Series: Owners

What is short-term rental insurance?

Posted on May 28, 2020
What is short-term rental insurance?

Do you rent out your property for short-term stays? These days, there are dozens of rental services vying for their share of the market. Each has its own rules and regulations for participating members. This adds to the confusion of what you should and shouldn’t do as a homeowner.

One glaring issue that keeps cropping up is that property owners assume that their homeowners’ insurance will protect them should something go awry. While there are some instances where it will safeguard them, there are also gaps that leave them exposed to liability. This is the exact reason why you need short-term rental insurance.

Wondering what short-term rental insurance is for furnished homes? Read on as we dive into the crucial details.

Home-sharing

Before we can cover short-term rental insurance for renters, it’s important to first understand why it arose in the first place. Thanks to changes in society and technology, the nature of travel itself have evolved. If you were visiting a new city a decade ago, you might have thought to stay at a friend’s place or seek out a hotel for accommodation. These days, however, home-sharing services such as Zeus Living have changed the equation, making it easier and more affordable than ever to find a temporary place to reside in.

At its essence, home-sharing is a mutually beneficial arrangement that works as follows: Travelers seek flexible short-term rental arrangements that fit their travel schedules. In exchange, property owners rent out their property—whether for a day or several weeks—to earn extra income. As such, very few homeowners’ insurance policies will cover you should you use your primary residence as a vacation rental. According to the Zebra:

Most homeowners insurance policies offer protection for the occasional rental, as long as you inform the company beforehand. If you rent out your property on a regular basis, a standard homeowner’s policy isn’t likely to provide adequate coverage. Home insurance policies often exclude liability coverage — including bodily injury and property damage — for any business activity run from the home. If you are relying solely on your homeowner policy for protection, you may be at risk of being underinsured.

Are furniture protection plans worth it? For more insights, read more on Zeus Li ving.

But why don’t insurance companies approve of this business activity? In a word, it comes down to risk. Opening up your home to strangers exposes you to a host of liabilities, including:

  • Damages to the property
  • Injury to renters
  • Theft and vandalism

The increased risk combined with the fact that hosting guests for money is considered a business activity (which insurance companies homeowners policies don’t cover) has caused insurance companies to require that property owners attain further insurance coverage—namely, short-term rental insurance.

What is Short-Term Rental Insurance?

In an oversimplification, short-term rental insurance is third-party insurance offered to protect your personal belongings and property (as well as to cover you from liability to guests). It allows you to hand over the keys to your home with peace of mind that it will be safe no matter what.

It’s worth noting that most homeowners policies will allow for “occasional” short-term rentals. Say, for example, your city was hosting the World Cup and you wanted to get out of town in order to avoid the crowd and make extra money by renting out the house. The vast majority of policies are fine with this; however, it’s crucial that you read the fine print since every company’s “occasional” definition may differ.

Even then, many require that you notify them prior to engaging in the short-term rental.

As such, if you plan on regularly renting out a room or the entire house, you’ll want to check with your current insurer to see if they’ll allow you to add short-term rental insurance as a rider policy. Depending on your company, you may only have to pay for the nights guests stay at the property.

Typically, the coverage will include:

  • Excess use of utilities
  • Identity theft
  • Infestation
  • Liability
  • Liquor liability
  • Loss of income
  • Property damage
Why Do You Need It?

Now, the home-sharing company you work with may offer varying levels of automatic protection. With that being said, that doesn’t always mean that they have you covered from liability during short-term rental periods.

In most cases, if you rent your property for more than 90 days a year, your insurance company will consider you a business. This would mean that you were no longer protected by the policy you signed up for. That said, the number of days rented required to change policies depends on the city/state in question.

  • In Los Angeles, you have 120 days until you are considered a business.
  • In Denver, you need a license before you can even consider renting out your property.

Regardless of your location, without short-term rental insurance, your cash cow could turn into a costly nightmare. And it’s not a matter of if, but rather, when.

Types of Short-Term Rental Insurance

While shopping around for your short-term vacation rental insurance there are a few things you must first consider:

  • Price of policy premiums as well as any extra costs to homeowners insurance
  • The amount that will be deductible should you be forced to make a claim
  • Coverage for damaged property or liability

Now that you have considered these, there are four primary types of coverage to choose between:

  • Adding An Endorsement To An Already Existing Policy For A Short-Term Renter – This is by far the easiest option as you simply contact your provider and tell them you want to add an additional policy. Though this is the most cost-effective means, many insurers do not offer this service. And, even if there is coverage, then you may not be able to rent out your home as much as you want.
  • Vacation Rental or Homeshare Insurance – A few companies have begun to tailor their service to the changes in the rental market, check your local insurance providers to see if you could benefit from this service. This is often significantly less than the landlord or commercial insurance and it also means you won’t have to worry when combining your rental with your own personal insurance.
  • Landlord Insurance Policy – This allows you to separate your personal and your business finances by registering as a landlord. This is not possible if you are renting the property yourself—if you intend on doing so you must first check the terms of your tenancy agreement in relation to subletting. Due to the specific nature of this policy, it’s the most well-rounded and more expensive than your typical homeowners policy. On top of that, it may be difficult to find one that covers only short-term renters.
  • Commercial Property Insurance – If you plan on renting your property out for a large chunk of the year, you’ll want this insurance policy (it’s all-inclusive). As such, it’s by far the most expensive form of short-term coverage available to you, so it’s not ideal if you’re only looking to rent sporadically.
Cost of Insurance for Short-Term Rentals

Prices vary greatly depending on the type of insurance for short-term rental. The first thing you must do is decide if you fall into the business category. If you don’t, yet you wish to rent on more of an Ad Hoc basis, then many organizations allow a pay-as-you-go option. This would let you insure your property daily for as little as $7.00. However, if you require commercial insurance, be aware that the cost of this can often amount to 3x as much as your typical homeowners policy.

Renting Out Your Property with Zeus

Home-sharing can be a lucrative and exciting opportunity, one that’s made all the more so when you know that you’re protected from liability with insurance for short-term rentals.

At Zeus Living, we have three levels of insurance on every home, including homeowners insurance, a $3,000,000 commercial liability plan, and a requirement that individual resident renters obtain renters insurance. That way, everything’s covered in your home, from cleaning to liability. Just as insurance is supposed to put your mind at ease for your valuables, so does Zeus for your home and property.

If you’re considering renting out your property with us, know that you’ll benefit from all the below:

  • Guaranteed Safety – The working professionals and their families who will be using your home come with the Zeus guarantee. This means every resident goes through a rigorous screening process to ensure your property is safe.
  • Upkeep and Maintenance – Our success depends on the upkeep and maintenance of your home. That’s why we handle it for you. All you have to do is sit back and collect.
  • Furnishing Your Home – At Zeus, we have professional interior designers waiting to bring out the best of your home. Everything down from the furniture to the decor to the toiletries will be supplied on our end.

To spare you the hassle and headache, Zeus makes the process for homeowners seamless. This way, you know your personal property is safe, covered, and in good hands.

If you’re wondering, “Does Renters Insurance Cover Moving” or want to learn more about long-distance apartment hunting, visit Zeus Living today.

Sources:

The Zebra, Airbnb Insurance

https://www.thezebra.com/homeowners-insurance/airbnb-insurance/

Bankrate. How Does Short-term Rental Insurance Work? https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/homeowners-insurance/short-term-rental-insurance/

Benzinga, Short term rental insurance

https://www.benzinga.com/money/best-short-term-renters-insurance/

The San Francisco Chronicle, Airbnb hosts face conundrum when it comes to renting
https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/networth/article/Airbnb-hosts-face-conundrum-when-it-comes-to-12778219.php

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