Chapter 8 Host Insurance and Safety

When you rent out your property to guests from around the world, you must be confident that you are protecting both your guests and your property. Accidents can happen, so it is best to safeguard yourself, your space, and the wellbeing of your guests in a possible event. Host Insurance does not offer separate insurance protections for its property owners, so you’ll need to have adequate insurance in place on your property in case of the accidental injury of a guest, and you’ll also want to take steps to make sure that you are aware of and remedy any hazards that might cause dangerous conditions. For example, if a guest reports a leaky sink pipe that causes a slip risk on your tile floors, you should take steps to address that issue and fix it as soon as you can. You should also confer with your insurance provider to get their assessment as to whether your coverage is adequate for a property you plan to rent. 

How to guarantee property safety?

Part of being a host means taking steps to create an environment where guests feel they are safe and sound. Many of these steps are easy to accomplish and can add to the positive impression a guest has of your customer service skills. At the same time, ensuring these aspects are in place also protects your property: 

  • Install and check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: sure, the beeping is annoying when the batteries start to die, but installing a reliable smoke or carbon monoxide detector in your space can prevent loss of life and property. 
  • Store a fire extinguisher: these can be easily stored away in your rental property but can be a huge benefit if a small fire breaks out.
  • Offer lockers of safes for valuables: many travelers will take comfort in having a safe space to store jewelry, passports, electronics, or other important items while they are away from their rental. Many new safe options are keyless as well, which means renters can have the added security of setting their own passcode. 
  • Stock an emergency kit: if your rental is in a region prone to certain severe weather conditions or natural disasters, it can be beneficial to provide some resources and tools in case such an event strikes. Flashlights, first aid materials, and even an emergency exit or evacuation guide can be helpful. Keep in mind also that your renters might speak a different language, so it might be helpful to include a safety card in the local language that would help them find assistance. 

Of course, we don’t want to frighten our guests, and we hope that these resources are never needed to be called upon. That being said, having these measures in place can help keep both your guests and your property going strong. 

How to handle property damage by guests?

One of the biggest risks of renting your property out to international travelers is that you have to trust that they are making good choices in your space and will care for your rental as well as you would. Sometimes, though, this trust is broken. Damage to a rental property listed on is fortunately relatively rare – reports that it happens only once in every 5,000 bookings – but it still is a possibility for which you should prepare. 

One of the best ways to circumvent such damage is to walk your guests through all of the appliances and functions of your rental. Different spaces around the globe offer distinct features, so you can save yourself the headaches of these repairs by making sure guests know how these amenities work. You can do this face-to-face when they check-in, or you can develop a detailed manual that lives in the unit for troubleshooting unique situations. 

Another strong means to prevent property damage is to clearly lay out house rules. These regulations, such as restrictions for partying, smoking, and noise, can be clearly stated under the “Policies” tab in the extranet for your property, but you can also go into greater detail with a rules and regulations document that you post in the rental unit. 

You can also establish a stated damage deposit that will be charged if such damage occurs. This deposit is not something that can charge, but you can note the guest’s responsibility for this deposit under the “Policies” tab. This way, if you discover damage to your property, you have some recourse; you will, however, need to document the damage to validate your collection of the damage deposit.