Airbnb and home insurance. Are you covered?

Short-term rental platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway, Kijiji and VRBO are all the rage with both hosts and travellers. But when it comes to home insurance, do you know what’s covered? While convenient and profitable, there are risks involved with lending out your home and belongings to strangers. Even though the vast majority of rentals go smoothly and without incident, life happens! Our simple advice can help you stay in control of the situation and protect you from worst-case scenarios.

Renting your home to others

The first thing to keep in mind is that renting your place out for money changes its purpose. Your home becomes a kind of small-scale hotel, so renting it out can be seen as a commercial activity. Even if you’re only renting your place out for a few days, it changes the rules when it comes to home insurance!

Airbnb states on their website  that they provide “liability coverage to hosts and, where applicable, their landlords, subject to certain conditions, limitations, and exclusions.” But short of going through these with a fine-tooth comb, the best thing to do is call your insurance company to explain your situation and get a clear picture of your coverage. With belairdirect, in Quebec, the coverage for homeowners who rent out their house for 30 days or less per year is now included in the home base policy. However, since this doesn’t apply everywhere, we can help you make changes to your policy based on your personal needs.

It’s also important to be aware of the consequences of different situations that may not initially come to mind. For example, if your house sustains fire or major water damage, you can be denied compensation if it was being rented for commercial purposes at the time. This is why it’s important to discuss your plans with your insurer before renting out your property.

Not all coverage is created equal

In addition to material damage, there’s also the matter of civil liability. Home insurance coverage often includes this type of insurance, but certain insurers suggest extra civil liability coverage for when you are renting out your home.

The moral of the story is that in order to avoid unpleasant surprises, be sure to call your insurance company to get all the details on your policy. They can help you make any necessary changes or updates to make sure you’re properly covered when renting out your place!


Sylvain Lachapelle

With over 30 years of experience with several major insurers, Sylvain Lachapelle is one of the best-documented professionals in the field. As the Senior Director, Operational Planning at belairdirect, he heads a team that analyzes and reviews business processes to make belairdirect more efficient and easier for our clients to transact with us.