One of the amazing success stories of the new sharing economy is the apartment-sharing company AirBnB. Once a small U.S.-based start-up, AirBnB has grown into an international powerhouse with a presence in 191 countries. Their success was based on a gamble that travelers would appreciate the coziness of staying in someone’s house or apartment, the convenience of having easy access to amenities like a kitchen, and the savings that come with avoiding hotel fees. Since their inception, numerous apartment-sharing companies have sprung up in their wake and the industry shows no signs of slowing. Though diving into this cottage industry and opening the doors of your home to travelers seems like a simple way to make extra money, there are serious insurance implications to be considered.
The first thing to understand about any sharing economy business is this: though you don’t consider your house to be a hotel, or your car to be a taxi cab, if you’re using it to make money the government and your insurance provider do. Sharing economy industries are still in their infancy and as such, governmental laws and insurance code have not yet caught up to them. Homeowners insurance is designed to protect you, your home, and your family. For this reason, your homeowners insurance policy will most likely not cover claims involving a vacationing renter.
Apartment-sharing companies do offer insurance policies that they claim will cover their host’s homes, but these policies have gaps that tend to be de-emphasized. However, there is a safe insurance option for those who are determined to get into the apartment sharing business. Traditional landlord policies will protect your home from liability stemming from injury and property damage associated with renters and can be purchased alongside your homeowners insurance policy.
If you are considering becoming a host with AirBnB, or a similar apartment-sharing company, call us so we can craft a policy that suits your needs.
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