If you bought a rental property or moved without selling your old home, you may think that renting it out is a great way to make money. You’re on the right track, but if you don’t take the right precautions, you could lose it all. This includes making sure you have the right rental property or Airbnb insurance to cover you.
If you’re a smart homeowner, you probably already have home insurance. The problem is that it probably won’t cover you if you rent your property out. That’s because most home insurance policies are intended for your private residential use.
What coverage you have will depend on your home insurance policy, so you’ll need to read the fine print to see if it covers you during rentals. It’s pretty common that you’ll need to get a landlord insurance policy if you get a long-term tenant. If you do short-term rentals, your policy might cover you for a small number of rental days per year.
In short, if you’re taking a vacation and want to put your home on Airbnb to pay for it, your home insurance might cover you, but you need to double-check. If you have a property you’re renting out for income, you’ll almost always need to find a new insurance policy.
You may have seen that Airbnb does provide some host insurance coverage. Other platforms usually do something similar. What you need to understand is that Airbnb insurance is mainly to protect Airbnb, not you. The provided coverage may or may not meet all of your needs.
Airbnb insurance includes liability coverage. What this means is that if a guest gets hurt on your property and sues you, the insurance will usually protect you. Airbnb provides this coverage because they can get sued, too.
You also get host damage protection. This covers things like a guest burning your house down or stealing all your stuff. Now here’s the tricky part — what happens if there’s a fire that Airbnb says happened after your guest checked out and your home insurance company won’t cover anything because it doesn’t allow you to do Airbnb? You might end up having no insurance coverage at all.
The other thing to think about is what if the Airbnb insurance policy doesn’t give you enough coverage? The limits might be lower than you need to protect your assets, or it might exclude certain types of damage. Simply put, you might get what you pay for when you rely on the free insurance.
It’s still a trick question to ask what kind of home insurance you need. For one thing, you might be shopping for landlord insurance, rental insurance or business insurance. What you need will also depend on what exactly you intend to do.
Just like insurance for your primary home, insurance policies for rental properties will also have different terms. Some will only allow long-term rentals. The insurance company can define what long-term is, so it might be rentals that last for at least 30 days, six months or a year. If you do shorter rentals, you might need a different policy that allows that. Finally, if you do intend to live in that home for part of the year, you need to make sure the policy you choose allows you to do that as well.
Again, this is something you need to check with your insurance company. Call them up and tell them you intend to rent out your home for X days per year and live in it for Y days per year. Ask if you’re covered or if you can add that coverage to your existing policy.
Since some home insurance companies don’t allow Airbnb and will cancel your policy if you do it, make it clear you aren’t renting your home out yet. (Unless you already are, because lying to your insurance company is fraud and could mean they won’t pay your claim if something happens.)
Note: If you’re a renter, the same information for home insurance will usually apply to renter’s insurance. The real problem will be that doing Airbnb in a home you’re renting will usually upset your landlord and is often against your lease.
When you get rental property or Airbnb insurance, it will work similarly to your home insurance policy. It just changes what the insurance company will allow you to do in your home and still cover you. Like with most insurance policies, you can pick and choose your coverages and limits.
Here are some of the coverages you can expect to see.
- Property damage coverage. Property damage coverage protects your home against fires, burglars, tornadoes and other disasters. If something happens, it will repair or rebuild your home and replace your stuff. If you’re providing a furnished rental property, pay close attention to whether or not the insurance you’re looking at covers damage or theft by your renters. Often, it will cover the physical structure of your home, but coverage for its interior contents may vary.
- Liability coverage. Liability coverage protects you if you get sued. The most common example is if your renter or the mailman gets hurt while they’re on your property. Sometimes, you may get extra coverage for things unrelated to your property like your dog biting someone in a park. The idea is that even if the incident didn’t happen at your home, you might lose your home in the lawsuit. This extra coverage is common for home insurance but may not be included in landlord insurance.
- Special coverages. You may also have the option to add special coverages like cyber insurance. Different optional coverages can protect you if your data on your renters gets hacked, you lose income if your business gets interrupted or something else goes wrong.
Insurance is complicated, but finding the right insurance coverage doesn’t have to be. LemonBrew Insurance allows you to quickly and easily search for all different types of insurance policies. Try it now to get a quote on Airbnb insurance.