Will AirCover Cover a Swimming Pool Accident in my Country?

We are new to hosting and unable to find a company that will insure us for short term rentals with a swimming pool.

I communicated with Airbnb and they indicated that AirCover would cover, heaven forbid, a drowning accident but an insurance agent told me it would count for nothing here in Israel, or anywhere abroad, as claimants would sue me in this country and not via Airbnb.

This seems to be a major stumbling block to our rental plans and any input would be appreciated.

“When in doubt say No!” These are words to live by. If you can’t get short term rental insurance because of a pool, then don’t get a pool.

I would not trust anything an Airbnb customer service representative said.

The house I purchased that I rent out on Airbnb came with a hot tub and the first thing I did was drain it and remove the electrical cord because it was a big liability.

I recommend not getting a pool. Not only is it a big liability, it’s also costly to maintain and lots of extra work.


TL; DR – Even if someone properly sues you in Israel and is not required to go through mandatory arbitration, AirCover says it will defend the Host for certain claims arising during an Airbnb stay. But it’s concerning – and it tells you something (I’m not sure what but it isn’t good) – that you cannot get your own insurance. Get a local lawyer to advise you, and get that advice in writing if you go ahead with a pool in an STR. I wouldn’t build the pool; if already built, I would want to understand why no insurer would insure it and understand from a lawyer the limits of AirCover. If committed to offering an STR I’d consider burying the pool if already built.

If the claimant were the guest making the Airbnb reservation then that guest has presumably agreed to Airbnb’s terms of service, which requires mandatory arbitration

It appears to me that the insurance agent is saying that someone who has not agreed to Airbnb terms of service has therefore not agreed to the mandatory arbitration agreed to in Airbnb’s terms of service and could therefore sue the Host in Israel. I agree, but none of this post or anything on this forum is legal advice. The Host not such a guest will bring in Airbnb to defend the Host in a court of law, up to the policy limit of only $1,000,000.

Who is that ‘someone’? That could be someone the guest brought with them, as typically happens. [Of course, AirCover would not apply to a claimant where there is no Airbnb stay. So if a contractor fell in the pool or a neighborhood child trespassed and drowned in the pool, cases arising out of such incidents would not be covered by AirCover.]

Host Liability Insurance [HLI] under AirCover does say it “provides insurance that covers Hosts for their legal liability to a guest or third party for bodily injury or property damage due to an incident that occurs during a guest’s Airbnb Stay at the Host’s Accommodation.”

So if a Host were sued in Israel by a claimant not enrolled in Airbnb but during an Airbnb stay, and who therefore has not agreed to Airbnb’s terms of service, HLI still applies to protect the host. AirCover says “If the HLI program applies to the claim, the insurance includes coverage for claim investigation costs and expenses, as well as costs of defending a formal complaint such as a lawsuit.”

I’ll pause here because this reply responds to the specific objection the insurance agent made to you.

I’d like to know what you’ve been told on why you cannot get insurance for a short-term rental where you are in Israel.

Is your location within Israel an issue?

I assume that your location within Israel is a location approved for Airbnb accommodations. Is that right? Is there some controversy about your specific location?

I assume that your pool will follow all local building codes and any applicable local laws. Is that right? Do commercial codes apply?

You need a local lawyer to advise you and ideally commit the essence of that advice in writing. I understand you’re doing ‘leg work’ before you hire that lawyer, but in the end only a local lawyer, who is your lawyer, can advise you.

I agree with @Ritz3 that you cannot rely on what an Airbnb customer service representative says.

Your information is Airbnb’s summary of Host Liability Insurance. But you do not actually have the words of the policy, just the summary. And you, as well as most of us here, likely do not have the knowledge and skills to interpret that summary to the potential range of situations that could give rise to a liability not covered by AirCover. None of us knows you, your situation or all the questions to ask that would capture your situation and understanding.

For example, if you’re sued for $2,000,000 do you have the resources to hire your own lawyer? Are your assets protected in such an eventuality? Is your income? Can Airbnb settle its share with you for $1,000,000 and leave you to fend for yourself? If you’re sued in a situation that has nothing to do with the rental, do you have the resources to defend the lawsuit and how are your assets and income potentially affected?

We do know, from you, that you cannot get insurance from anyone else. That raises a big red flag.

Bottom Line: I wouldn’t rely solely on Airbnb as my source for STRs. I wouldn’t build the pool; if already built, I would want to understand why no insurer would insure it and understand from a lawyer the limits of AirCover. If committed to offering an STR I’d consider burying the pool if already built.

Thank you. We already have the pool, which we love. And wouldn’t consider taking out :slight_smile:

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Wow, thank you so much TL for putting your head to your reply to such an extent. Ireally appreciate it. We are not in an area in Israel that has security issues and many people rent short term in our town. However, the insurance agents are telling us that there is a recent crackdown generally on short-term rentals here in Israel. I think there has been a lot of pressure exerted by hotels.

Your advice to take legal advice is good. But I sadly think that your comment about the red flag is also on point and maybe we just have to leave the whole idea of renting out alone :frowning:

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I wouldn’t rush off to get legal advice @debsied

Join a local host group for your part of Israel and ask for recommendations from your fellow hosts around who they are using for short term rental home insurance. And/or speak to an insurance broker and ask them to find you STR home insurance that cover swimming pools.

Do not rely on the Airbnb guarantee.


Thanks @Helsi - yes I’m trying to get some local information too. The advice on not relying on AirCover seems unanimous :slight_smile:

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Just as an FYI. That arbitration agreement is between guests and Airbnb and hosts and Airbnb. There is no agreement for arbitration between guests and hosts (unless a host is having their guests sign an agreement for arbitration).

As an example, if a guest wants to sue you for something, there is no limitation on them doing that, unless you enter into a separate contract with the guest and you both agree to have limitations. E.g. Airbnb’s arbitration requirement only applies to Airbnb.

Yes, that is my point.

But I was also saying – is this correct? – that if that guest reservation is for say, three guests, but those other two guests are not on the Airbnb platform, I don’t know if the arbitration agreement applies to those other two guests. Or at least those two other guests have a reasonable argument that it does not apply to them unless (or maybe even if) there’s something in the listing that says otherwise. What do you think?

Further, if the listing does not prohibit visitors, the visitors will not have agreed to Airbnb’s terms of service. So I wouldn’t think that the mandatory arbitration agreement pertains to those visitors since they did not agree to it.


Our House rules say:


I don’t know that it needs to be separate, but a separate SIGNED agreement would be ideal.

As to other guests – that is, guests not making the reservation or whose names are not on the reservation – we say (but I don’t know if this is enforceable because these other guests have arguably not agreed to it):

Each person entering this property agrees to all terms of this agreement . . .

However, we also have an indemnification agreement. So that if other guests or visitors sue, the guest making the reservation has agreed to indemnify us.

Oh. That’s a very good point. Thank you.

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@JJD The addition to your house rules seems like an excellent idea. At what point do you present the house rules and ask them to sign them?
Thank you very much for explaining all of this. Indeed there are grey areas but it seems to be a good idea to try to protect oneself as much as possible.

Great question.

I believe that having a signed agreement – even electronically signed – as channel managers like OwnerRez [OR] provides the capability for, makes the enforceability stronger, maybe much stronger.

When the agreement is ‘built into’ a channel manager like OR my impression that such a seamless presentation makes it much more likely that the guest will accept it, but others here on OR can chime in.

If you need to present a physical document that you ask the guest to physically sign, my intuition is that some/many guests will get spooked by that.

There’s also the matter of how easy all this is and what your competitors are doing. If none/few of them do it, then it will likely deter bookings.

My personal sense is that I will only ask the guest to sign electronically through OR. For Airbnb and VRBO I do not require a signature and am relying on the House Rules being part of the contractual agreement as represented by our listing, including the rules. While that is not as legally robust (not sure of the correct word here) I feel that requiring more would lose us bookings in the current marketplace.

@HostAirbnbVRBO Thanks Glenn. So on Airbnb you have a disclaimer about claims in your house rules?

Yes, I copied and pasted from my listing. Nit: I would say it’s not a disclaimer but part of our agreement.

According to the airbnb TOS, they see and have to agree to these before the booking can go through. And asking someone to sign additional ‘rules’ does not make airbnb beholden to them as ‘house rules’ - they will arbitrate these differently.


If you do this you must say so in the listing. I don’t know how specific you’d need to be. You cannot just ‘spring’ this on a guest. If you do, the guest need not sign and there might be other serious repercussions. [Not saying anyone is suggesting do so.]

Why does it matter? It only affects Airbnb. It has no effect on the host or the guest suing one another. I don’t understand the concern about Airbnb’s court endeavors.

Do you understand that if the guest wanted to sue Airbnb that they can also sue the host? And though they may have to do arbitration with Airbnb, they don’t have to do arbitration with the host. That agreement in the TOS only applies to Airbnb. Guests and hosts can sue each freely and in any manner they like.

Yes. Again, I’m hopeful that our agreement in our listing not to sue Host would apply. That the indemnification would deter a lawsuit by guests other than the one making the reservation, though to take a belt-and-suspenders approach, it might be wise to say that if the ‘do not sue’ clause is deemed invalid then the fallback is arbitration. But that still doesn’t help with the additional guests, who have not agreed to anything sofar as I know.

And so, yes you’re right, that my statement above on whether the additional guests must arbitrate for any claims against Airbnb is irrelevant to the Host.

What matters to the Host is whether those additional guests or visitors can sue the Host and whether there is a better (and convenient) way to deter that other than an indemnification agreement with the reserving guest. [Of course, the additional guests could be asked to sign the same agreement that the reserving guest signs or, if not signed, agrees to. But in practice that would be cumbersome and an ‘outlier’ procedure for most/many of us that would deter bookings.]

As always, thank you for your incisive analysis!

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

“Hopeful” makes it sound like you didn’t have a MA attorney write it up for you :wink:

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:laughing: It’s MA. If I come onto your property to rifle through your car and slip on ice while I’m doing it, I can sue you for that. And win. And you know it. :rofl:

I’ll admit that there have been a few times that you mused (at length of course :innocent:) about things that I found interesting, but this makes no sense whatsoever. This sounds like you’re just on a limb making oddly preventive wishes.

You know you can’t just say “you can’t sue me” any more than you can say “all guests must complement the host’s shoes or will receive a $200 fine”.