Airbnb has become an alternative to hotels for both families and single travelers. Homeowners rent their houses out for short periods of time (less than 30 days) through the online hosting platform.
Much like traditional bed and breakfasts, homeowners need to prepare their home to ensure safety and security for their short-term tenants. This also means considering any insurance in the event of an accident on the property.
Who Is Liable For Tenant Injuries?
As St. Louis personal injury lawyers, we know all too well that accidents can happen even in the most well-maintained homes. As more and more travelers are electing to use Airbnb for their stay, accidents are becoming more common.
In one widely publicized case, an Airbnb renter in Texas was laying on a hammock when one of the supporting trees collapsed onto his head. The renter was killed instantly.
This case, and others have made it clear that, before you become an Airbnb or other short-term rental host, you should think carefully about liability and safety. You’ll want to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for property damage, injury, or loss.
Does Airbnb Pay For Property Damage Caused By Guests?
What happens if a guest damages your home or your personal property? If the loss is covered by your homeowners’ or landlords’ policy, you’ll be reimbursed by your insurer. However, if your homeowner’s or renter’s policy doesn’t cover your short-term rental, your insurer may refuse to pay you for your loss.
To fill this gap, some hosting companies have begun to offer their own insurance or reimbursement plans. For example, Airbnb has a “host guarantee” in which the company promises to pay up to $1 million to a host for property damage caused by a renter.
Keep in mind that this “host guarantee” is NOT INSURANCE. So any stolen or broken valuables may not be reimbursable.
Read Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy
Before you rent your home out to anyone, short-term or long-term, you need to go over your homeowner’s insurance policy very carefully.
Some homeowners’ insurance policies will exclude coverage for homeowners who run a business inside the home. Due to the nature of Airbnb, your insurer would likely consider your situation to be similar to running a hotel or bed and breakfast.
In other words, your home becomes a business. Your insurer may refuse to cover your guest’s injuries. You’ll need to make sure you’re covered BEFORE an incident happens.
What If You Don’t Have Coverage?
If your standard homeowners’ policy doesn’t provide you the coverage you need, you can typically adjust a “unit rented to others” coverage, and pay a bit extra per month.
However, if your insurer does not offer an add-on like this, you’ll need to obtain a landlords’ insurance policy that will provide coverage for short-term guests.
Keep in mind, a landlords’ insurance policy will likely cost 15% to 25% more than a typical homeowners’ policy.
What If You’re Injured At An Airbnb?
If you are renting a home on Airbnb, you should hope that the landlord has insurance. When it comes to Airbnb itself, injured guests are out of luck.
Airbnb specifically states in their Terms of Service that the company is not liable because anyone using the service assumes liability.
That said, Airbnb and similar platforms are still relatively new, and laws have not changed to adapt to the short-term rental system. In the future, the company may very well be forced to assume greater liability in the event that a guest is injured.
There are several different routes to compensation, all of which are particularly complex. If you are injured while staying at an Airbnb, you should contact a St. Louis accident attorney right away. We can look into the avenues of recovery for you, and get you reimbursed for medical bills or other losses.
For a free consultation at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers, call 314.444.4444.