How to sue AirBnB in small claims court

I would like to sue AirBnB in small claims court, primarily because they are not honoring the insurance and therefore the protection they advertise. I carry business insurance on our guest house, but on principle, AirBnB needs to be called out.

A group of French students turned the house into a party house and did $2100 worth damage (our first problem in two and a half years). AirBnB required we jump through hoops providing quotes for repairs, replacements, and many photographs, all of which we did. Then they paid us only 20% of the claim, stating that they thought “it was a fair solution” and no other explanation. The amount they paid us was exactly the amount we listed as our required deposit, which they collected from the guest. My impression is that either AirBnB does not actually carry the insurance they claim, or they avoid making a claim against the insurance to keep premium costs down and/or avoid deductible payments. Either way, the insurance AirBnB claims to offer is unreliable.

Does anyone know if AirBnB can be sued in smalls claims court?

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Good luck with that… If I remember right there’s a clause in the TOS that prohibits such action, but that’s for you to look up…

We’ve heard that.

No, you cannot. You can escalate it to arbitration but I can’t imagine it would be worth your trouble to do either over less that $2000.

This is the way to go.

Good luck with that.


Not a chance but you are welcome to spend a few days going through the T&Cs which include being able to change the T&Cs anytime they want.


They don’t call it insurance. It’s called Host Guarantee. I don’t think you’ll have a chance in court but good luck.


Nope. You agreed to binding arbitration in the TOS. No big court wins for you.


They say the best way to ultimately get attention for things like this is to go to the media about it.

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But it’s also in their terms that if you talk smack about them in the media they can de list you. I mean only do it if you don’t want to keep renting.


Just think of Airbnb as a listing service. Think about your listing as an ad in a newspaper. I’m sorry, but to me, people believing that the host guarantee is there to collect on for any damage is a bit like believing in the tooth fairy or Santa Claus.


Well they do offer it to help hosts. I’ve been able to claim with it. You just have to make sure claim is properly submitted.

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I think that several (or many even) hosts have. But I do think that relying on it - and trying to sue Airbnb when it doesn’t work - is a bit bonkers.


Well I assume if someone is suing they have already cut ties, but I would think going to the media would be easier than a fruitless lawsuit, once you have decided to be done with airbnb.

That was EXACTLY my impression after we had a guest do some damage too. And our damage was just $300! But they treated us exactly the same. We don’t take a deposit - and Air didn’t pay a single dime on our claim.

Oh and not to mention - they made us bring this within 24 hours of the guest’s departure, BEFORE the guest had written a review - so of course we got a terrible review for even bringing it up.

As has been mentioned there is no Insurance for Damage there is some Liability Insurance.

May depend on which jurisdiction you are in and as has been mentioned there is an Arbitration provision.

Media involvement seems to work.

Airbnb should make that a lot more clear in all their marketing where they tell hosts they don’t have to worry about a thing! Very misleading marketing, I have to say.

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Totally agree, very misleading.

I really wonder how often this guarantee gets used - to me with the number of hosts world wide this must be spread very very thin!

The Host Guarantee isn’t actually an insurance policy. It’s really just a “guarantee” that Airbnb will be there for you in case your property is damaged. Here’s a comprehensive guide that we wrote about the Host Guarantee program with all you need to know:


Agree, and I think they say, too none of it is actually INSURANCE. To their credit at least it is something. The other platforms have zilch.

Hello @ChrisR, is possible that you find the response in the chapter 19 of the updated terms of service, this is the begining, there is more to read about other situations.
19. Dispute Resolution and Arbitration Agreement
19.1 This Dispute Resolution and Arbitration Agreement shall apply if your (i) Country of Residence is in the United States; or (ii) your Country of Residence is not in the United States, but bring any claim against Airbnb in the United States (to the extent not in conflict with Section 21).

19.2 Overview of Dispute Resolution Process. Airbnb is committed to participating in a consumer-friendly dispute resolution process. To that end, these Terms provide for a two-part process for individuals to whom Section 19.1 applies: (1) an informal negotiation directly with Airbnb’s customer service team, and (2) a binding arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) using its specially designed Consumer Arbitration Rules (as modified by this Section 19 and except as provided in Section 19.6). Specifically, the Consumer Arbitration Rules provide:

Claims can be filed with AAA online (;
Arbitrators must be neutral and no party may unilaterally select an arbitrator;
Arbitrators must disclose any bias, interest in the result of the arbitration, or relationship with any party;
Parties retain the right to seek relief in small claims court for certain claims, at their option;
The initial filing fee for the consumer is capped at $200;
The consumer gets to elect the hearing location and can elect to participate live, by phone, video conference, or, for claims under $25,000, by the submission of documents;
The arbitrator can grant any remedy that the parties could have received in court to resolve the party’s individual claim.