With the ease and potential profitability of short term rental platforms such as Airbnb, many homeowners and home sharers are unaware that there are legal ramifications in renting their properties to the public.
Typically, homeowners’ insurance doesn’t cover Airbnb rentals and will cancel your policy if they find out you’re hosting, so hosts should seek specialized insurance.
The best insurance providers for Airbnb hosts in 2021 are Proper Insurance, Allstate, Nationwide, and CBIZ. Farmers and Progressive are great options, while Slice Insurance is the best option for pay-per-use. All these providers offer commercial insurance coverage to cover liability for hosts.
Although Airbnb provides basic coverage for Airbnb hosts, some exclusions leave hosts open to potential lawsuits, and legal consequences should damage or injury occur in your Airbnb property.
If you would like to know how short term rental insurance works and seek an insurance provider that meets the Airbnb market’s unique requirements, read on for our top 10 picks for 2021.
Does My Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Airbnb Rentals?
Some Airbnb owners are unaware that homeowners insurance policies may not automatically cover home-sharing rentals such as Airbnb. Although renting out a used part of your property or apartment might be more lucrative than long-term rentals, there are certain risks homeowners may open themselves up to in short term rentals.
Most standard homeowners insurance excluded short-term rentals, so owners should take care to find specialized insurance that caters specifically to short-term rental coverage.
The Insurance Information Institute highlights two scenarios where a primary residence is used for short term rentals:
- Some insurance companies may allow homeowners to cover short-term rentals if you notify them before the rental period. Other insurers require an endorsement of the existing policy to provide coverage. This coverage usually applies to a once-off temporary rental and not a continuous short term rental scenario.
- Once you chose to rent your primary residence for short periods regularly, such as Airbnb, standard homeowners insurance would consider your rental a business. In this case, you would need to purchase a business policy for coverage (either hotel or bed and breakfast.
Is Home Sharing Considered a Business?
The legalities concerning residential/commercial use in Airbnb rentals remain to be decided definitively. However, insurance companies typically view such rentals as a business activity, much like hotels or bed and breakfasts.
If you rent out part of your primary residence to generate income, your insurance company will view the activity as a business. Standard homeowner policies do not cover business activities, and you will need to purchase business insurance.
Airbnb hosts that plan to rent an entire dwelling for extended periods should ensure that they take out landlord insurance that covers the home itself and any structures that are on the property. Typically these policies cover fire or wind damage but won’t cover wear and tear damage or loss of tenants’ property.
What Is Renters Insurance vs. Landlord Insurance?
Renters insurance covers occupants of a property owned by someone else and provides cover for their personal belongings in the home and property. Renters insurance typically reimburses a renter for the replacement cost of property damaged or lost on the property.
If you’re engaged in rental arbitrage, whereby you rent from a landlord and engage in business activities, a standard renters insurance policy will likely not cover you.
Landlord insurance covers property damage, rental income loss, and liability protection for property owners who rent out a residential property. However, Landlord insurance typically does not cover short term rental scenarios such as Airbnb and provides cover for longer-term rentals such as six months and over.
So if you rent your home on Airbnb regularly, you would need an insurance policy that offers commercial insurance coverage.
Insurance companies will often not fulfill Airbnb damage claims even if they occur between longer-term tenancies in your property. It is essential to ensure that your insurer covers your property for Airbnb rentals’ business’s unique requirements.
What Should I Look for in an Airbnb Insurance Plan?
Due to the unique nature of the Airbnb short term rental requirements and risks, hosts should seek coverage that suits Airbnb endeavors. Renting out your home, or a portion of it necessitates specialized insurance covering you in both a personal capacity and your business role as an Airbnb rental provider.
Ideally, you should seek coverage that includes:
- Liability coverage. Airbnb owners should ideally seek a public liability cover for guest injury with high coverage and few exclusions. The liability for guest safety is one of the most substantial risks for an Airbnb offering short term rentals and should provide adequate coverage.
- Property and contents insurance. Airbnb owners are at heightened risk of unexpected events such as fire, theft, and property damage. Therefore, their insurance should cover both replacement and repair of property and property contents should damage occur.
- Loss of income. Suppose external factors prevent your rental from being occupied, such as construction nearby or unforeseen events beyond your control. Even if the insurance covers partial payment, it helps in situations where your rental remains unoccupied.
- No forcible entry requirements for theft or damage. Your insurer should waive the need to prove forced entry if someone steals objects from your rental property.
- Location-specific coverage. If your rental area is prone to floods or earthquakes, you should consider additional coverage for protection.
What Insurance Does Airbnb Offer?
Airbnb offers Airbnb owners primary liability insurance under their Host Protection Insurance and property damage protection program under Airbnb’s Host Guarantee. Although these policies provide primary coverage for property damage and host liability, they are certainly not exhaustive and have several terms and exclusions, leaving hosts open to litigation.
Host Protection Insurance Coverage
Host Protection is liability insurance cover that may provide USD 1,000,000 in coverage should a guest or third party suffer injury or property damage in your Airbnb rental property.
This cover does not extend to those offering Airbnb rentals through:
- Airbnb Travel
- Airbnb LLC
- Hoists based in Mainland China
- Hosts based in Japan
- Airbnb Experiences hosts
What Host Protection Coverage Covers
- Your legal responsibility for injury to guests or others
- Your legal responsibility to property damage incurred by your Airbnb guests or third parties
- Your responsibility for damage to communal areas such as neighboring properties or lobbies caused by guests or others
What Host Protection Coverage Does Not Cover
- Damage or injury as a result of an intentional action
- Loss of income
- Damage to your property (covered by Airbnb’s Host Guarantee)
Airbnb Host Guarantee
The Airbnb Host Guarantee is a property protection policy that protects Airbnb rentals in the event of damage to a host’s property or belongings caused by a guest or their invitees. The damages must be reported in a 14 day window period or before the next guest checks in to the property.
Whichever comes first (so be quick if you have a same day turnover).
Airbnb Host Guarantee does not cover all property damage caused by guests, and even Airbnb encourages hosts to supplement their Airbnb insurance with personal insurance covering the Airbnb exclusions.
While customer complaints abound on Airbnb forums of Airbnb’s reluctance to pay out for larger claims, Airbnb seems relatively quiet about evidence of these promised more considerable sums. Their customer service has only 1.5 stars out of 5 on Trustpilot, and SiteJabber lists them as 1.4 stars.
In fact, Airbnb themselves claim that the Host protection is not an insurance policy.
What Airbnb Host Guarantee Covers
- Property damages caused by guests
- Damage of your belongings caused by your Airbnb guest
- Damage caused by a guest’s assistance animal
What Airbnb Host Guarantee Does Not Cover
- Cash and securities theft such as bonds and stock certificates
- Damage caused by wear and tear
- Injury to pets
- Bodily injuries to guests or others (covered by Host Protection Insurance)
Are Airbnb’s Insurance Offerings Adequate Cover?
Although Airbnb provides primary cover provides the impressive potential amount of $1,000,000, the claims process is not as simple as it seems, and many Airbnb owners have been left open to personal injury lawsuits. In the eyes of the law, Airbnb owners are treated much like a hotel business when it comes to guest liability.
If a guest suffers an injury in your rental, guests may hold you liable to cover medical costs and expenses regardless if you are responsible or not.
Lawsuits can be costly and time-consuming, and unlike a large hotel business, many Airbnb owners do not have the finances to support such drawn-out legal proceedings.
Unfortunately, the Airbnb terms and exclusions make it difficult for Airbnb owners to receive insurance cover for events beyond minor injuries. The three exclusions in the host protection of particular concern are the assault and battery, sexual abuse, and personal and advertising injury exclusions.
For example, your guests may be attacked and hold you liable for their injuries, leaving you unprotected from Airbnb insurance. These costs incurred should a sexual assault or attack occur on your premises may carry a substantial cost to an Airbnb owner.
So with that said, here are 10 of our top Airbnb insurance picks for 2021.
Best Overall: Proper Insurance
Virginia-based Proper Insurance is a relative newcomer in the short-term rental insurance field, but it is highly rated on several professional platforms.
Proper provides a Lloyds of London insurance policy that focuses specifically on short term rental risks and requirements. The Proper Insurance policy protects both the property owner and property manager’s exposure and caters specifically to rental services such as Airbnb.
Proper includes insurance for hosts through Vrbo, HomeAway, and Airbnb, making it a top pick for peer to peer and vacation rentals. Airbnb owners can use their online portal to find a quote. They have a wide variety of policies dependent on the value of your personal property and intended income coverage.
Proper insurance is available in all 50 states, has excellent reviews, and boasts a 4.4 out of five stars on the Better Business Bureau, which says a lot for an insurance company.
What Does Proper Short Term Rental Insurance Offer?
Proper offers a comprehensive commercial policy that replaces existing homeowner’s insurance and grants business liability coverage. Proper coverage policy covers the four main occupancy types:
- Commercial (for rentals operating as a business such as Airbnb rental)
- Personal (residential coverage)
- Tenant (covering owners in landlord type scenarios)
- Unoccupied rentals (covers rentals without tenants or owners.)
Proper Insurance Features
- $1,000,000 in commercial general liability cover (can be raised to $3,000,000)
- No limits imposed on damages causes by guests, theft, or vandalism
- No time limit on claims for lost business income
- No occupancy restrictions
- Endorsed exclusively by VRBO and Homeaway
- Lost rental income properly covered
- Sinkhole collapse coverage
- Ordinance coverage of $10,000 to $50,000.
Top Pick for Homesharing: Allstate
Allstate has an impressive track record since its inception in 1931. Excellent in both online ease and great local agents, Allstate carries an A+ Rating with AM Best.
Allstate offers two types of policies for vacation rentals. They offer HostAdvantage, an umbrella policy that acts as a supplement to regular homeowners insurance and protects Airbnb owner’s home contents from theft and damages.
They also offer Allstate Landlord Insurance, which covers short term rentals such as dwelling protection and liability and income loss coverage. Their policy also covers theft and vandalism and helps cover the costs of renovations necessary to bring your building up to code.
Allstate offers services in all 50 states in the US and provides online quotes, and 24/7 support for policyholders. Allstate’s insurance for short-term rentals are more affordable and vary in price according to individual requirements, location size, and rental property age.
Allstate Short Term Rental Insurance Features
- Can supplement existing homeowners insurance policies
- Covers theft and damage up to $10,000 per rental period
- 24/7 customer support
Allstate Landlord Insurance
- Dwelling protection
- Liability cover
- Theft and vandalism cover
- Medical coverage
- Income protection
- Code renovation assistance
Best for Coverage Options: Nationwide Insurance
Carrying one of the highest AM Best Ratings of A+, Nationwide has decades of experience in the insurance fields and is a trusted name in household insurance. Nationwide provides homeowners insurance, condo or association insurance, personal liability, and umbrella insurance for our top pick for versatility.
Costs vary quite substantially between policies for the variety of plans on offer, and your expenses will depend on your chosen deductible, your home value, and the location of your rental.
Nationwide is available in all 50 states in the US, with 24/7 customer support and online quotes. They also offer additional supplementary cover for areas prone to earthquakes or flooding hotspots.
Nationwide Short Term Rental Insurance Features
- Supplemental coverage available for your valuables
- An “On Your Side” insurance review each year
- Bundling discounts on offer
- 24/7 customer support
- Nationwide availability
- A wide selection of cover and price ranges
Best For Vacation Homes: CBIZ
CBIZ is one of the pioneers in short term vacation rental insurance and was the first to provide for the needs and amenities of vacation rentals in 2002. CBIZ is the largest insurer of vacation rentals in the US and caters to cover the exposures created by short term rentals such as Airbnb.
Their coverage includes replacement costs for buildings, building contents, guest damages, loss of income, and extra expense coverage of owner-occupied rentals. CBIZ offers impressive liability coverage, including:
- Lakes and docks
- Pools and hot tubs
- Gym equipment
- Small watercraft
Quotes are provided online or by speaking with an agent, and the service is available in all 50 states of the US. CBIZ offers up to $2,000,000 in commercial and personal liability at an average cost of $1,600 per year.
CBIZ Rental Insurance Features
- The first company to provide short term vacation rental insurance
- Policies Payout legal defense expenses paid out in addition to standard coverage limits
- Some policies make a provision for alcohol liability for guests damages
- Lower limits on claim amounts
Best for Landlords: Farmers Insurance
Started in 1928, Farmer’s Insurance has a lengthy track record of delivering quality insurance to the American public. Farmers offer a specialized landlord insurance policy that includes liability insurance and comprehensive property coverage.
They also provide optional coverage additions to suit your short term rental needs, such as:
- Coverage for lost rentals
- Personal property coverage
- Personal injury cover
- Coverage for structures such as sheds, garages, and swimming pools
Farmers have an A rating for financial stability from AM Best and provide quotes online that you may discuss with a vast local agents network. They also offer the Farmers Mobile app for members to access policy documents, receive payment reminders, and report claims.
While they still offer bundling discounts, Farmers does not require users to insure their primary residence with their company to receive rental insurance.
Features of Farmers Rental Insurance
- Available nationwide
- Discounts offered to teachers, doctors, and some other professions
- Good customer service track record
- Farmers decrease deductibles over time as a reward for no claims
- Farmers offer bundling discounts
- Claim forgiveness for long term clients after their first claim
Best for Budget: American Family Insurance
American Family offers options to Airbnb hosts that rent their homes for fewer than 62 days a year. It is a great way to keep costs down and only pay for what you use by adding temporary rental coverage and a landlord’s endorsement to your existing homeowner’s policy.
Hosts may use the temporary rental coverage to protect against loss or damage to our building and its contents in the area of the property you rent out. This short term rental insurance protects both the landlord and real estate owners against loss of income if damages make their rental makes it unrentable.
You will have to have your primary homeowner’s insurance covered by American Family if you wish to take advantage of short-term rental insurance. Still, it is a far more cost-effective option to only use their Airbnb rentals at certain times of the year.
American Family only offers homeowners insurance in 19 states and has an online portal for quotes should you wish to use their services. They offer a variety of bundle discounts and loyalty and safety features as well as some unusual inclusions:
- Identity theft coverage
- Appliance breakdown coverage
- Smart home appliance breakdown coverage.
American Family Short Term Rental Insurance Features
- You may add your short term rental insurance to your existing homeowner’s insurance
- Bundling discounts
- Generational discounts for members who have a parent as an American family member
- Discount Rewards for loyalty
- They offer discounts for safety features and smart home devices
Best for Occasional Airbnb Renters: Progressive Insurance
Progressive offers a novel approach to short term rental insurance by allowing their members to turn it on and off as they chose.
This insurance style suits those occasional lessors who rent their property out when they are away on business or vacation.
Unlike other insurance providers, Progressive does not expect lessors to carry short-term rental insurance costs when the rental is not in active use. Progressive Homeshare insurance by Slice helps occasional renters on platforms such as Vrbo and Airbnb to protect their home, valuables, and their business.
Progressive boasts an A+ rating from AM Best and is available in all 50 states and can cost as low as 8 dollars per rental night, depending on location and the coverage amount.
Progressive Homeshare Insurance Features
- Medical coverage. Progressive covers up to $10,000 should you as a host be injured by a guest.
- Loss of income. Should you be unable to rent your Airbnb property for reasons outside your control, progressive covers your lost income.
- Excess use of utilities. This addition covers those unexpected situations when a guest may help themselves too freely to your amenities.
- Infestation. If your guests should cause an infestation such as bedbugs, Progressive offers up to $5,000 for fumigation and to replace damaged property.
- Liquor Liability coverage. If your guest overserves alcohol or serves alcohol to a minor, Progressive protects you for up to $500,000 for any resulting property damages or injury.
- Identity theft. Should your identity be used for fraud, Progressive covers your expenses and monitors your credit.
Best Customer Support: American Modern
American Modern tops our list for providing excellent customer service with the lowest customer complaint rating. American Modern offers various coverages for seasonal and short term rental insurance suited to those with properties on platforms such as Airbnb or occasional renters in a more seasonal scenario.
With a proven track record over decades, American Modern is a trusted home insurance provider with an AM Best rating of A+ and is available in all 50 states. American Modern does not require that homeowners have their primary home insurance with their company to benefit their short-term rental insurance.
American Modern Short term Insurance Features
- Replacement cost settlement. Losses are reimbursed at replacement cost without depreciation deduction.
- Loss of rental income. If covered peril causes damage and hosts can not make use of the rental, American modern will cover the rental loss.
- Vandalism cover. American modern covers damage or defacement of property.
- Reasonable expenses for emergency repairs
- Coverage for other structures on the property
- Removal of debris
- Fire department service charges
- Water and mold damages
- Improvements and alterations
- Trees, lawn, and shrubs
Best Pay per Use: Slice Insurance
Slice is the new kid on the block for Airbnb short term insurance but still boasts an AA- from the AM Best financial strength rating. They provide an easy and affordable means to achieve proper commercial insurance coverage on a pay-per-use basis.
The Slice on-demand insurance ideally suits Airbnb owners who occasionally rent out their properties. The relatively low per night rates may escalate on Airbnb property in continuous use over the year.
Slice offers affordable rates of around $7 per night and provides up to $2,000,000 in commercial liability coverage, including the costs of your home and its contents, plus 18 additional coverages including liquor liability and loss of income.
Slice Insurance Features
- Quick and easy online quotes and coverage
- Highly customizable
- Covers accidental breakages of valuable articles up to $2,500
- Excessive use of utilities cover $1,000
- Infestation coverage up to $5,000
- Legal expense coverage $5,000
- Identity fraud expenses up to $10,000
- Host liquor liability up to $500,000
Best Add-On Insurance: Erie Insurance
Erie Insurance has an impressive track record and an A+ AM Best rating. Erie allows existing members to customize their policies for home sharing and short term rentals such as Airbnb. Ideally, the short-term rental insurance suits primary homeowners who wish to rent to short term tenants for less than 180 consecutive days per year.
However, they also offer coverage for property owners that use their property exclusively for renters and tenants through their ErieSecure Rental or Ultrapack Rental policies. These cover hosts for short term rentals for platforms such as Airbnb.
Erie Insurance Features
- Property damage coverage for events such as a fire
- Liability claims for injuries on your property and property damage to others
- Cover in the case of theft
With 5.6 million active listings, Airbnb is becoming ubiquitous across the globe. With the ease of listing on Airbnb platforms, many Airbnb hosts are not aware that they may be exposing themselves to serious liability, and their treasured assets may be at risk.
Although Airbnb offers a primary cover, many exclusions may leave a host footing considerable bills. Airbnb hosts should ensure that they use the right insurance cover to keep them operating safely and successfully.