Short-term rentals have become popular over the last several years, with industry leader Airbnb currently boasting 6 million active listings worldwide. Short-term rentals are a way for homeowners to make extra income and for travelers to get a feeling of home, many times at a cheaper rate than a hotel. However, short-term rentals are rarely covered by homeowners insurance, which is where short-term rental insurance comes in. Short-term rental insurance can protect your home and belongings, plus offer you valuable liability protection, should the need arise.
Short-term rental insurance is ideal for homeowners offering temporary housing to paying guests.
Most homeowners insurance policies do not offer short-term rental insurance without an endorsement or separate policy coverage.
Short-term rental coverage can protect your home and personal property, plus protect against liability exposure arising from temporary paying guests.
Who short-term rental insurance applies to
Short-term rental insurance is generally only needed if you have paying guests in your home; it does not apply to family members or friends who are staying with you for free. Most standard homeowners insurance policies will cover non-commercial guests who are visiting your residence.
Short-term rental insurance is designed to cover your property and liability exposure while your home is being rented out by guests. For example, if a paying guest injures themselves and sues you, your short-term rental insurance’s liability coverage will help protect you financially. Short-term rental insurance is designed for short-usage cases and not year-round rentals to the same tenants. For the latter, you will need landlord insurance.
Short-term rental insurance explained
Many insurance companies offer short-term rental insurance as an endorsement or rider, meaning that the coverage is added onto your current homeowners insurance policy. However, some companies may require that you obtain a separate policy to cover your short-term rental. Whether you are renting a room in your house or another house on your personal property, this coverage can protect your assets in the event of an accident.
Depending on the way your endorsement or rider is written, you may be able to pay only for the nights you have guests staying at your property, not continuous coverage. This can help reduce your costs if you only plan on offering your property as a rental on a part-time basis.
Common short-term rental coverages include:
Loss of income
Excess use of utilities
To obtain short-term rental insurance, you can check with your current home insurer to see if it offers a policy or endorsement/rider. If you are unable to get coverage from your current carrier, explore other home insurance companies to compare prices and coverage. Engaging your insurance agent may also be beneficial in this process.
Hosting as a renter
Homeowners are not the only ones able to take advantage of the short-term rental market. If you currently rent your apartment or home and want to sublease it as a vacation rental, you also need to consider your insurance coverage. Whether you plan on listing the entire unit or just one room, you first need to check your rental agreement to see if your landlord prohibits subletting.
If subletting is allowed and there are no other prohibitive agreements in place, you should start thinking about additional coverage. Ideally, you already have renters insurance in place. If not, you should consider obtaining a policy before hosting paying guests. Just like homeowners, renters may find this additional coverage as an endorsement/rider added to their current policy or you may need to purchase another policy entirely.
Companies that offer short-term rental insurance
If you have decided to purchase a short-term rental policy, the first step is to compare quotes from different companies. Not only does this help you to get the best price for your plan, but it can help you get the specific coverages that you want.
National and regional property insurers that offer short-term rental insurance include:
Allstate: Allstate’s HostAdvantage home-sharing insurance offers a Merry Maids discount, with $25 off your first four cleanings.
Farmers: Geared toward landlords, Farmers’ policy offers tenant screening reports through SmartMove, where the cost of the service can be passed on to renters.
Foremost: You can personalize your Foremost short-term rental policy with options like a landlord package, endorsements and your preferred settlement method for approved claims.
Nationwide: For occasional short-term rentals, Nationwide offers an endorsement or rider to your existing homeowners or condo policy.
Progressive: If you lose out on rental income because of a covered loss, Progressive’s landlord policy has you covered.
Proper: With unique endorsements from Vrbo, Proper offers a 4-in-1 policy covering short-term rentals, personal use, occasionally unoccupied homes and long-term guests or tenants.
How much does short-term rental cost?
Numerous factors go into determining short-term rental premiums. The location of the property will play a significant role, as will the condition of your home. In general, most of the variables that impact the homeowners insurance policy premium will also affect a short-term rental policy.
These factors can include proximity to fire stations, crime rates in the area, your credit-based insurance score and the types of construction materials that were used to build your home. In general, renting your home or a portion of it is going to be viewed by insurance companies as a risk. Since insurance underwriting is based on risk, the premium that a company charges you will depend on the perceived risk of your specific rental situation.
Alternative options to protect your short-term rental
One alternative to short-term rental insurance you may consider is landlord insurance; however, this type of policy is usually designed for long-term rentals. Unless you plan to have the same tenants for an extended period of time, you may find that some insurance companies will not offer you a landlord insurance policy.
Another option is to consider finding an insurance policy that covers both your home and your short-term rental. This type of coverage streamlines the process and can potentially save you money since the coverage for the rental is likely coming from an endorsement/rider rather than a separate policy.
What Airbnb host insurance actually covers
If you book your property through Airbnb, you are also entitled to some automatic protection, although it may not provide as much coverage as a short-term rental policy.
When you become an Airbnb host, you are covered by the company’s host protection insurance. This coverage includes up to $1 million primary liability coverage of bodily injury or property damage. It also includes coverage for damage that your guests cause to common areas, such as building lobbies.
Host protection coverage does not include property damage from environmental factors such as mold, damage or injury from intentional actions or loss of earnings. If you need to file a claim, you must first contact Airbnb, who then puts you in touch with a third-party claims administrator.
In addition to the protection insurance, hosts also automatically qualify for Airbnb’s host guarantee. This covers any damage to your listed property and possessions up to $1 million. However, this is not considered an insurance policy and Airbnb still recommends getting additional insurance to protect your listing.
What Vrbo liability insurance actually covers
Vrbo liability insurance offers $1 million in coverage to protect homeowners offering their property as a short-term rental, a coverage that may be excluded from your regular homeowners policy. This coverage is available for stays booked through Vrbo’s online checkout. This coverage provides the added benefit that if you already are insured and a Vrbo traveler files a claim, you have the additional protection of the $1 million Vrbo coverage. This coverage is also global and will apply regardless of where your rental is located. Vrbo’s insurance is not meant as a standalone policy, as the platform’s listing requirements include that owners have sufficient existing coverage.
Vrbo insurance may cover property damage claims when a traveler has caused damage to a third-party. However, this coverage does not provide protection for damage caused to your property, so it is important to have alternate coverage in place. Vrbo insurance may also provide coverage for traveler injury claims.
Homeowners listing their property as a short-term rental on Vrbo do not have to utilize this coverage, although rental reservations booked through the online Vrbo checkout system are automatically covered. Either way, rental owner fees do not increase with the service’s use. In the event of an incident, claims can easily be filed online.
Alice J. Roden started working for Trending Insurance News at the end of 2021. Alice grew up in Salt Lake City, UT. A writer with a vast insurance industry background Alice has help with several of the biggest insurance companies. Before joining Trending Insurance News, Alice briefly worked as a freelance journalist for several radio stations. She covers home, renters and other property insurance stories.