Airbnb Hosts: Extenuating Circumstances: Fair Or Not? Why? And Alternatives?

Hi Airbnb Hosts

Do you believe the Airbnb extenuating circumstances policy is fair or the only solution to extenuating circumstances?

Some of my concerns with Airbnb’s Extenuating Circumstances:

  1. How easy it is to get “proof”** for extenuating circumstances? Where I live many some doctors would give you a letter not recommending travel in the blink of an eye or wad of notes.
  2. What stops guests from doubling their money? They have travel insurance and Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances policy. They claim from travel insurance and get their money back from Airbnb? Easy way to double your bucks quickly.
  3. Read the web I get the idea Airbnb does not apply the policy consistently; depending on who you get decides and you sit with an empty home.

Is travel insurance the only alternative to Extenuating Circumstances policy?

What would you propose to Airbnb?

That they set up their own insurance for a couple of dollars per booking. I would pay it, even thought I have travel insurance on the card I book with. I like to have a back up plan!


Airbnb are not going to change this @Johan_Horak. If this is a deal breaker for you then you need to look at other listing platforms that don’t have this feature and/or take direct bookings.

All systems like this are sadly open to abuse.

Doctors in the UK can be struck off for deliberately falsifying a sick note. Whereabouts are you based that doctors provide a sick note for cash?

This is a concern. A serious concern. Deal breaker? There are no others who do a better job than Airbnb. Any business has risks. And I accept these. But groups like these can work on solutions and suggest these to Airbnb. My experience with them show they are willing to listen.

BTW: We are an agency. We paid the owner of the home for the stay after our commission and owner are not willing to repay the money. Going legal is a mess. I prefer to find another future solution to limit the issue.

That’s why I started this discussion to brain storm with you other ideas/solutions.

It’s a shame you lost money, but it is your own fault for paying a property owner, before you got paid for the rental. To me it seems like a pretty silly thing to do.

From your perspective, the simple solution is don’t pay out, until you get paid. Problem gone.



Yes. Simple solution. But that’s not enough. Wait till you get such a booking over your peak season.

We will pay owners one day after arrival. But it does not solve the problem whole problem. It solves a lot. But we have an obligation to the owner we prefer to fulfill.

Most guests book two months in advance. If you get a last-minute cancellation you cannot get a booking again.

When you get such a late minute booking you will be out of pocket.

So. I started this discussion to brainstorm with you other ideas/solutions to limit the impact for hosts and even guests.

For example: If Airbnb had extenuating circumstance insurance options it can protect guests and hosts. And no one will blink an eye.

Never had anyone cancel under extenuating circumstances in five years of hosting. @Johan_Horak so for me it is not an issue.

The problem you have is that for some reason you choose to give owners more money then they are entitled to under Airbnb’s T&C when a guest cancels under EC.

The answer for you is simple. Don’t.

Airbnb is not going to change this policy


Yes. Come back here when you get a one. And let’s see what you have to say then.

Me paying the owner is not the issue. I am not asking for solutions for that. :joy::joy::slightly_smiling_face:

@Johan_Horak - I think we all have the same concerns you have about the policy. My solution is that I don’t offer our peak weeks (Christmas and New Years) over AirBnB. I offer them only on Vrbo/Homeaway which does not refund for EC events.

AirBnB isn’t going to change their policy. They want the hosts to be the insurance policy for the guests. It’s the cheapest way. AirBnB could stop that, but then they would get a lot of bad publicity.

AirBnB could charge insurance, but a number of people would NOT buy it, and then still give AirBnB bad publicity when they needed it but didn’t buy it.

Bottom line - the policy that is there will stay.

So - you are left with ways to solve this on your own. If your arrangement is that you pay the owner no matter what and are left with the risk on the EC policy, then I suggest you change that arrangement. If it isn’t possible, then perhaps you could raise your fees to the owners and create your own insurance “savings account”. Hopefully, you’d make enough extra to cover any payouts for EC cancellations.


I wonder if we could have a “Shoot the Messenger” badge here on airhostforum. It seems like that one would be awarded regularly.



You’ve had plenty of good answers to your other questions, so I will just address this:

Insurance companies are very, very good at detecting fraud. Any insurance company worth its salt will check with Airbnb to see if a guest was refunded before they pay out on an insurance policy. Anyone caught double-dipping would be in big trouble. This kind of thing goes on your “permanent record” and affects your ability to get insurance in the future.


Thanks. That is going in the right direction. And I like your idea of taking longer peak bookings away from Airbnb.

Most have offered the not paying owners before guests arrive. Again that we corrected and was not my intention with this post.

Airbnb will not change…

Most would agree with you. But we have been in contact with senior Airbnb guys where they invited us, as a relatively large agency, to discuss issues. I am confident they will consider solutions.

But from the responses above no one volunteered a potential solution/alternative Airbnb can look at.

Yes :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Not true. AirBnB offering to sell trip cancellation insurance was offered as an alternative. It’s just not likely they will. For one thing, they’d have to be licensed as an insurance company in multiple countries. It also would cost the guest more - another thing AirBnB wants to avoid.

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I’m not confident they will. I’ve been on the Vrbo/Homeaway Advisory Board for a few years. They didn’t listen to anything we suggested. It was a way for them to tell the world they listened because they had an Advisory board.


Yes. Txs. Well Airbnb can offer a discount to guest who book as an option but then they cannot use EC. These guest may then buy travel insurance.

Or they can give me an option to try and cover my risk if a guest books and cancel.

Yes. True. But we can try. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Fair? No. I don’t think the entire capitalist system is “fair,” but that’s a different post.

It’s the only one that exists on Airbnb bookings. I think we would all support a change in the policy but there is really no reason for Airbnb to change it. Perhaps if hosts left Airbnb in droves over it then Airbnb would repsond. But hosts won’t because

So if Airbnb is not going to change the policy that leaves you to change. You can suggest Airbnb guest get travel insurance and make it clear you won’t be approving any cancellations, in other words, bluff. Some people might not know the Airbnb policy and actually buy travel insurance. You can follow the excellent advice offered here already.

You can self insure by raising your listing prices across all your managed properties by a small amount and then writing losses off your taxes to minimize the hit.

You have to realize that not all Airbnb hosts are in the same boat. I’ve hosted over 700 guests/5.5 years and have yet to have a single EC cancel. Helsi is a similar host. My guess is that you manage stand alone entire homes or condos in a tourist or fly in destination. People book a week or two with you over a holiday period and then cancel letting you be their travel insurance. There are tens of thousands of hosts who either don’t have the problem at all or manage it in the ways suggested above. So the pool of hosts you can rally to your cause is smaller than you think.


And it’s likely WAY smaller than the pool of hosts who think large multi-listing agencies shouldn’t be allowed on the platform.


Airbnb isn’t going to remove them either. LOL.

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