Protecting Yourself in the Home Sharing Economy

Anyone who has stayed in one of New Hampshire’s rustic cabins for a night will tell you that home sharing is not a new phenomenon. People have been earning income by ‘sharing’ their home or a part of it for decades. One aspect that is new to the home sharing economy has been the rising popularity of companies such as Airbnb, FlipKey, and HomeAway, which have made it easier than ever for landlords to find short-term renters. Before you list your home on one of these popular platforms, the Insurance Center urges homeowners to consider the implications it can have on your insurance.

“While it makes sense to earn extra cash from unused spaces in your home, homeowners may not be aware that they could be introducing significant risks to their current homeowner’s insurance policy,” said Robert J. Sammon, president of The Insurance Center.

Sammon says home sharing can have important implications for several areas of insurance coverage. “From family heirlooms that were taken to the destruction of property, homeowners have been surprised to learn that insurance companies did not cover claims when they used their home for business purposes,” Sammon said.

Nowadays, insurance providers offer additional lines of coverage for clients interested in listing their property on one of these home sharing platforms. Other homeowners have avoided additional fees by placing their trust in the liability coverage offered by home sharing companies. But as they have learned, gaps in coverage are still prevalent.

Examples where gaps in coverage may exist include instances where guests may accidently cause a fire, or if they cause physical injury to a neighbor after a heated argument. Another concern hosts should be mindful of is theft. While home sharing platforms have made efforts to reimburse hosts that had jewelry or electronics stolen, things of intrinsic value cannot always be recovered.

“Hosts place their trust in networks and systems to identify guests that might have stolen from them, but sometimes things such as passed down timepieces or engagement rings cannot be returned to the rightful owner,” said Sammon. “Depending on who you talk to about this matter, it is simply not worth the risk to offer your home on a short-term basis.”

For those that are fully aware of the risks, the Insurance Center still encourages homeowners to reach out to an agent to ensure they are covered and to learn about other gaps in coverage that may exist.  If you have any questions about your auto, home, or business insurance needs, speak with an Insurance Center agent at one of our locations.