Airbnb Host Insurance - What Do You Need?

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Airbnb Insurance UK

Offering out your property on Airbnb can be a lucrative option for anybody looking to earn a little extra money while they’re away from home. It’s not designed to be an alternative to long-term letting, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be highly valuable for anyone taking a holiday for a few weeks or for landlords looking to bridge the gaps between long term tenants.

The average Airbnb host earned just over £3,000 in 2018—good money considering the average stay is around 3 nights each.

But regular home insurance doesn't cover Airbnb properties, so you'll need special holiday let property insurance. But it shouldn't cost much more than regular home insurance. And while Airbnb does provide some insurance to help with certain risks for hosts and guests alike, it's important to understand what this covers. Here’s what you need to know about the insurance that is offered by Airbnb.

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Does Airbnb provide hosts with insurance?

Airbnb does offer hosts some insurances/guarantees, yes, however there are a number of exclusions and limitations that mean many hosts end up taking out their own separate policy. Airbnb’s two coverages, referred to as Host Guarantee and Host Protection, are designed to help protect hosts from financial loss as a result of guest occupation—we cover them in more detail down below.

Airbnb’s customer support is also notoriously poor. Many hosts online complain that sorting issues out (both with insurance/guarantee related issues and more generally) with Airbnb is exceptionally difficult, and that Airbnb are notoriously difficult to deal with when it comes to being correctly compensated (or even compensated at all). As a result, some hosts prefer to cover themselves with a legitimate insurer with a reputation for providing a higher quality of customer service.

It isn’t mentioned often online, but you should also consider that some mortgage providers don’t permit borrowers to let out their property. Check the terms of your mortgage agreement before signing up to websites like Airbnb.

When it comes to the word ‘insurance’ there can be some confusion also—the Host Guarantee isn’t technically a form of insurance, more so a promise of sorts from Airbnb to hosts that they’ll support financially if a guest causes damage to property. This means Airbnb sets its own terms and conditions, and isn’t answerable to an underwriter or any form of independent adjudication, as they reserve the right to compensate hosts as they see fit.

What does Airbnb insurance cover?

Airbnb provides hosts on the platform with two primary forms of coverage

  • Airbnb Host Guarantee
  • Airbnb Host Protection

Both are limited to payouts of up to $1M, so if you’re looking for more (or offering out a higher-end property) then you’ll definitely want to consider taking out a separate policy with a higher payout limit.

Airbnb Host Guarantee

Airbnb’s Host Guarantee is designed to cover damage to your property. This includes both any damage to the building itself (walls, doors, etc.) as well as damage to the contents/your belongings (TV, bed, etc.).

Importantly, Airbnb makes it clear this is not a form of insurance, but a ‘guarantee’ that Airbnb will help cover damages as long as the issue doesn’t fall outside of the criteria Airbnb set out in the Host Guarantee. As a result of this, Airbnb reserves the right to independently investigate any claims you make, and to deny payment if they feel you’ve failed to meet the obligations set out in their T&C’s and standards.

There are a lot of things that would fall outside of Airbnb’s Host Guarantee—you should definitely read the full document yourself if you’re considering signing up, but we’ve summed up the most notable exclusions and absences.

  • Coverage only applies if damages occurred while hosting a paying Airbnb guest
  • Damage to communal areas (say, the hallways of an apartment block)
  • Any damages caused by guests not named on the booking
  • Specific items are also excluded, such as artwork or antiquities
  • Damage caused by faulty appliances (perhaps your guest has a faulty phone charger)

That is to say, that while the Host Guarantee is exceptionally useful in helping to protect your property while you’re with Airbnb, you’ll absolutely want to consider additional coverages. Also, as you can read below, it isn’t the smoothest process in the world to make a claim.

Airbnb Host Protection

Airbnb Host Protection, unlike Host Guarantee, is a form of insurance. It’s designed to help cover your legal responsibility as a host to your guests (and other affected third parties) and will protect you in the event that their property is damaged or they sustain an injury while staying with you. Keep in mind that it won’t cover your home or the property inside it (that’s what the Host Guarantee is for) in the event of an incident.

Host Protection should leave you fairly well covered if something happens that results in third party injury or property damage, but there are a few exclusions. It won’t cover any damages caused intentionally by guests, and Airbnb also won’t cover any lost income that comes around as a result of any damages to your property that means it cannot be occupied.

Do I need insurance to host with Airbnb?

Legally, you might not need any additional insurance to host with Airbnb. However, keep in mind that your standard home insurance is very unlikely to cover you for any damages or theft if you have paying guests. While the Host Guarantee mentioned above should take care of certain risks like damage by guests, hosts online do complain the process can be difficult (and from comments online, can often refuse to pay out cases that other insurers would cover).

One thing you won’t need to worry about is rent guarantee insurance, as Airbnb handles rental payments for you and covers this.

While many hosts do choose to run their Airbnb property without additional insurance, that's a risk—if something does go wrong, it can be expensive (and you’ll be losing income while any repairs are completed). Proper insurance can help you avoid taking too much of a hit as a result of any issue that might arise.

Every host will likely want a slightly different Airbnb host insurance policy, but here are some of the coverages you’re most likely to want to consider:

Does Airbnb provide insurance for guests?

As of writing, Airbnb does not provide any coverage for their guests beyond the refund you receive if you need to cancel. If a host cancels your booking, you’ll naturally receive a full refund, but you’re not entitled to any additional compensation beyond the refund of your booking. This can be frustrating for guests, especially if a host cancels close to the date of the booking, potentially leaving you without somewhere to stay.

If you’re looking for better coverage as an Airbnb guest past a basic refund, you’ll want to consider travel insurance. It can offer coverage for cancellations or interruptions (with a valid reason, of course). Some policies can also include ‘Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR)’ coverage, which as the name suggests covers you to cancel your booking for any reason.

If you’re a guest and you need to cancel a booking you’re unlikely to receive a full refund, even in the presence of extenuating circumstances such as an illness. The end value of your refund will depend on a few circumstances, such as:

  • Cancellation date vs booking date: you’re likely to receive a higher refund if you cancel well in advance, allowing the host to arrange for another guest to use the property
  • Cancellation cut-off: Some properties (especially in high demand areas) may have a final date after which you’re not eligible for any refund

If there is a genuine reason you can’t travel, or there’s an issue with the property when you arrive or while you’re staying, you may be eligible to a partial/full refund. You can check out the Airbnb Guest Refund guide if you want more information, but here are a few of the circumstances that would allow for a full refund:

  • You’re unable to travel due to a serious illness
  • You can’t access the property, or the host hasn’t made an effort to ensure you can collect the keys
  • The property isn’t clean/safe when you arrive (vermin, insects, uncleaned sheets, plates, etc.)
  • Key amenities are missing/broken (no access to water, electricity, etc.)
  • Property isn’t as listed (different number of bedrooms, no disabled access, etc.)

You’ll need to submit a claim within 24 hours of noticing the issue (usually upon arrival) with photos, videos and additional information for Airbnb so they can start their investigation. Keep in mind your refund might not be immediate while they carry this out.

How much is Airbnb Host Protection Insurance?

Airbnb’s Host Protection insurance is provided to all hosts free of charge, and you’re automatically signed up when you list your property on Airbnb. For what it offers, getting Host Protection for free is a pretty great deal, and legally Airbnb are under no obligation to offer it, so it’s a fairly generous way for them to support their hosts if you’re at fault for somebody being injured or having their property damaged while staying with you.

It’ll cover you for up to $1M USD in damages, which is hopefully more than you’re ever likely to need. If you do require more, you’ll need to find a separate insurer willing to cover Airbnb properties. Our partners at QuoteZone can help you to organise a more extensive coverage, just fill out a quote form and they’ll connect you with some of the UK’s leading landlord insurance businesses.

How much is Airbnb’s Host Guarantee?

Airbnb’s Host Guarantee costs nothing to hosts, aiming to cover the costs of any damage caused to your property or belongings by a guest. It isn’t clear how Airbnb covers these costs, whether they're recouped from guests or covered by Airbnb themselves, but assuming Airbnb are willing to pay out to cover your damages (they're often not, from the sounds of things) you should be covered.

While the Host Guarantee can be very useful to hosts, many online complain about an arduous claims process and find Airbnb difficult to deal with when it comes to recuperating any losses. Here’s what some hosts said online:

“I have had a couple of experiences that have made me realize that this Host Guarantee is just a false sense of security. Airbnb will never pay and their Staff is trained to deny your Claim one way or the other.”

“The “1 million dollar host guarantee” is virtually impossible to actually claim. Don't fall for this marketing ploy!”

“Just a warning. The host guarantee is very hard to get your damages covered”

Your first port of call in any incident should be to contact Airbnb as soon as reasonably possible, with receipts and photos/videos of any damages—if you wait 14 days then hosts usually find Airbnb aren’t interested any more (and their website does specify you need to claim within 14 days, so perhaps that’s unsurprising).

All in all, while the Host Guarantee is a useful tool, you shouldn’t rely on it entirely to protect your property. If you have any questions about the alternative coverages that are available to you, I’d thoroughly recommend our guide to Landlord’s insurance.

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Airbnb’s Host Protection provides you with a form of liability insurance which should mean that you don’t require any additional public liability. Keep in mind that Airbnb’s policy has a limit of $1M USD, so if you’re renting out an expensive property you might want to consider a form of landlord’s insurance.

Our partners at QuoteZone can help with this, just fill out a quote form and they’ll connect you with some of the UK’s leading Airbnb insurers.

Absolutely, some insurers will be happy to include cover for Airbnb renting in your policy, however do keep in mind that this is rarely the standard and your regular home insurance is extremely unlikely to include cover for renting through Airbnb, so you’ll need to ask specifically.

Our guide to Landlord’s insurance goes into more detail about what you’ll need to protect you and your property while renting.

It’s unlikely that your homeowners insurance will cover you for damages caused while renting out with Airbnb. The market is changing, however, and there are more and more providers offering coverage for Airbnb (you can use QuoteZone to aggregate Airbnb insurance providers—just select ‘Airbnb’ under “What type of tenants live at the property?”).

Insurances provided by Airbnb would only cover fire damage if it could be proven the fire was caused by a guest. If the fire wasn’t the guest’s fault (or occurred when the property was unoccupied) then you wouldn’t be covered.

The solution to this is to take out your own home/landlord’s policy (depending on whether you’re renting your property out as a one-off or more regularly) and to inform your insurer that you’ll be making your home available on Airbnb. Some providers might not be able to offer you a policy, but others will be happy to.

QuoteZone partners with a number of the UK’s leading insurance businesses for Airbnb, so check them out if you’d like to learn more.

A simple Google search for ‘Airbnb insurance’ should produce the results you’re looking for, but otherwise you can try an aggregator like QuoteZone.

Luke Masters

Prior to NimbleFins, Luke studied economics at Brunel University and worked at FreshMinds, Investigo and BMW. His work in data analytics, pricing, strategy and business development helped him write business insurance content to support SMEs at NimbleFins. He now works at DataPOWA, a sports & entertainment data analytics company. Read more on LinkedIn.


The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.