Research suggests revenue from short-term vacation rentals will surpass the hotel industry in 2020. In fact, Airbnb reports that on any given night, there are 2 million people staying at one of its properties. If you’re looking to make extra income listing your space with a hosting platform, keep in mind the following tips for preparing well:
A: Adjust Your Security Measures
If you’re not up for transporting items off property every time you have a renter, select a small bedroom to use for storage. When you’re stepping out so guests can step in, utilize this room–with door hardware that includes a lock and key–to keep pricey and personal items out of sight and out of mind. This may be where you relocate your computer, your laundry, photographs of family (should they want to remain anonymous), and important personal and business paperwork while renters are in your home. Also, consider investing in a Wi-Fi enabled doorbell camera, which will make short recordings of the space immediately outside your door as guests come and go from your property. If you’re willing, you can give your tenants access to the doorbell monitoring via their own smartphones. The added security feature will make your guests feel more secure.
B: Be Hospitable
Walt Disney once said, “Do what you do so well that they want to see it again and bring their friends.” Set a tone that will welcome repeat visitors by keeping a binder in the living room with access codes, phone numbers, and restaurant recommendations. You can also include a friendly greeting from you as the property owner, directions to the nearest emergency room, your Wi-Fi password, and perhaps instructions on what to do with the trash before they head back home. Also, be flexible about what you leave in the pantry and fridge. Guests may not realize your Cheese-Itz and Lemon La Croix were not for their consumption. Instead of worrying about whether your snacks get touched while you’re away, consider buying bottled waters and treats you encourage your guests to enjoy while they’re on site.
C: Consider Whether You Are Properly Insured
It is unlikely your homeowner’s insurance offers you the protection you need when renting out your space on a short-term basis. Here’s why. In a perfect world, your homeowner’s insurance would step in and pay for your legal defense and settlement costs should an accident happen while a renter is in your home. And you may even find that your homeowner’s insurance allows for a one-night-a-year rental for a special event, like should you want to capitalize on your city hosting a major sporting event. However, if you’re renting your property regularly, it may seem to your insurer that you are operating a small business, which excludes you from the coverage you think you have. Landlord insurance may prove equally unhelpful, as that typically applies to long-term rentals alone. Your best coverage options for regularly renting out your home to short-term guests are threefold: You can contact your insurer about your plans and see if your current policy is enough. You can ask about an endorsement to add coverage to your existing policy. Or, you can purchase a business policy such as a bed and breakfast policy.
In addition to understanding your own insurance, look into what claims the hosting platform will cover. Some companies, like Homeaway and Airbnb, will provide you with $1 million coverage in liability insurance. But be sure to read the fine print. Some of these offerings are primary coverage, and some are not, meaning any other liability policy you already hold will also participate should a claim be filed against you. The policies may be intended for injuries a guest incurs while at your home or may also include compensation for damage a guest does to your personal property. Read your contract with the hosting platform carefully to make sure you understand what is included in the basic fee and what perhaps would come at an additional cost.
If the possessions in your apartment or rental house were damaged or stolen, could you afford to replace them? If you’re like many Americans, the answer is probably no. That’s where renters insurance comes into play. But what is renters insurance, and what do you need to know about it?
Renters insurance protects the personal possessions you keep inside your apartment or rented home. It also covers your personal liability. It’s not an exact comparison, but you can think of it as homeowner’s insurance for people who rent. Here are four useful insurance tips for renters.
Just Because It’s Not Required Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Need It
Renters insurance may or may not be required by your landlord or apartment complex. If you’re renting a home or a room in a home, remember that your property and liability are not covered by your landlord’s homeowner’s insurance. Even if it isn’t required that you have renters insurance, you should always just get it anyway. The cost of renters insurance varies, but it is probably lower than you expect.
Look for Replacement Cost vs. Cash Value
The value of even your largest purchases (such as electronics) decreases over time. If your possessions are insured at cash value, that means the coverage will equal whatever the item is valued at right now. It may not be enough to purchase a new replacement in the event that the item is stolen or damaged. Instead of cash value, opt for replacement cost coverage. It will be a little more out of pocket, but it should ensure you can faithfully rebuild your home or apartment after a loss.
Document, Document, Document!
Carefully construct a list of all the property you want to be insured, especially the more valuable items. Take photos and videos of everything, including receipts, so you can prove that you own the items and that they are not already damaged. In the event you have to make a claim, you’ll have everything prepared to show to the insurer. When you clearly present the evidence, your insurer will likely have an easier time determining the claim as valid.
Ask About the Limits of Personal Property Coverage
Chances are you have auto insurance. But did you know that personal property inside your vehicle is not covered under your auto insurance if it is stolen or damaged? Renters insurance may or may not include coverage for personal property losses due to theft or damage to your vehicle. This is a very important feature that you need to make sure is included in your renters insurance.
Renting is a great way to live, but the risks can differ from the risks of owning a home. Help manage these unique risks by following these insurance tips for renters!