We’ve probably all heard an Airbnb horror story or two, from hidden cameras in the bedroom and bedbug infestations to being pushed downstairs by the property owner, or the house burning down because it had no smoke detectors. Renting an AirBnb is like playing Russian roulette, you never know what may be next. You could have the vacation of a lifetime or be left scarred for life. It is a paper-thin line between the two as the vacation home rental is still under-regulated in most parts of the world. That’s why it is a good idea to know from the get-go who will compensate you for your injuries if you get hurt at an AirBnb rental.
Types of Injuries That May Occur in an Airbnb
With one in four vacationers expected to book an Airbnb rental and over 7 million listings in around 100,000 cities worldwide, there’s ample room for accidents to occur. Cheap accommodation often comes with a number of associated high risks – the can range from the trip and slip hazards, to a lack of fire safety equipment, or even to disease-carrying bugs and assault. An accident may lead to (severe) bodily injury and/or property loss, lifelong illness, disability, and even death.
If any of the injuries occurring at an AirBnb rental is the host’s fault, you could file a lawsuit against him or her to receive compensation. Under most countries’ premises liability law, homeowners have a legal duty to guests to remove any hazards or conditions that might cause them harm. The law does not apply to trespassers.
AirBnb Host Protection Insurance
Since guests can get injured and they may sue, AirBnb has decided to offer hosts an extra layer of protection against potential personal injury lawsuits through its Host Protection Insurance program, which covers both injury and property damage claims of up to $1 million. Airbnb insurance for hosts is more than welcome since many homeowners’ policies do not cover such claims if the property is used for business purposes like renting it to tourists.
AirBnb Host Protection Insurance is completely free and is applied by default to each new Airbnb listing. So, if you fail to reach an agreement with the host, AirBnb should cover much of the medical expenses and property damage resulting from the accident.
What AirBnb Insurance Is Not Going to Cover
The vacation rental giant’s Host Protection Insurance will not cover damages resulting from:
- Intentional acts, such as terrorism, assault (including sexual assault), robbery, and theft
- Bedbug infestation, asbestos exposure, mold, lead, or pollution
- Natural disasters, such as wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes
- Car crashes
- Defective, mislabeled, or unsafe products.
The Host Protection Insurance is not available in all countries, though. Currently, Airbnb offers liability protection to homeowners from the U.S., and 16 other countries, including the U.K., Australia, Canada, China, and Japan (You can check out the whole list of covered countries here.)
I Want to Be an Airbnb Guest: What Do I Need to Know
The Internet is rife with AriBnb horror stories, mostly coming from disgruntled homeowners. But guests aren’t sage either. For instance, there was one time one the entire AirBnb rental burned down because the host skimped on smoke detectors or failed to conduct periodic inspections of electrical outlets. There are stories about guests falling down a poorly maintained staircase or a slippery floor or carpet.
Before renting a home through AirBnb, you should know that:
- Any stolen valuables including cash and personal items are not covered under Airbnb’s Host Protection Insurance program.
- If you have to cancel a reservation because of an emergency, the host may be entitled to keep all the money you gave them when booking the place
- You must document any incident that has ruined your vacation such as loud noises, foul odors, parts of the building about to collapse with photos and videos (use time stamps while at it), medical records, and witness testimony if you’ll want a refund or compensation for any damages.
- To prevent having an ugly surprise, always ask for photos of the room or apartment you want to book directly from the host. They may not match the photos listed on the AirBnb website.
Who Is Going to Pay for the Costs of My Injuries?
If you do decide to rent an Airbnb, know that a slip, fall, or a collapsed part of a property can lead to injuries, illness, and disability that may last a lifetime. So, if you’re hurt in an Airbnb, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the host to seek and receive compensation for your pain and suffering. Before that, though, you could reach an agreement with the host to compensate you outside a courtroom.
If the host has homeowner’s insurance, you may get compensation from his or her home insurance carrier, including Airbnb. The Host Protection Insurance should cover any damages of up to $1,000,000. While the sum might seem much, it is a drop in the bucket if the accident caused you permanent disability such as quadriplegia, which means that you’ll require 24/7h care for the rest of your life.
If the host’s insurance policies do not cover all the expenses related to your injuries, you can hire an attorney and file a personal injury lawsuit against the host to get full compensation. But according to Pintas & Mullins, accident victims seeking compensation should contact a law professional even before discussing with an insurance adjuster.
In most cases, insurance company reps will try to undermine your case by trying to minimize the severity of your injuries or by challenging some medical treatments for being too expensive. They’re less likely to resort to such cheap tactics if they have to deal with your attorney.
At the end of the day, regardless of who is personally responsible for your injuries and loss, you should never back down from obtaining justice for the pain that you were caused on your vacation. Both AirBnb and the renting homeowner gave you a guarantee that the living accommodation that you paid for with your hard-earned cash would be safe, secure, and welcoming.
Through expert legal advice, you will eventually manage to earn the compensation that you rightfully deserve for their failure to give you the rightfully ethical treatment that you were promised.