HomeAway quietly introduces $1 million liability insurance

Vacation rental giant HomeAway has started rolling out an insurance programme – the first time it has taken responsibility for the connections it makes between guests and homeowners.

The $1 Million Liability Insurance service provides protection to homeowners in the event of accidents in the property and damage to a home – all wrapped up in a $1 million per year per property in coverage.

The scheme also covers claims against a property owner by a guest for accidents or if a neighbour claims against damage to their property.

“If you already have a liability policy for your vacation rental, then consider this to be coverage additional to what you have.

“It will respond at the same time as your current policy and both policies will contribute if a claim is made against you.”

A HomeAway official adds that the programme is part of “several other services and product enhancements to provide even more benefit to owners and property managers”.

Only owners that process guest stays through the HomeAway checkout online will be protected.

To some industry watchers this introduction could be seen as a big deal in the evolution of the sector – not least with HomeAway’s owner Expedia now shifting rental product via its own website.

One source says:

“Adding the right amount of trust between the homeowner and guest is the last step before the HomeAway inventory is available for an instant reservation throughout the Expedia distribution ecosystem. Insurance is one way of infusing this trust.”

Those with long memories will recall in 2012 when rival brand Airbnb launched its own $1 million damage-protection guarantee to homeowners.

Nothing unusual in that, especially at the time as Airbnb was hitting the mainstream in a major way and was attempting to reassure a quizzical industry as well as potential hosts that it wanted to have their confidence.

A few weeks after its launch, co-founder and then-chief strategy and development officer, Carl Shepherd, praised Airbnb for drawing attention to the insurance issues but dismissed the initiative as “great marketing”.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Sally Ladd

    This insurance DOES NOT cover damage to the rental property, only personal liability for injury to renters and damage to neighboring properties: “If a traveler accidentally damages the property of a third party (such as a neighbor) while staying in your rental property that third party may sue you for that damage, this program may provide coverage for these types of claims.” They specifically state that damage to your property is NOT covered. Pretty useless since most of us already adequate carry liability coverage…

    • Jack White

      If you are simply a home owner renting on Homeaway occasionally this policy is a good addition to your existing home owner’s policy which may not cover accidents and what could later be claimed by your homeowner’s insurance carrier as a”business activity” . Especially if it’s a large claim.
      Some one has a pool accident and your home owners insurance policy discovers you’ve rented your house out 90 days last year ,they could claim it’s a business activity and argue coverage responsibility. This is a must for any hosts who do not have a commercial landlords policy. Our separate “host” liability policy for a house that sleeps 14 people is under $1,000.00 a year. Many regular home owner policies have a deductible equal to the premium. Premiums were based, in part, on how many people the rental accommodates. Consider it a liability add on to your regular home owner’s policy .

      • Sally Ladd

        If you rent out your home at all you SHOULD have a commercial policy. Also, I wonder if Homeaway only offers this protection AFTER your policy is tapped out, and whether they also would require that your existing policy cover short-term rentals.

  2. Steve Sherlock

    This is interesting news and possible a hard pill to swallow for several insurtech startups that specialise in “by the day” property and liability insurance such as http://www.slice.is and http://www.safelystay.com

    But then again property managers and owners still get lots of reservation directly on their own websites (as opposed to through Homeway, Airbnb etc) and those reservations and guests still need a vacation rental specific policy.

    Be interested to hear their views those possible effected in one way or the other.

  3. NoneYa

    I have rented my home on homeaway for years. I used to like their service. Now not so much. They add in literally hundreds of dollars in empty service fees and they punish owners for not using their calendar. Actually had a support idiot call me the other day after they were reading my messages where I told them I had more than one home which is why I keep my calendar empty. That way people can approach me and I can get more $$ for my money. Stay out of my BUSINESS homeaway. You are an advertising medium; nothing else. And keep it up and I’m going elsewhere.


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