Since the launch of Airbnb a decade ago, the growth in popularity of home-sharing is nothing short of a phenomenon.
Thousands of us are now letting out our home or spare room through the likes of Airbnb, Wimdu and Spareroom.co.uk as a way to meet new people, share our local sights and culture – and, of course, boost our personal income.
With Airbnb saying that its typical UK host earns around £3,000 per year hosting for an average of 36 nights, it seems like a simple way of drumming up some extra cash doesn’t it? Even the Chancellor seems to think so, extending a £1000 tax break to people who make money by renting out a room through a home-sharing site (as well as other online trading activities) in April 2017.
They say that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is and that definitely applies to home-sharing.
There are a number of things to consider when it comes to safely renting out your spare room or entire home for short period. Having the right host insurance in place is one of the most important.
Research conducted by the CoverBuilder team found that almost three quarters of respondents would expect damage to their property or theft of their valuables by guests to be covered under their standard home insurance policy. They couldn’t be more wrong. This cover is generally excluded meaning that thousands of home hosts are potentially exposing themselves to the disaster of having their home wrecked and no insurance to turn to.
And it does happen. One London-based couple returned to their flat to find smashed windows, flooded bathrooms and wine stains all over their cream carpets from a group who threw a wild party when renting out their property through Airbnb. Another couple returned to their home to find a number of items had gone missing, including a limited edition print of one of Banksy’s early works.
Airbnb offers some protection through its Host Guarantee but it is riddled with exclusion such as artwork and Airbnb recommends its hosts take out separate insurance.
So what should you do?
First and foremost home hosts should inform their buildings and/or contents insurer that they’re planning on renting out a room or their home. It may offer to extend the existing policy but in all honesty, the insurance industry is behind the curve on home-sharing and the chances are that there will still be glaring gaps in cover such as theft or accidental damage by paying guests.
Secondly, look for top-up cover to fill those gaps such as our new, innovative host insurance.
Useable with any home-sharing platform and with no limit on the number of guest lettings, it provides peace of mind covering the home host’s property and possessions against risks such as damage, theft and vandalism by guests for less than £50 a year.
For more information on our home hosting insurance visit: https://www.coverbuilder.co.uk/home-hosting-insurance/.