Many Airbnb hosts 'not adequately insured'

Thousands of Airbnb hosts could be leaving themselves exposed financially by not declaring their rental activities to their insurer, it has been claimed.

That’s because regular home insurance policies do not cover Airbnb hosting activity.

According to house insurance broker Insuremyhouse.ie, the tens of thousands of people engaging in the activity in Ireland may not be covered in the event of a claim if they fail to disclose their rental activities to their insurer.

It said more than 12,000 Irish Airbnb hosts rented rooms to more than 800,000 people last year. Hosts in Ireland have more than doubled annually since 2010.

The typical Airbnb host here is 39 and earns €2,600 per year, renting out space in their home for about 40 nights per year.

There are now 22,000 host properties listed for Ireland on the Airbnb platform.

In the case of an entire home listing, the entire property is rented out by a guest and the host is not present in the building for the length of the stay. The vast majority of hosts (88%) share their primary home.

Deirdre McCarthy, home insurance expert with Insuremyhouse.ie, said Airbnb hosts need to be aware of the fact they need to disclose their rental activities to their insurer.

“It has been brought to our attention by several insurers that there seems to be a lack of awareness amongst Airbnb hosts of their obligation to make the necessary amendments to their home insurance policy to reflect their sharing economy activity. Unfortunately, homeowners have seen claims denied in recent years because they did not do this,” she said.

Ms McCarthy said that in the event of a claim — even if it’s unrelated to the Airbnb activity — an insurer can and, most likely will, decide to reject the application on the basis of non-disclosure of the Airbnb use of the property.

“People have been left not only stunned but significantly out of pocket because their claims have been denied as a result of inadequate cover,” she said.

“We really want to inform people and make it abundantly clear that if they rent out their home through Airbnb, then they must notify their insurer.

“Such activities would be classified as an additional risk by insurers — which is understandable considering 47% of hosts rent out their entire properties — which means they have to vacate the home for the duration of the visitor’s stay.”

Ms McCarthy said that, while not all insurers cover this additional risk, it has come to an agreement with some companies to make Airbnb hosting an ‘add-on’ to a policy.

“The additional cost is by no means prohibitive. But the most important thing is to disclose it to us so we can advise of the correct policy,” she said.


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