Americans (and travelers throughout the world) are increasingly choosing to spend their vacations – and even business trips – in vacation rental properties. Companies like Airbnb and VRBO offer everything from studio apartments in the heart of bustling downtown areas to sprawling beachfront estates for travelers who don’t want the usual hotel or even resort experience.
Many people list homes on these vacation rental sites as a way to make money on properties that they may rarely use themselves. They’re taking some risk by letting people in their homes, but so are the guests.
The risks of staying in a private home on vacation
Staying in a home is a great way to feel like a local. It can be particularly advantageous for families. However, with the advantages of staying in a home come some risks of injuries you may not encounter in a hotel.
Most hosts take every precaution to minimize potential hazards. However, what if you trip over a loose floorboard and break your hip? What if that beautiful hammock on the lawn collapses, and you strike your head on the ground? What if the cap on a bottle of bleach stored in a closet was loose, and your new luggage is destroyed?
Understanding vacation rental property insurance
Fortunately, your host should have an insurance policy that covers bodily injury as well as damage to property like the examples we just described. Insurance providers now sell policies specifically for vacation rental properties to protect hosts and their guests. These are different than traditional homeowners’ policies, which generally don’t cover property that’s rented out or used for business. Airbnb offers its own Host Protection Insurance.
Of course, if a guest is injured because they’re acting carelessly or dangerously, that’s another matter. The policy typically won’t cover an injury that’s caused by an intentional, reckless act. Before you rent a vacation property, find out what kind of insurance the host has and what it covers. Also, make sure you know and understand any rules the host has set. If you’re violating a rule when you suffer an injury, the policy may not cover it.
If you or a loved one is injured in a vacation rental and you’re having difficulty getting the compensation to which you believe you’re entitled, it may be wise to consult an attorney to explore your options.