Are you considering your home or investment property as a vacation rental through platforms like Airbnb or VRBO? In Illinois, it’s essential to understand the insurance requirements and potential liability risks involved. While hosting guests in your home can be a great way to earn extra income, ensuring you have the right insurance coverage to protect yourself and your property is crucial.
Before you get started
First and foremost, it’s important to note that most standard homeowner’s insurance policies typically do not cover short-term vacation rentals. If you’re renting out your home through Airbnb or VRBO and something goes wrong, you may not be covered by your regular homeowner’s insurance policy.
Second, if you are part of a homeowner’s or condo association, please check your association rules and by-laws, many prohibit the use of homes as short-term rentals, or may limit the use of common areas such as pools, gyms and rec areas to property owners only and not guests.
To ensure you’re adequately covered, you’ll need to purchase a specialized insurance policy for short-term vacation rentals. These policies typically cover property damage and liability and can help protect you in case of a lawsuit or other legal action.
According to a report by the Illinois Department of Insurance, Airbnb offers its own Host Protection Insurance program, which provides up to $1 million in liability coverage for hosts in the event of a guest’s injury or property damage. However, it’s important to note that this coverage may not apply to all situations and may not be sufficient to fully protect you in the event of a serious accident or lawsuit.
In addition to liability coverage, consider purchasing property damage coverage for your vacation rental property. This type of insurance can help cover the cost of repairs or replacement if a guest damages your home or personal property. According to the same report by the Illinois Department of Insurance, Airbnb also offers its own Host Property Protection program, which provides up to $1 million in property damage coverage.
Watch for Exclusions
While these insurance programs can provide some level of protection for vacation rental hosts, it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions of any insurance policy you’re considering. Some policies may have exclusions or limitations that could leave you vulnerable to liability or financial loss in certain situations. Many personal homeowner’s insurance policies have such exclusions. If an Airbnb guest accidentally burns down your residence, the insurance carrier can deny a claim if such exclusion on your policy exists.
In addition to purchasing insurance coverage, there are other steps you can take to minimize your liability risks as a vacation rental host. Beyond having the obvious safety features such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers in your home, consider adding in a central alarm system that will alert authorities at the first sign of danger – be it fire, smoke or even water. Every property owners should also have a detailed rental agreement outlines your expectations for guests, including rules about smoking, pets, and noise levels.
Finally, it’s important to remember that hosting guests in your home or investment property can carry some level of risk, no matter how well-prepared you are. To minimize your liability and protect your financial interests, it’s important to work with experienced professionals like attorneys, accountants, and insurance agents such as our habitational team at Power Risk Management who can help you navigate the complex legal and financial issues involved in vacation rental hosting.
In the end, if you’re considering using your home or investment property as a vacation rental through Airbnb or VRBO in Illinois, it’s crucial to understand the insurance requirements and potential liability risks involved. By purchasing specialized insurance coverage, taking steps to minimize liability risks, and working with experienced professionals, you can help protect yourself and your property while enjoying the benefits of hosting guests in your home.