Guest cancellations due to medical reasons

I’ve been an Airbnb host for over 5 years, managing four higher end apartments in Seattle. I’ve decided at the end of October to shut down my Airbnb account and only host on other sites for a couple reasons.

  1. Their insurance protection is a scam: We’ve hosted hundreds of reservations and only had to make one claim when a 3 months Airbnb guest trashed our place. We sent photos, receipts and a spread sheet of all the expenses. The damage was over $3,000. Airbnb covered a few hundred dollars after almost a year sending them the information. I even sent a fedex letter to Brian Chesky, the CEO, and never heard back. I asked more than ten times why my claim was not being processed only to be told the decision was final. No explanation. After reading other forums, I realized this is standard. Many hosts had worse stories than mine. This was a few years ago and I kept hosting on Airbnb because there weren’t many other options.

  2. The final straw for me is Airbnb’s policy that guests can cancel for a full refund at any time even on the day of arrival for a medical reason. Airbnb isn’t covering the lost revenue to the host. This is ludicrous. Hotels and airlines don’t do this. A guest has the choice to obtain travel insurance and such insurance is often covered with a credit card but the host ends up paying for a guest who does not choose to do so. Basically, all of our revenue is at risk.

So, I’m done with Airbnb. I seem to be able to fill my places on VRBO and other sites. I do hope they will adopt reasonable policies that are not completely in-host friendly.


Did you believe that Brian Chesky would respond?

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It’s too bad you didn’t join this forum a few years ago instead of today. You would’ve learned a lot more through other’s experiences instead of learning through your own the hard way.

Yes, the Host Guarantee is a joke. It’s unfortunate that they market it like insurance, but if you read the details, it’s not really insurance and experienced hosts will have dedicated short-term rental insurance. Any host that owns an STR property is taking a huge risk to not have it properly insured. Do you own the properties that you manage? If not, does the owner understand the risk?

Airbnb requires documentation for extenuating circumstances. I’m sure guests occasionally fake it and get away with it. I find it difficult to believe that you have had so many guests cancel at the last minute for medical reasons.

Can you explain why you joined an Airbnb hosts forum just to say you stopped hosting on Airbnb? I think if you can fill all of your dates with VRBO and other sites, do it. If it’s less hassle and/or more profit for you, then all the better. I can’t imagine any hosts here that would say differently.
I would only caution you to make sure that your listings are properly insured, because if you were depending on the host guarantee, then it’s hard to imagine that they are.


This is what cancelation insurance is for. I can cancel my trip up to 3 hours beforehand for any reason. The insurance pays everything, not the company. It’s not expensive.

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Though Airbnb honoring their own policies seems to be somewhat random, I had a cancellation yesterday for a check in today where the guest claimed a sister’s cancer diagnosis as the reason for cancellation. The reservation page says I’m still going to get my full payout, but I did get a message from customer service asking me to refund.

This is not new and is clearly described in the cancellation policy explanation. It is part of the Airbnb terms of service.

I can’t tell from your post if the 4 listings you have are owned by you or if you are providing a service for others.

This forum’s discussions tend to be Airbnb focused but because so many have listings on multiple sites, booking, vrbo, and more are discussed here.

BTW I got the impression you think this forum is affiliated with Airbnb. It is not. It is an independent discussion forum.

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I had to cancel due to extenuating circumstances (and a downright unbearable guest). I had to cancel first and be at the mercy of Air’s decision. Justification included my MD’s notes and a copy of the prescription bottle. Pretty thorough.

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I would guess @Fremont is a property manager. Our new regulations have been pushed back once again in Seattle (to Dec 15) but once they’re in place, property owners can only list two properties, and must live on site of one of them. Then again, this might be the real reason that OP plans to stop hosting soon.


Yes to this - it’s not like bdc or vrbo are going to cover your losses, either.

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That’s interesting, Chloe. I just had a guest claiming her father had a heart attack, so she wanted to cancel her check in the next day. I advised her to call Air to cancel, then I got a message stated that she was given a full refund “according to (my) cancelation policy.” My cancellation policy is strict.

After calling they said they were overriding my cancelation policy due to her extenuating circumstances, though that isn’t supposed to cover for family members. I asked and asked how she documented her father’s illness, and they never answered, but did end up offering almost the whole payout to me, so I accepted that.

It does seem totally random, how they deal with these cases. And contrary to their own policies.

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You really truly just joined this forum to post that? And you really and truly expect Airbnb (which it seems, is the only advertising service you use) to run your business for you by providing you with insurance? And you really think that Airbnb should provide you with ‘lost revenue’ if a guest has to cancel for medical reasons? I’m amazed.

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I’m amazed that after professionally managing 4 apartments in 5 years in a place like Seattle that they’ve only had two incidents out of what must be 1000s of stays.


@Fremont did mention that one of the problems was with “a 3 months Airbnb guest”. I assume that means it was a 3-month stay, so maybe the listings are set up for stays longer than the average STR.

And also said that was when there weren’t many options. But there have always been lots of options for “3 month” stays. It’s just a strange post. I understand people get upset when they get burned by an airbnb stay but the idea that they are going to stop listing on Airbnb and things will be magically better is a joke.