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Theft Coverage - Host Guarentee

Fist post, thanks for having me. I am a new host with only a couple of stays. My city only allows AirBnB rentals in your primary residence which is my house that I live in and host in. I hosted one group who clearly rummaged through all corners of the house and stole jewelry, alcohol, and multiple bottles of perfume. The AirBnB claim covered the jewelry and alcohol, but did not cover the perfume which was valued at nearly $300 all together.

The claim manager said that it was not covered as it is a “consumable” which is not mentioned in the policy anywhere. When challenged, they simply said they have final say and they don’t need to explain further.

I am wondering if this exposes me to risk in the future if more items are stolen which carry high value and AirBnB simply chooses not to cover it for no reason? And should I have dealt with the police in any way?

Lesson learned from me to put away more things but I won’t be able to empty my house into my locked bedroom… I would appreciate any guidance or advice anyone may have on this matter.

How is perfume a consumable but not alcohol?

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Concur, I pointed this out, but same answer as usual from them.

So there is your answer. You are lucky you were paid anything at all.

RR

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That’s really good feedback. I’ll empty the house like every rental I’ve ever seen. Thanks RR!

Hi Chris,

Yes, you were very lucky to be paid anything. Please don’t think that this will happen again in the future on any sort of regular basis so, as you’ve now discovered, you must lock away all your valuables when you have guests in your property.

In effect, you need to ‘guestproof’ you home. I know that there are some hosts who say ‘why should I?’ but let’s face it - when we have a toddler in the house we babyproof our homes. It’s for our own peace of mind and just common sense really.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you’ll never get any damages or have things wear out - you will. So be sure that when you’re calculating your nightly price to add a sum for ‘wear and tear’. It also doesn’t mean that your place has to be sterile and not like a real home. You just need to be sensible about it and think carefully about what items might be tempting to less-than-honest guests. Booze definitely is. Small items that can go in the pocket, like perfume and jewellery, are too.

The very best thing you can do is contact the broker who deals with your household insurance and ask him/her for a quote for STR insurance (it might be better not to mention Airbnb because even today it puts some people off). STR insurance will be more than you’re paying for your regular household insurance most probably but it’s worth it.

I can see the day coming when Airbnb will need to see a host’s insurance policy and local permits before they list them…

Thanks so much Jaquo! Great outline, and it looks like we will need to consider being a host at all.

I will for sure look into the insurance.

I hope that we’re not going to put you off though! Hosting is a great thing to do but it can be hard work and it needs a lot of careful planning and thought.

But the good news is that this forum is here for you. Many of us have been hosting for many years (sticking at it because we really enjoy it and enjoy the money) so we have quite a few tips for new hosts. Reading here is like going to an Airbnb university and just ask if you’ve any questions at all. :slight_smile:

So real talk incoming. Welcome to the forum but we don’t sugarcoat things.

So they did this while you were asleep? Or while you went out to dinner? Did you confront them in person? Or you didn’t notice it until they left?

Here’s why I think you are lucky to get a dime from Airbnb: how do you prove you owned any of those things? With a damaged sofa we can show before and after pictures. They took the Alexa? I have my receipt that I owned one on Amazon. How full were the bottles of perfume and alcohol even if you had receipts and photos? The jewelry might be covered but even homeowners insurance puts limits on that unless you buy a rider. Speaking of which…did you claim on your personal insurance? Oh, you don’t have any? Oh, you have it but insurance doesn’t cover alcohol and perfume? Imagine that.

That’s why I feel confident you don’t have insurance of your own.

Think about it from Airbnb’s perspective: new person with no track record signs up. They have friend book their place and after the fake stay they claim $300 worth of stuff was stolen. It all just so happens to be stuff that they can’t even prove they owned. Free money right?

Yes, Airbnb can be risky.

It’s only anedotal evidence but based on reports here it seems the bad actors target new hosts. Now that you are seasoned you are unlikely to be targeted again. It’s like lightening striking twice.

I’ve been a host both in my home and now with the guests in a room attached to my home but unable to access my part of the home. I had one pillow stolen in 5+years/800 stays. People come on forums when something bad happens, not when a stay goes smoothly. So don’t be deterred from continuing just modify your practices and take off the rose colored glasses.

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What city are you in? Regulations can vary.

We agree 100% with what @KKC mentioned. New hosts do appear to be targeted early on. This will likely be amplified as a City Host. So far, all our “weird inquiries” came in only when we were to new hosting. We figured out pretty quickly that one of them was actually a local escort, who clearly wanted a place to conduct her business :slight_smile:

@jaquo is very wise. Great advice there. Nothing of significant value should be accessible to a guest.

There is a ton of really good info here. Get the airreview plugin for Chrome. And start reading!

Look up door locks - they have really reasonable ones that use a quick code, so you don’t have to carry a key all the time.

Why an insurance policy? Some of us self-insure against theft and damage. Liability claim? Just declare bankruptcy (and hosts are expendable). I can definitely see the day they stop agreeing to pay out for damages, though.

Oh, I don’t mean because they care about it. Just bureaucracy. Because they can. But I imagine that it’s a way for them to determine that a host is serious about his / her business rather than just an amateur. It’s the amateurs who might be finally squeezed out.

Well, if you ask Chris we’re almost all amateurs on this forum. :wink: So whatever that means. I consider myself an amateur, but a very good one.

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I agree with others that you’re less likely to suffer from theft in the future because 1) they go after new hosts 2) you’ll learn to better secure your items.

Guests shouldn’t have access to anything especially valuable or sentimental. My personal electronics, jewelry, alcohol, drugs, and documents are in a separate room, guarded by a deadbolt and a door sensor that would alert me to intruders.

In this case I would have called the police. First, it creates a real repercussion for the thief. Second, because insurance (whether that’s through Airbnb or State Farm) usually requires one when reimbursing for theft. I’m surprised they didn’t require one!

As for being worried about Air reimbursing hosts for expensive losses: I’ve read far too many horror stories of Airbnb failing to pay out on large damage claims. I see their guarantee as a marketing scheme to lure new hosts into “easy Airbnb money”. Anyone who has done their homework will know it’s no substitute for your own STR insurance.

Also, I know these weren’t bulky items, but I can’t recommend an outdoor facing camera highly enough. It can provide indisputable evidence in critical situations. Hosting toolkit essential!!

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Thanks so much everyone! This help has been outstanding and really allowed me to “wake up” to the realities.

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@keener, it’s inconvenient to have to lock all of your valuables in your room (for example), but it IS necessary. I cleaned all the junk out of both my bedroom night stands (which needed to be done anyway!!!) and store everything in there.

Early on I had the most" lovely" guests, or so I thought. I made the mistake one night of leaving my purse in my unlocked office and the guests cloned my credit card! They were using it in their hometown (not the brightest guests) after they returned from their stay with me. Air was no help, BTW, saying I couldn’t prove it. Typical. The fact that the charges were all in the same small town in Maryland where they were from (according to their profile) was not good enough for ABB CS.

LESSON LEARNED!

I’m fortunate in that my credit card’s fraud dept. caught these charges, as I’m nowhere near the east coast, and reversed them all.

It’s Unfortunate that I had already reviewed the guest by the time I found out and ABB would not let me change my review to warn other hosts!

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