McCurdy Group - Insurance and Financial Consultants

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

AirBnB: Questions You Should Ask Before You Rent Out Your Home

A lot of events happen in our area: The Brimfield Antiques and Collectibles Show, the Patriots in the
play-offs, college graduations (20+ in Central MA within a 30-mile radius). All these events are tempting times to make a little extra cash by renting out your home on sites like AirBnB. But do you
know the risks and liabilities? Do you know exactly what your homeowners policy covers?

If you rent out your home for a one-time event, you may be covered, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), but different insurers have different requirements. Some may require advance notice; others might want you to purchase an endorsement (an add-on) to your homeowners policy to provide broader coverage for the renter. (III)

Or, if you're planning to rent your home for short periods on an ongoing basis, (e.g., all three Brimfield show weeks) some insurers may consider that a "business" and require you to purchase
business insurance. (III) And, if you're planning to rent your home for a longer period of time, say six
months, you will likely need a landlord policy. (III)

Now, let's talk personal property . . . of a paying guest, that is. Is their personal property covered by
your homeowners insurance policy? Most likely not. The property of a paying guest would not be covered by a typical homeowners policy. If something, such as a fire, occurs while the paying guest is staying in your home, their own renters or homeowners policy may cover the loss of their personal property.

And what about your personal property? What if a paying guest steals your property during their stay? Sorry, but you likely won't be covered by your homeowners insurance either. There are typically exceptions on a homeowners policy for theft that takes place in the part of a residence being rented to a paying guest.

Oh boy…what if my guest injures somebody or causes damage to a neighbor's property? Does my
homeowners insurance cover that? (Cringe) Most likely not. While the liability coverage of your homeowners policy typically does protect you from financial loss if you're legally obligated to pay for another person's injuries or for damage you do to their property; it will typically not extend to a guest.

If your paying guest was responsible for another person's injury or property damage, they would
need to look to their own renters or homeowners policy for liability coverage.

Okay, but what if my guest damages my own property? Surely now I would be covered. Don't hate me, please, but your policy most likely won't cover these types of damages, either. Your homeowners insurance won't likely consider a broken television, for example, a "named peril." And to
add salt to this wound, most homeowners / renters policies exclude property damage to a rental

So what precautions should you take before renting out your home, even for one day? First and foremost, call us. We will help you to understand what your existing homeowners policy may or may not cover, what exclusions might apply, and if an endorsement is necessary.

We recommend, too, that you do your due diligence. "Do a thorough interview of anyone before giving them access to your home. Most home sharing sites offer a screening service that gives you an overview of a candidate's background, but you likely want to go further, asking for identification, doing reference checks, asking for deposits (much like you would do when taking on a rental tenant as a landlord). You might also require any paying guests to have their own homeowners or renters insurance policy; check to see what their policy covers (liability, for instance) and consider whether their insurance is extensive enough to help you avoid any undue risk." (


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