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All You Ever Wanted to Know About Insurance

One million travelers will ring in the New Year using Airbnb.

One million travelers will ring in the New Year using Airbnb.

Top ten insurance tips for hosts and guests.

Released December 29, 2015 by the California Department of Insurance-916-492-3566

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Airbnb is projecting over one million people will ring in the New Year in an Airbnb, but insurance gaps may take the joy out of New Year's celebrations, if something goes wrong. Although Airbnb provides $1 million in host liability coverage, many hosts don't know their homeowner or renter insurance policy may not provide coverage should New Year's festivities take a turn for the worse and it's important to make sure the home sharing company provides adequate insurance coverage and protection in the event of a loss.

A number of locations in California are popular destinations for travelers this year including the East Bay, Los Angeles, Tahoe and San Francisco. As Californians ready their homes and pack their bags in anticipation of the New Year, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is urging both hosts and guests to make an early New Year's resolution to avoid possible liability and financial disaster by educating themselves about the insurance available through home sharing sites such as Airbnb and taking steps to close any potential insurance gaps.

"The best decisions are informed ones," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Knowing if you have appropriate insurance and understanding your coverage before something happens is the first step in protecting yourself from a potentially devastating loss."

The rapid development of technology and sharing economy opportunities present a number of challenges, as traditional property and casualty insurance policies may not provide coverage when something goes wrong and property is damaged or someone gets injured. The following tips will help make sure you are protected.

Insurance tips for hosts and guests

  1. Although Airbnb provides host protection liability insurance with coverage of up to $1 million, there are exclusions on the policy, so hosts should review the Host Protection Insurance page on Airbnb's website and contact Airbnb directly to find out what's covered and what's not.
  2. Insurance coverage questions arise when an insurer expects a person to be using the home in one way, but later finds out the conditions have changed. Be honest with your insurance company about how you're using your home and let them know if you plan on renting it out.
  3. There is a gray area when it comes to personal homeowner insurance coverage for home sharing hosts. Factors affecting its breadth and depth of coverage could include whether you're home while renting your place, how often you rent it and how many people you're hosting.
  4. Some insurance companies may provide coverage if you occasionally rent out a room, but making all or part of your home available for regular rental likely would be considered excluded business use.
  5. Homeowner policies do not generally provide coverage for business use and insurance companies may deny coverage for resulting claims. Review your insurance policy and check with your agent or insurance company directly to find out whether your policy will protect you if a paying guest is injured or worse in your home.
  6. If your insurer says they won't cover you, inquire as to whether you can add to your coverage with an endorsement or whether there are any other alternative coverage options available to protect you such as host coverage through one of the online rental sites.
  7. If you plan on frequently renting out a room or entire home, a separate landlord policy may be your best option. This will cover your home, property contents such as appliances and furniture, and lost rental income due to building damage, legal fees and liability protection.
  8. Consumers interested in hosting should check with the home sharing company directly to see what coverage they provide and to identify gaps that might exist.
  9. As a guest, if there is damage to your belongings during your stay, your own homeowner or renter policy should protect you, similar to when you rent a hotel room.
  10. Guests should also know that sites like Airbnb have user agreements that reserve the company the right to make a claim under your homeowner or renter policy for any damage or loss you cause to an accommodation.

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