MANCHESTER, England, June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Major national and international insurance brands are now offering cover specifically designed for homeowners who rent out their house through the home sharing site Airbnb. This comes on the back of numerous examples of Airbnb homes being damaged, in some cases maliciously. The Daily Mail reported in January that a one-bedroom flat in Putney was badly damaged and the owner, returning home having been alerted by neighbours, physically assaulted.
Online insurance comparison site Quotiva advises homeowners to check their existing coverage before considering any new insurances, but applauds companies for being proactive. "The industry has often been accused of moving too slowly when innovation or change hits a certain market." A spokesperson for Quotiva said in a statement earlier this week. "Love it or hate it, Airbnb is here to stay, and if additional insurance options can assist homeowners who experience malicious damage by short-term tenants, then everyone wins. However, we strongly advise homeowners who have guests for longer than 90 days to check the expiry of their policy."
Airbnb does offer its own insurance, however malicious damage and assault are mentioned specifically as two areas not covered. The cover, underwritten by Lloyd's, which offers protection for up to $1 million has also bring widely criticised, most notably by competitor, Homeaway's, CEO Carl Shepherd, who dismissed the insurance as, "great marketing," due to excessive terms and conditions, including the requirement of hosts to show evidence of screening guests adequately before accepting them.
Airbnb responded to these allegations by citing benefits within its insurance offering, however the insurance hasn't been tested enough as yet to make any clear judgements.
Regardless, based on the number of options coming on the market, it's clear that insurance companies see a requirement for homeowners to have peace of mind when renting out their house to strangers.
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