Whilst the Airbnb Host Guarantee may have its limitations, you are not limited in the ways you are still able to add additional independent protections for your property yourself. There are a number of options you have for doing so. These include:

Common Sense

It may seem obvious, but the easiest way to prevent property damage is to use your common sense and remove valuable possessions that are likely to get damaged from your place.

Whilst you don’t want to sterilize your place in a way that rids it of personality or prestige, small steps can go a long way in minimizing the risk of needing to rely on things like the Host Guarantee or security deposits.

A few simple things you may want to consider doing include:

  • Removing or locking-up any valuables from your home and the places that guests have access to
  • Replacing expensive or valuable items with cheaper alternatives of lesser concern if damaged or broken (e.g. silverware, dinnerware sets and furniture)
  • Being selective when screening guests to identify “high-risk” booking requests more likely to cause damage (e.g. bachelor party groups)

Security Deposits

Whilst the Airbnb Host Guarantee is designed to protect against rare instances of damage, a security deposit can be useful for smaller, simpler accidents that occur during a reservation – like a broken glass. Security deposits are often the quickest and easiest way of avoiding the headache of filing claims with your insurer or trying to meet the strict procedural requirements of the Airbnb Host Guarantee.

If a host wants to make a claim on the security deposit, they must do so within 14 days of the check-out date. If a claim is made, Airbnb will mediate and collect payment from the guest, as necessary. Security deposit amounts must be between $100 and $5,000 USD.

Before adding a security deposit, be conscious that adding too large a security deposit (or one at all) may be a potential disincentive for some guests considering which place they want to book. Whilst security deposits are fairly common features of Airbnb listings these days, make sure that it isn’t the reason a prospective guest decides not to book your place.

When deciding how much to charge, hosts are advised to research comparable listings in their local area and see how much other hosts are charging for their security deposits. This will give you a feel for how much you may wish to charge for your security deposit and the extent to which security deposits are being used generally.

Your security deposit will only apply to reservations made after you’ve added it to your listing – it won’t retroactively apply to existing reservations. Security deposits also can’t be handled off-site in cash. Off-site payments are a violation of Airbnb’s Terms of Service.

To add or edit a security deposit:

  1. Go to Your listings on airbnb.com and select your listing
  2. Click Manage listing
  3. Click Pricing at the top of the page
  4. Next to Extra charges, click Edit
  5. Under Security deposit, enter an amount between $100 and $5,000 USD
  6. Click Save

Taking Out Additional Insurance Policies

For true peace of mind, prudent Airbnb hosts should take out additional insurance policies.

Typically, these include individual home and contents insurance policies, rental insurance policies and landlord insurance policies. Some of the more comprehensive policies combine these into a single, standalone policy.

Many insurance policies have exclusion or limitation clauses that restrict protections or limit your ability to make claims. Because of the unique (and still largely ambiguous) legal status of short-term rental properties and rental arrangements like Airbnb, many “standard” protections are frequently not covered under traditional policies. Hosts often discover this only after the fact when seeking to make a claim.

These policies provide a range of safeguards that often include protections for and against:

  • Your liability to a guest or other person
  • Damage to property
  • Loss of rental income
  • Temporary accommodation
  • Identity theft
  • Valuable items
  • Losses exceeding $1 million
  • Damages from indirect causes
  • Damages from delays

Ensure that any additional insurance policies you take out do not include a business activity exclusion clause. Furthermore, ensure that your Airbnb activity does not legally constitute business activity if this will void any of the protections. Similarly, existing landlord insurance policies may not cover your Airbnb rental for the same reasons. Ensure you check that this is not the case for your policy.

Some new policies designed specifically for short-term rentals such as Airbnb allow you to get single, short-term policies that provide coverage for only the nights that you have confirmed reservations. This flexibility is useful for hosts that tend to primarily take only sporadic or ad-hoc reservations.

For hosts that more frequently or consistently book out their space on Airbnb, many of these insurance companies also offer longer-term cover in the form of 6 or 12 month policies (and often with a discount).

For maximum protection, find a policy that protects against liability, building and contents, as well as lost business income.

Adding Safety and Security Equipment

Safety Equipment

You may wish to install safety equipment within your home.

This includes things like smoke detectorscarbon monoxide detectorsfirst aid kitsfire extinguishers and locks on bedroom doors.

Beyond the heightened level of safety and security you gain, one additional benefit is enabling you to then list any of those items as “Home Safety” amenities on your Airbnb listing for guests to see. Some guests search for properties that specifically have these safety amenities. This means that listings that don’t have them won’t show up in search results for those guests.

Adding safety equipment therefore provides a simple, yet useful way of differentiating yourself from other listings on Airbnb.

Security Equipment

In addition to protecting your home and guests from accidents and emergencies, you may also wish to install security equipment to prevent and inform you of malicious guest activity.

There are a range of “smart home” monitoring services that will centrally monitor your home as well as alert you with instant notifications via text or email in the event that a potential safety or security issue requires your attention.

You’re able to install sensors that can monitor windows, doors and items of importance. These sensors will notify you about potential security concerns or malicious activity. For example, you may wish to be notified if a door is opened excessively over a short period of time or find out if your valuable items are being touched or compromised.

Here are examples of some security equipment you may wish to install at your place:

  • When Nest Cam detects activity, it can send a phone alert or email with a photo of the event
  • Built-in speaker and microphone allows you to talk and listen through the app
  • Ability to get a special alert if a person seen and then saves 10 or 30 days of continuous video history in the cloud
  • When Nest Cam detects activity, it can send a phone alert or email with a photo of the event
  • Weatherproof camera, cable and adapter, so you can leave it out in the rain
  • Built-in speaker and microphone allows you to talk and listen through the app
  • Triggered when a window or door opens or closes
  • Receive custom alerts, or enable custom responses based on activity
  • Great for monitoring sensitive areas such as safes and liquor cabinets

Legality, Notification and Consent

It’s important to remember that good hosts respect their guests’ privacy.

You must notify your guests about any security cameras or other surveillance devices that you’ve installed in or around your home and get consent where required.

The use of surveillance equipment may also be against the law in some places, so make sure you understand any applicable laws first.

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OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS SECTION:

Staying Safe
Property Damage and the $1M Airbnb Host Guarantee
Protecting Against Personal Liability
Screening Guests