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Renting out your property on Airbnb – does your home insurance cover you?

The importance of making sure you are properly insured before renting out your property using sites like Airbnb has once again been highlighted after an accident in Brighton.

Four people were seriously injured after a balcony collapsed underneath them at a flat advertised on Airbnb in July. And whilst there is no suggestion the landlord or host was at fault or had no insurance, the possible pitfalls are once again emphasised.

Are you covered if an Airbnb guest hurts themselves in your home?

Typically, standard homeowners insurance provides limited coverage for personal injuries or property damage to others for which you or members of your family living with you may be legally responsible.

And although Airbnb offers £600,000 of insurance to hosts through its Host Guarantee scheme, this is intended to cover damage to your property caused by an Airbnb guest and does not include any personal liability insurance.

Crucially, you need to contact your home insurer to be sure - which not everyone does or wants to, working out the basis that surely nothing will go wrong.

Checking your home insurance

Because an insurance company could claim you withheld important information if you don't tell them you occasionally rent out your home to Airbnb guests, they may refuse to pay out on an insurance claim. Even if the claim has nothing to do with the Airbnb rental.

But many insurance companies are still not keen on the idea of Airbnb, although a few are now agreeing to provide cover, so many people decide to take the risk of staying quiet about their paying guests.

Airbnb's Host Guarantee does provide some reassurance but crucially, is not the same as home insurance. For example, it does not cover cash, valuables, pets or damage caused to shared or communal areas. Or personal liability as previously mentioned.

If you want to be insured for these risks, you will need to arrange it with your current home insurance company or if they won't help, change insurer.

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