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PSA: Reservation with added infants not covered by AirBNB insurance

#1

In the past, there was a bit of discussion about Airbnb’s policy of allowing people to add infants to a reservation even if this meant exceeding the occupancy limit for the space.

I recently had the other shoe drop. My space is marked “not safe/suitable for infants under 2 or children under 12”. A prospective guest booked to the occupancy limit with adults and added 2 infants. Since the occupancy limit of the space would be exceeded, I contacted AirBNB to confirm that the reservation would be covered by their insurance.

AirBNB told me: “I understand that you want to confirm if that specific reservation will be covered by Airbnb insurance. As I’ve seen on your house rule it’s clearly stated that it is not safe or suitable for children. I would like to inform you that Airbnb will not be liable for that.”

So, there you have it. Airbnb allows guests to add infants to a booking that says “not suitable” and then pulls the host’s insurance for that booking.

Cancellation penalties when someone books in violation of house rules?
#2

Why didn’t you simply have Airbnb cancel the booking?

It’s against your house rules and if your property isn’t safe or suitable for children under 12 why would you want them there?

In some respect this highlights the need for all hosts to have an alternative insurance policy in place, with a decent public liability element.

JF

1 Like
#3

I did end up having AirBNB cancel the booking.

I created this post so that others would understand the situation with regard to added infants and Airbnb insurance.

5 Likes
#4

Hopefully without any penalties …

#5

Good. I have posted elsewhere recently that it is not worth the risk if your place is unsafe for children and infants.

Air’s algorithms don’t recognise when someone makes such a booking, nor is a human being checking these. When I get such a booking, I message the person stating that we don’t accept children/infants, as per our House Rules and due to very real safety reasons. Then I politely ask them to cancel. If they won’t /don’t, I then get Air to do so for me, and without penalty. As everything is evidenced on the message thread, in black and white, CS fall over backwards to do so.

#6

FYI – Airbnb does NOT cover us with “host insurance”.

There is the mythical “host guarantee”, but everyone knows that’s basically worthless when it comes to replacing broken or damaged host goods. It never was intended as liability insurance.

If you do not have renters or homeowners liability insurance that covers your STR activities, you can be in serious legal trouble if something does happen.

3 Likes
#7

Yes, they do. Host Guarantee is for our stuff and Host Protection Insurance is for liability.

https://www.airbnb.com/guarantee
https://www.airbnb.com/host-protection-insurance

I agree that neither one is a substitute for your own policy.

2 Likes
#8

@Allison_H - yes, they tell us they provide it. But the consensus seems to be that it is worthless - it’s almost impossible to get them to pay out, especially for “medium” sized claims (over a few hundred, under $10,000).

1 Like
#9

@bluecoat
What insurance? Do you actually rely on Airbnb to insure you?

Glad you got them to cancel

RR

#10

I’m in total agreement.

Nonetheless, Ken said their insurance was never meant to be liability insurance, which is true of the “Guarantee” but not true of Host Protection. That second product (or marketing tactic if we’re being honest) IS intended to cover personal injury or intentional property damage.

#11

But only if you jump through the requisite hoops in the correct order and at the right time (meanwhile the stars and the moon also have to align)…

1 Like
#12

Thank you for this. My home insurer will not cover anyone under 19.

#13

Let’s think about this logically. Airbnb charges the guest and the host, and those fees are more or less in line with what other similar businesses would charge. They would have to charge a lot more if travel insurance, especially for children, was included. Hosts can’t really operate without their own specific insurance.

Children are far more likely to be hurt in situations where properties are not suitable for kids than adults are. They are also more likely to cause damage. So it’s not really reasonable to expect Airbnb to provide insurance for children who are guests in places which are specified as not suitable or safe.

Yep :slight_smile:

#14

I think you’re making an argument for why Airbnb’s insurance won’t cover us, but I’d be surprised if my HO paid out on a claim where a child was injured due to a known (albeit disclosed) hazard.

Hosts are in a Catch-22 if they can’t take kids:

Family status is a protected class. As a homeowner sharing my property with others I’m exempted from fair housing laws, but those laws state I am not allowed to advertise a bias. (Airbnb’s lawyers probably found the “may not be” language just skirts this line)

Per Airbnb’s TOS we’re not allowed to discriminate on age.

But I’m the best judge of my property and what I’m comfortable with. I’ve identified hazards that make my place unsuitable for young guests.

If I don’t host them and state as much, I’m discriminatory. If I do host them, I’ve put myself in a terrible legal position where Air’s own insurance won’t cover me. If a lawsuit were brought against me after a toddler takes a nosedive down the laundry chute to the first floor, I can absolutely see my own HO insurance refusing coverage because the injury was foreseeable.

If Airbnb’s insurance won’t cover the stay they shouldn’t allow the booking to proceed. If a host says “I can’t host kids safely” both Air and guests need to respect that.

2 Likes
#15

Why are you not closing the laundry chute???

#16

You mean like fill it in or make it unusable?
Because I enjoy the features of my old house and I like using the laundry chute. Even if I closed the laundry chute, I’m not replacing the original windows that are also an issue for toddlers.
Almost all my guests are groups of adults, so it doesn’t make sense to invest in a change that doesn’t serve the type of guests I attract.

Why should I change a feature of my home that I enjoy?
Why don’t hosts with pools just fill them in?
Why don’t hosts near water build a 20’ chain link fence around their property?
Why don’t hosts of treehouses build them on the ground?
Why don’t hosts with animals on the property confine them 100% of the time?

or…Why don’t parents take their kids to a home that IS well-suited to them?

8 Likes
#17

Based on @Icklemiss 's post on another thread (Contractor coming in while guests are booked? But no communique from guests?!) I would suggest getting her to write a description of your laundry chute that will discourage people with kids from booking. So you could say "I welcome all kinds of families. I just want to make you aware of a few things that may not be suitable for children. [insert Ickemiss’s narrative] Then if they stay anyway Ken can help with the review.

1 Like
#18

You are focused on what you want and are not happy guests don’t do what you want and the OTAs not supporting what you want which of course, we all know is not how it works.

#19

OH, yes!!! @Icklemiss is a talented writer! If only they allowed the space for extensive, visual, hilarious prose on the 10 ways a toddler could endanger themselves in my house. Alas, the limit is 150 characters.

Right now it says “Laundry chute drops a story. Please contact me before booking so I can provide a full list of concerns.”

#20

Of course I’m focused on what I want. It’s my goddamned house! Why do you think a guest’s preference for staying in my home is more important than my preference to not have them there?

I get great ratings from guests because my house is set up in a way that makes us both happy. But I can’t and won’t turn my household upside down or expose myself to liability to host children when Airbnb’s own policies don’t support me. What kind of person would I be if I hosted kids in an environment I didn’t feel was safe?

Sorry/not sorry you don’t like it.

6 Likes
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