Airbnb Nightmares. Is Your Property Protected?
Imagine renting your home out and coming back to find it completely trashed. Or imagine coming back to find that your renter stole your grandmother’s jewelry, your iPad and Passport. That would be a nightmare. Is your property protected?
Most Airbnb rentals and other rental arrangements go off without a problem. However, some rentals do NOT go as planned.
Who Should Read This
If you use Airbnb to rent your home you need to read this. Even if you don’t use Airbnb, but have property that you rent out, you still need to read this.
The main question you need to ask yourself is: Does your home insurance or renters insurance adequately protect you if a renter damages or does something even worse to your property? By the end of this article, you’ll be able to either answer that question, or at least know exactly what to do next if you can’t.
This Can’t Happen to Me…Can It?
Yes it can and it might happen to you. You need to find out if you’re covered and what’s covered. Are you covered if a renter damages your property? Are you covered if a renter steals something? What if your renter sublets and puts your property on Airbnb for someone else to trash it? These disasters happen more often than you think.
They smashed a hole through a locked closet door, and found the passport, cash, credit card and grandmother’s jewelry I had hidden inside. They took my camera, my iPod, an old laptop, and my external backup drive filled with photos, journals… my entire life.
That story comes from a woman, who goes by “EJ”, detailing her renter’s nightmare when she used Airbnb to rent her apartment in the San Francisco area.
In the summer of 2014, an Airbnb host couldn’t get a guest to leave and he actually threatened the owner of the place he was squatting in.
”It’s been a nightmare”, the host, Cory Tschogl, told Business Insider
When the squatter continued not to pay and she realized she couldn’t get the guy out, she threatened to shut the utilities off. The squatter responded with a threat of his own:
I have consulted my attorney. As I said multiple times already, I am LEGALLY occupying the domicile.
The squatter goes on to threaten her with charges of blackmail and damages caused by his brother drinking unfiltered tap water, which allegedly resulted in an expensive hospital visit.
Or what about the time a property owner came home to find out that “There Were Meth Pipes Everywhere”? If you don’t think this sort of thing happens often enough to worry about it, just Google, “airbnb disaster stories”. (Warning: Some of these stories are quite appalling and alarming)
Are You Covered?
Hopefully you’ve gotten past the “this can’t happen to me” point. Wouldn’t you agree that you need to do something to protect yourself from nightmares like this?
There’s usually not much you can do to prevent bad people doing bad things. However, the least you could do is find out if you’re covered. Just in case you end up in one of those nightmare scenarios. Feel free to contact us to make sure you’re covered. We can’t stop someone from breaking into your closet and stealing your valuables, but we can help you on the path to become whole once again.
4 Ways to Make Sure Your Property Is Protected
Renting your home through Airbnb or any other way is a usually a great experience. It’s also a great way to earn some extra income. Like everything else in life, renting comes with an element of risk. Our job is to help you mitigate that risk.
Here are the top 4 ways to protect yourself from having a bad situation turn into a life-changing nightmare:
- Get Insurance: If you use Airbnb, don’t just rely just on the Airbnb Host Protection Insurance. Even if you don’t use Airbnb, call your insurance agent and ask what your home insurance policy covers.
- Documentation: Airbnb provides a built-in agreement. If you’re renting any other way, a written (and signed) rental contract is an absolute requirement. States have different laws regarding rental agreements so check the Landlord-Tenant Laws for your property. (Disclosure: We’re anInsurance Agency, not a law firm. We highly recommend you speak with an attorney before creating any agreements or legal documents.) Also, if something should happen, document everything. You could take pictures of any damage or even shoot a video of the damage.
- Do Your Due Diligence: If you’re using Airbnb, check out the reviews and profiles of potential guests. If you don’t use Airbnb, do a thorough background check on potential renters. Last but not least, TALK! You can learn a lot about a person simply by speaking with them for even just a few minutes.
- Off-Site Storage: No matter how you choose to rent your property, make your valuables are protected. That includes anything from jewelry, artwork and electronics to simple but important documents like passports, credit card statements, and anything else that has your personal information on it. You can do this by locking valuables in a safe or by putting anything valuable in a protected off-site storage facility.
Hopefully this article didn’t completely scare you away from Airbnb or renting your home to someone else. Because using Airbnb or another method to rent your property can be a great way to make some extra cash and even meet some interesting people.
The majority of the time, nothing dramatic happens. But what if something does happen? Before allowing a stranger (or even someone you know) to rent your property, contact your insurance agent or one of our insurance agents to make sure you’re covered. We’ll help you put a plan together to make sure you sleep soundly. (Even with a stranger sleeping in your guest bedroom)