Do I need specific insurance to list my apartment, home or condo on a site like Airbnb or VRBO?
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You’ll always want to review your lease to make sure you’re allowed to temporarily host guests in your place, as well as your area’s laws regarding the issue. Once you know you’re allowed, look to your renters policy. If you have a renters insurance policy on your apartment or condo, (which you should) you’ll be generally covered while renting. These policies typically cover damage caused by a temporary guest and can even defend you if a legal guest files a lawsuit. They can even protect your personal property from damage done by guests, depending on the situation.
You will usually only receive coverage for damage and personal liability from your renters policy if your renting is considered “Occasional Hosting,” as opposed to “Commercial Activity.” Occasional hosting is typically defined as hosting temporary guests for 90 or less days per year. Any more than this will generally be seen as commercial activity, which would exclude home-sharing from your renters policy coverage.
If it seems like your use of home-sharing services would qualify as commercial activity, you still have options for staying covered. Most home-sharing services now offer insurance policies to cover hosts and guests. Some, like Airbnb’s, automatically apply to your rental once you post it. You may have to enroll to receive coverage with other services. These insurance policies usually become your primary coverage when home-sharing, as they’ll step in to handle claims and liability before your renters insurance policy. This doesn’t apply to your personal property however, and if a guest damages or destroys any of your possessions it’ll be your renters insurance policy that will need to provide coverage. Be sure to check your home-sharing service’s insurance offerings to see if your state and location are provided for, as their coverage doesn’t apply everywhere.
If you’re interested in having your personal possessions protected while renting out your space, you may be in luck. New renters insurance endorsements are now being offered. These endorsements would protect your personal belongings from damage by guests even if you rent enough for it to be considered commercial activity. The offering of these endorsements is limited, so you’ll need to check their availability in your area.
If you don’t rent out often, you very well may be covered by your existing renters insurance, and depending on where you live you may have host insurance already provided by your home-sharing service. Whether your home-sharing is considered commercial or occasional, it’s always a good idea to see what’s covered, and what your options are.
Travel insurance can cover your belongings while they’re stored in an Airbnb. This coverage only works if your possessions are reasonably stored, however, and if something were to get stolen or damaged because they were left in a public space, it wouldn’t be covered. Travel Insurance also provides personal liability coverage. If you were to accidentally knock over and destroy a lamp in the Airbnb where you’re staying, travel insurance could cover it. It could also cover bodily injuries you were to receive while staying in an Airbnb, however this only includes medical costs.
Depending on the insurance policies you already have, you may not need travel insurance. If you have a renters or homeowners insurance policy, check the coverage on personal property. These policies will typically ensure your personal belongings even when you take them outside your home or apartment. Your homeowners/renters policy should also have liability coverage that will cover you while on vacation. This can protect you if you were to accidentally damage your Airbnb.