Airbnb is an online marketplace that connects people looking to rent their homes with people that are looking for accommodations. It started in 2007 as a way for two roommates living in San Francisco to make a few bucks to help pay rent. By 2011, Airbnb was in 89 countries and had over 1 million nights booked on the platform. By 2015, those numbers increased to 190 countries and nearly 40 million nights booked.
Pretty amazing story. From an insurance perspective, there are some things to consider if you’re thinking about using Airbnb to rent a place on your next vacation, or looking to become a host and rent out your home.
As a guest
- Do your homework. Pay close attention to the profiles and reviews of hosts.
- Talk to the host.
- It’s not a hotel. Know what’s included.
- Find out if the host will still be in the house while you’re staying there. If not, where will they be in case something goes wrong?
- Be respectful of the host’s property.
As a host
- Do your homework. Know what you’re getting into.
- Your personal home insurance is not designed to cover business exposures. If you’re regularly earning income through short-term rentals of your home, you’re running a business similar to a bed & breakfast or a hotel. Talk to your insurance agent before you become a host.
- Airbnb offers a host guarantee program that covers damage caused by guests in your home. Be familiar with the program because there are a number of exclusions.
- Be familiar with local laws regarding licensing, permits, and local room taxes.
This business is not going away. In fact, there’s a new trend in some areas of the country where single family homes are being built with a dedicated “Airbnb suite” as part of the new construction. Airbnb is not the only player in on-line vacation rental space. HomeAway, Tripping.com, FlipKey, and Vaystays are a few others in this market.
Contact your trusted advisor at Hausmann-Johnson Insurance if you have any questions about becoming a guest or a host with an online rental company.