April 17, 2019 - Kate
Last Updated 10/11/2021
These days, travelers have more options available than ever when it comes to booking accommodations when they travel. You have your more traditional hotel, quaint bed and breakfasts, camping (or glamping!), and for the past ten years or so…we have Airbnb. For those who have booked with Airbnb previously, bear with us while we explain the magic to those who haven’t yet experienced it.
The Airbnb platform is part of the “sharing economy” in which people literally share things like their cars, bikes, and even homes. Sometimes, everyone shares and pays for the thing together, as in the case of Zipcar. Other times, one person owns the thing and shares it with others when they aren’t using it, which is what Airbnb is all about. Airbnb hosts all over the world have opened up their abodes to travelers who are looking for a more unique experience. The accommodation options range from the super luxe (even actual castles) to the eco-friendly to your own private island to literal tents (in very cool spots). What we’re saying is, there’s something for everyone on Airbnb. Not only does it offer varying options, but it also allows you to do things like make breakfast to eat in bed or on your private terrace.
Before you book your excursion, though, you might be wondering whether travel insurance covers your vacation if you end up booking an Airbnb. You might also be wondering if travel insurance for Airbnb is even available. We’re happy to report that the answer is yes, but there are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to buying a separate travel insurance policy for your Airbnb. Keep scrolling to find out!
As much as we’d like to avoid them, cancellations are sometimes just necessary. So, does Airbnb have cancellation insurance? With Airbnb, the “hosts”, or the people who are offering their accommodations for rental, get to select from one of three cancellation terms. It’s not really a travel insurance policy per se. Airbnb lets them select from a stricter plan that only offers a partial refund for guests upon cancellation to a looser option that will enable travelers to cancel anytime for a full refund. We’ve broken down the terms of each Airbnb cancellation policy below.
Flexible: Free cancellation until the day before your check-in or subject to a cancellation penalty of the first night and service fee.
Moderate: Free cancellation until 5 days before your check-in or subject to a cancellation penalty of 50%, minus the first night and service fee.
Strict: Free cancellation within 48 hours of booking and must cancel at least two weeks before your check-in or subject to a cancellation penalty of 50% and the cleaning fee.
So even if you book an Airbnb with a flexible cancellation policy and have to cancel your trip last minute, you’ll have to pay for the first night’s rate and the service fee. Not exactly ideal when your nightly rate was on the pricier side, right? So does travel insurance cover Airbnb? Well, most comprehensive travel insurance policies include Trip Cancellation coverage, which allows you to cancel your trip for a covered reason and get reimbursed for your trip costs (i.e. your Airbnb expenses).
For example, if you break your leg or contract COVID-19 in the days leading up to your trip and need to reschedule, your travel insurance will cover whatever money you had insured that is not given back by your Airbnb host. If something happens during your trip, causing you to cut it short, Trip Interruption coverage could apply as well. Whether your Airbnb host includes a flexible cancellation or strict cancellation term, you never know what could hinder you from enjoying your trip, so insure those costs under travel insurance.
Given the current circumstance of COVID-19, you may not be sure whether your travel will go as planned due to the spread of COVID-19 at your home or destination. Purchasing a separate, flexible cancellation policy called Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) for your Airbnb booking may provide the peace of mind you’re looking for. This type of policy allows you to cancel your trip for any excuse at all and receive 75% of your trip cost back. It’s the best trip cancellation coverage in the United States travel insurance industry at the moment. You must meet certain eligibility requirements including purchasing the plan 14-21 days after your first trip deposit and you must also insure all of your non-refundable expenses under the policy to be eligible to purchase Cancel for Any Reason benefits.
It’s important to note, travel insurance companies are still treating COVID-19 like any other illness as a covered event under normal trip cancellation coverage, which protects 100% of your insured trip expenses. If you contract COVID-19 during your vacation, benefits like Medical Expense, Travel Delay, or Trip Interruption could also apply. Review our complete list of provider position statements regarding coverage and the coronavirus.
Does Airbnb cover theft? There really isn’t much clarity on this if you are a traveler to the Airbnb. To be safe, we’d recommend purchasing a travel insurance plan or some other type of personal coverage if you’re worried people you’re staying with might be eyeing your belongings. When it comes to personal items, your travel insurance policy’s Baggage Loss and Delay benefits will cover you in the same exact way that it would if you were in a hotel. This is usually in the form of a reimbursement for the lost or stolen items. Coverage would apply as long as you are taking the appropriate precautions –locking your door while you are away, for example.
One important note is that if you choose to rent a room within a larger house rather than an entire apartment or house itself, you will want to keep your personal belongings locked in your room, and not in the common spaces. The same goes if you’ve booked a traditional bed and breakfast. If you leave your belongings closed and locked in the room you’re renting and something is stolen, this should be covered by the travel insurance you bought for your Airbnb stay. If you leave it in a common space and something goes missing, you may not be paid out by your travel insurance for the lost item.
No matter where you’re spending the night, sometimes things go awry. You sit down in a chair, for example, and one of the legs breaks. If you get physically injured or become suddenly ill while staying in an Airbnb, your travel insurance policy will likely cover the medical expenses incurred during your vacation. One important note, however, is that any further consequences of the injury may not fall under your travel insurance coverage. So if you aren’t able to go back to work right away and lose earnings as a result, for example, that would not be paid back by travel insurance.
You know the example we just talked about in which you sit down on a chair and the leg breaks? If that same leg broke because you decide to use it for firewood, you’re in a different boat. Travel insurance for your Airbnb stay is not personal liability insurance and would not provide reimbursement for the Airbnb property damage.
We wish this one were covered because it’s a bad feeling to arrive at the place where you’ll be staying to find that it looks nothing like the photos. Unfortunately, this is an issue you’d have to bring to Airbnb and a refund would not be covered by your travel insurance. That said, from what we know, Airbnb is pretty on top of it when it comes to customer service, so take pictures and get in touch with them as soon as possible.
Despite travel restrictions being lifted and businesses opening back up, some people are simply not ready to travel again due to the health risks. Unfortunately, a standard travel insurance plan won’t cover if you cancel your trip due to fear of travel or fear of contracting a virus like COVID-19. As much as we wish there was, there is no such thing as Airbnb COVID-19 insurance or coronavirus travel insurance that will cover pandemics.
However, as we stated earlier, this is another point to check out Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage, in case you still don’t feel safe to travel by the time your departure nears. It’s the most flexible type of cancellation insurance in the travel insurance world at the moment. For example, if you’ve booked a vacation rental with a “moderate” cancellation policy and decide you don’t feel safe enough with the number of COVID-19 cases in the area of your rental, you can cancel your booking and file a claim for reimbursement of the additional amount you don’t get back from the host.
If you’re looking to buy travel insurance for your Airbnb getaway, we have you covered. You can get a free instant quote to help you get started. Our team of friendly humans would be happy to help you purchase travel insurance and answer your questions, making sure you have the right coverage in hand for your trip.