Since its founding in 2008, 140 million people have used Airbnb, with 80 million users in 2016 alone.1
And according to research commissioned by the home-sharing company, 85 percent of millennials support the idea of renting out extra space to people visiting their city.1
If you're part of this sharing community and renting your home for extra income, you're definitely not alone. However, you need to have the proper insurance coverage to make sure you and your property are protected. What is Home Sharing?
In a nutshell, home sharing is a way for you as a host to rent your home via a website or app like Airbnb or HomeAway. Guests simply log on, find your property, and pay just like they would at a hotel. The main difference is your property isn't licensed or regulated like a hotel or bed and breakfast.
This could potentially put you at risk. If someone renting your home damages or even vandalizes it, you're responsible for paying for repairs, including any made to common areas - like those in a condo building. And if a guest is injured while at your home, you could be responsible for their medical expenses.2 How to Protect Yourself as a Host
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, most homeowners insurance policies
don't cover accidents at short-term rentals.2
And, even if your homeowners or renters insurance includes coverage for home-sharing or rentals, your insurance company still could deny your coverage.2
That's because, once people pay you to stay there, your home becomes a business. Homeowners and renters insurance policies typically aren't intended to cover "commercial" use.2
So how can you be sure you're protected? While you could rent only to people who will use their own homeowners or renters insurance policies, which would likely reduce your pool of potential clients significantly. Instead, your best option is to talk to your insurance company and tell them you're sharing your home. They may suggest you purchase a landlord policy that could cover the structure, the property inside (including your appliances and furnishings), lost rental income in case of damage, legal fees, and liability claims. Pro Tip:
If you're staying as a guest in a shared property like an Airbnb, check with your homeowners or renters insurance to find out what protection you have if any damages occur to the property.
Costs for this type of insurance will vary based on your property's size, its location, and features, as well as the type and extent of coverage you want. But if you want to continue doing business with peace of mind, it’s almost certainly worth the expense.