STR Insurance Scramble This Monday Morning

Well nothing like waking up on a Monday morning to find that your short term rental insurance policy is in limbo. (My town requires specific STR insurance for a business license to operate.)

My insurer’s underwriters want to know what exactly I provide to my guests for breakfast. Well, it’s packaged cereal and muffins and coffee/tea. I don’t think it’s any of their business, I was tempted to say I serve squirrel from the yard.

The hard part is, they want me to do something so guests cannot climb onto the roof of the guest house.

The guest house’s west wall is built into a hill. To stop erosion our landscaper built a terrace that is, admittedly, possible to climb if you have a little bit of mountain goat in you. But it is obviously not stairs and not easy and no one is going to mistake this for roof access.

So we would have to build a fence, which would take 6 months to get plus thousands of dollars. My STR insurance expires in 30 days. I’m asking the insurer if a snow fence would do.

So right now I’m shopping for another insurance company.

Just when I thought I had every little detail under control…

Went through a local, not so great agent to get mine. I’m in MA in the US and wrote with Travelers but I’ve had Proper and Lloyds in the past. I was worried when one of them came out to inspect and all they did was insist that because I’m on the historic register they would have to insure me to restore to the original home size, trim, etc. They didn’t say much about safety. I was shocked. There was a thread about insurance recently.

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@Christine_Shirtcliff Thank you, I didn’t think of trying Travelers. I will post the outcome once I have an outcome!

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Just remember different policies are written by the same companies in different states.

Yes good point. Also some companies do not work at all in some states.

That’s one reason this issue was so unwelcome! It’s complicated. I’m going to spend a couple hours at least figuring this out.

I too had Proper insurance which was over $3000, I too am in MA and someone posted that Allstate would do it if its your primary residence with a rider. My cost now is $1200.

I think that Allstate was willing to do it because my Airbnb suite is the second floor of my house and I only rent when I am home.

Good luck.

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After working on and off on this, Steadily (an insurance broker essentially) set me up with a Travelers Insurance policy for short term rental at an excellent price.


:joy: I’d love to know how that would go down with them. Or, alternatively,

“We serve roadkill. It’s the most ethical meat.”


They are likely asking that in the event that a guest claimed they got food poisoning from the squirrel omelet you served them for breakfast. Seriously, though, I would imagine it’s something like that- if you are contravening health regulations or a guest got ill or went into anaphalactic shock and tried to sue you, supposedly because of some food you provided.

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If I wanted to run a hosted B & B, I would have to upgrade to a complete commercial style kitchen with a higher rates hot water system, coved floors, and food handling certificates

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That’s a good point. This same insurance company, which specializes in STR, told me about a lawsuit where the AirBnB guests claimed trauma after a bat flew into their cabin–in the woods. The host failed to warn them about the possibility of bats, they claimed. I don’t know the outcome of the lawsuit.

But because of this I have a sentence where I mention our local wildlife, including bats and bears.

I actually think it’s wonderful that in the USA almost anybody can bring a legal action and get their day in court. Cases without merit tend to get resolved without too much damage to the target, based on my personal experience. To me it’s a small price to pay to have the freedom to seek legal redress.

Reminds me of the lawsuit against McDonalds that their coffee was hot. We’re in a rainforest in the tropics with a house that is open (no glass over the windows, just screens and louvers) - think glamping.

Since we have to treat everyone like they are children and protect ourselves from the refund-happy CS agents, I have in my house rules: “The house is very open to the outside (gaps around the doors and no glass over the windows) and doors are frequently left open to “let in the view”. This means things from outside, such as dust and leaves and small creatures (insects, geckos/anoles, and perhaps even an occasional mouse, bat or bird) will get in the house. We treat or set traps to minimize pests, but no treatment is 100% effective. The presence of such creatures (dead or alive) or some dust or leaves inside the house will not be grounds for a refund”

I don’t know if this will protect us from refunds, but the CS agent can see I warned them.

There are plenty of countries where people have the freedom to seek legal redress, but nothing comes close to the the American penchant for wanting to sue others for ridiculous, frivolous things and wanting to blame someone else and extract money from them for one’s own stupidity, inattention, and what the rest of the world considers just the risks inherent in being alive.
It’s a huge waste of everyone’s time and just serves to enrich lawyers. And courthouses, security staff for them, etc, are paid for by the taxpayer.