out burning your home to the ground, Airbnb insurance won’t protect your loss of rental income in Canada which could lead to late mortgage payments on your rental property. In a worst-case scenario a guest could lose their life, or be unable to work for life, will $1 million USD be enough? Having a short-term rental policy is the best way to insure you have the protection you need to securely rent out your home.
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Airbnb Host Guarantee
Things to know
Host protection insurance
Things to know
Contents & theft
Loss of income
The following home insurance companies offer home-sharing insurance in Canada:
- Duuo (underwritten by the Co-operators)
- Square One
Choose guests wisely
Don’t rent your home without speaking to potential renters and finding out their intentions. Consider turning down high-risk applicants.
Reduce the risk of theft
Don’t leave valuables out in the open. Put them in a safe, or better yet, have a ready-to-go travel bag to bring your valuables with you.
If you’re renting out your house, try and stay nearby to support your guests. If you’re traveling, give your guests a phone number of someone you trust to handle any situations as they arise.
Understand your rental agreement
Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of the rental agreement between you and the platform. Knowing the rules will help you better understand what you’re getting into.
Seekout landlord approval (if needed)
Ensure your landlord is ok with you leasing your space and follow the building or condo rules about short-term rentals. Many times they aren’t allowed.
Whatever platform you choose will have safety tips, follow those as well.
Take an inventory
Document all your belongings in your rental space or home and supply them to your insurer. Receipts and photos are great, but at least a video walk-through.
Leave a guide
If a guest unintentionally uses an appliance or electronics, it can damage their stay and your staff. Leaving a guide with instructions on how to use everything can save you from unnecessary headaches.
Does homeowners insurance cover short-term rentals?
How much is short-term rental insurance?
Does Airbnb have insurance for guests?
Do I need special insurance for Airbnb?
Default Does Airbnb insurance protect against damage?
Matt Hands, Business Director of Insurance
With 6+ years of experience at Ratehub.ca, Matt’s focus has been on growing its newest business unit, Insurance. He is a thought leader and a valuable resource to respected publications across Canada. read full bio
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