AirBnB Host Insurance - Actually a scam?

in
Oakland, CA
Level 1
4,177 Views

Dear Fellow AirBnb Hosts, 

 

I am writing to see if any of you have had a similarly frustrating and disappointing experience to ours. My partner and I have been renting on AirBnB for almost three years. We've had 99% good experiences, and have always felt reassured by AirBnB's "million dollar insurance for hosts," which comes as a part of being a host. We thought, hey, if any one of these virtual strangers that we meet through the internet robs us blind, we're covered! No worries.

 

We were dismayed to learn that this insurance plan is essentially a hollow falsehood. We had a guest stay with us who smoked so much marijuana he ruined the carpet my imbedding an odor that did not dissipate even after professional cleaning and washing the walls. The carpet cleaners said if the smell doesn't go away, we would have to replace the carpet pad and subsequently the carpet. I called Home Depot and got a quote for this, which was around $700.

 

The next step was submitting a claim through AirBnB. The first surprise there was -- you cannot submit a claim directly to AirBnB, you have to request this fee from the person who rented. So we requested this money from the renter, whose son was the guest in the room. That renter referred us to our son, who we learned after the fact is mentally unstable, and took this request of funds as a personal offense. He called and left threatening voice messages, wrote a series of angry emails and incessantly texted me at work. He threatened to report my partner to the police for crimes he did not committ, and sent so many insane messages that I ended up filing a police report for harrassment. Not only was that extremely stressful, he also managed to lose two of our house keys, so we became extremely stressed that he would return and gain access to our house.

 

I called AirBnB and filed a report of the harrassment, and took their advice, which was to file a report to the police. AirBnB does not allow you to get them involved in the claim until 72 hours have passed, even if you feel physically unsafe, which I did as soon as possible.

 

The next surprise was that after you involve them, they do not allow you to submit an insurance claim of any kind, even though I asked them repeatedly to do so. At first, they just said it would be hard to get money out of the guest since there was "no proof" that they committed this damage. I submitted my proof, which was the series of emails and text messages in which the guest admitted to smoking marijuana and offered to pay for the carpet cleaning, but not the replacement. 

 

Then, AirBnB responded with "great news." They were able to get the guest to pay $300 odd dollars. I was glad to hear that, and then asked again how to fill out a claim to have the rest of the cost of the carpet replacement reimbursed by their insurance policy. They then told me that, despite the quote for the fix being $700+ dollars, they thought that "$300" was fair and they would not let me submit a claim nor offer any additional funds.

 

They did not make any effort to assess the damage, nor the cost of repair, despite the fact that we were threatened repeatedly by the guest, filed several reports, filed a police report, and followed all of their procedures. Oh and, by the way, we never received the $300 they said they retrieved for us, and cannot figure out how to actually get the funds. Great!

 

My questions are:

Has anyone else tried to submit a claim to AirBnB's "insurance"?

Is this actually a scam that means nothing?

Why did AirBnB express no concern for the fact that the person I hosted through their site was threatening me?

Do you feel safe renting through this website after reading this account?

 

How long do you think it will be until this becomes a serious legal a nd safety issue that will eventually threaten the well-being of their billion dollar company?

 

As you can gather, we are no longer going to be renting through AirBnB, and we hope you seriously consider this account of a series of unforunate events before you continue to rent through them.

 

Best of luck to you all!

 

25 Replies

Re: AirBnB Host Insurance - Actually a scam?

in
Coogee, Australia
Level 10

Hi @Kerina0

 

unfortunately you are not the first, this forum is full of this kind of post, and with your $700 damage and potentially $300 back, you are still lucky. some host pass over $4.000 and get rejected.

 

this is a hot topic at the moment in the community, here an example: https://community.airbnb.com/t5/Hosts/Lack-of-Host-Support/m-p/303484#M70131

 

I hope that you will get the 300 at least, anyway there is other options for cleaning the carpet, insted to replacing everything, like the "ozone generator", is actually work pretty good, take out all smells of cigarette & co. you can rent by hour, google it. 😉


Good luck

cheers Raf

Re: AirBnB Host Insurance - Actually a scam?

in
Los Angeles, CA
Level 2

Hi Folks,  YES - in my opinion AirBnb Host Insurance is NOT REAL.

 

In my opinion AirBnb Host Insurance is merely a Marketing Ploy in order to encourage new Hosts to list their units rendering them subject to damage and AirBnb will do anything & everything in order to support Guests who cause the damage.

 

THANKS!!

 

 

Re: AirBnB Host Insurance - Actually a scam?

in
Como, CO
Level 10

Technically it is the Host Guarantee but it is modelled on a very restrictive Insurance format.

 

I had thought of writing a summary, but its implimentation seems very different to its wording and without knowing what the implementation policy is I saw no point.

 

Usually I would be loathe to focus too much when knowing only one side, however I have seen many very similar stories and assume that there are many more that we never hear about.

 

I would mention there is an Arbitration Policy, never heard from anyone who has gone that way. 

 

Personally I think they need to replace the current wording with what they actually do, I assume somebody on high was concerned with the amount it was costing them and has passed down instructions to limit any settlements/ make it as difficult as possible to claim.

David

Re: AirBnB Host Insurance - Actually a scam?

in
Austin, TX
Level 10

@Kerina0 AirBnB most definitely does NOT "have our backs" as hosts. I like the extra money we make (compared to renting to a long-term tenant), but I have ZERO expectations that AirBnB will do anything to protect us, compensate us, or anything else. They're basically a bunch of shysters who just happen to have a useful portal for renting out one's property. Again, I *love* the extra money we make, but I truly despise AirBnB for many reasons. First time we have a similar issue with a guest (most/all have been GREAT) will be the end of our tenure on AirBnB.

Re: AirBnB Host Insurance - Actually a scam?

in
Los Angeles, CA
Level 2

Hi @ Dede,  I AGREE - in my opinion AirBnb Host Insurance is NOT REAL.

 

In my opinion AirBnb Host Insurance is merely a Marketing Ploy in order to encourage new Hosts to list their units rendering them subject to damage and AirBnb will do anything & everything in order to support Guests who cause the damage.

 

THANKS!!

 

Re: AirBnB Host Insurance - Actually a scam?

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Kerina0

 

The Host Guarantee is very restrictive and really there for when there is total destruction, not for damage to a carpet.

 

The advice is that in addition to a security deposit, you need to have your own insurance cover,  which fills the gap between that and the Host Guarantee.

 

In this case (and I am not defending AirBnB here as it is common in the insurance industry as well) you were offered a solution of a £300 cleaning reimbursement but decided a total replacement was required. Many insurance companies would not cover you for a replacement in this instance. It is possible to get rid of smells including marjiuana from carpet would be the standard response. It would be an uphill battle with any insurance company to get a total replacement in this situation.

 

Many hosts don't have appropriate addiitonal cover in place and they are leaving themselves exposed. AirBnB should make this much clearer rather than trumpeting about $m cover with their Host Guarantee scheme.

 

Sorry to hear what you went through..

 

 

Re: AirBnB Host Insurance - Actually a scam?

in
Seattle, WA
Level 10

Has anyone had better experience with private STR insurance. I imagine they are equally restrictive I would imagine. In general

 

- I would check in on who is renting at an unexpected time to see what they are doing

- I would not rent to locals or kids

- I would make it clear I am nearby (in our case it is a MIL so very nearby 🙂 but madness still goes on anyway)

- I would not buy anything of value for the unit. Craigslist, goodwill. Robust furniture that looks ok, but doesn't cost a lot when it gets destroyed. Given the general demographic, smoking weed etc seems to be a norm.

 

Finally, and sadly, I,would not rent out a property that I could rent out long term to a normal tennant. I also have a long term rental, have zero madness, a large security deposit, and know exactly who I have rented to. All of the riches of Airbnb may not be worth the constant friction...

Re: AirBnB Host Insurance - Actually a scam?

in
Los Angeles, CA
Level 2

Kathleen Taylor here, Hollywood, CA

 

I turned to Airbnb when a guest dropped something hard and heavy in the bathroom sink, leaving it cracked and a small chunk taken out (of course, the guest did not tell me about the accident. He left early for the airport and I arrived home, where I live, within three hours of his departure to find the damage.) I am replying because THERE IS NO SECURITY DEPOSIT TAKEN! Yes, NONE! I always assumed that when Airbnb asked me on a form to choose the amount of my security deposit ($500), that the deposit was held for 72 hours after check-out, which is why I always return the day the guest checks out. Unbelievable! They do not hold any money from the guest!

Re: AirBnB Host Insurance - Actually a scam?

in
Atascosa, TX
Level 10

@Kathleen42  No they don't and getting AirBnB to charge the guests for damage is pretty hard unless the guest admits the damage. Take phot's asap, document everything, find a link for replacement costs, get repair bills and hopefully your orginial receipts and bill the guest for the damages before your next guest checks in. If you can prove they did it they may charge them even if they deny it. 

Re: AirBnB Host Insurance - Actually a scam?

in
Los Angeles, CA
Level 2

Dear Letti,

 

I mitigated my damages by having the sink reglazed. I purchased a new knob for the stove, as guest had broken it off. Airbnb reimbursed me the exact amounts I had expended. The guest has written me that Airbnb is trying to get him to pay them the same amount. That's all I know at this point.

 

Before the next guest checks in, I am going to print out a  "checklist" and as I take them through the house, we will both check the boxes as to the shape each item is in. Are the garden hoses in good order? "Yes." Is the stove, the microwave, etc. working and in good order? "Yes." Any broken windows, cracked windows?  Etc. Just as a landlord does when he rents out a property. I will engage the guest cheerfully in the endeavor!

Re: AirBnB Host Insurance - Actually a scam?

Level 1

Our guests admitted to all of the damage and stolen items totalling over $20,000. We submitted photos and texts. Airbnb still has done NOTHING!!! But we will not stop contacting them until they do something because this whole thing is ridiculous! We open our home so that Airbnb could make a profit along with us, and this is the thanks we get! Our lovely home was destroyed and robbed! Now it's unfortunate because I will NEVER refer this company now! We thought they were honest, we really did, but now seeing all these reviews, we realized that we were definitely lied to.

Re: AirBnB Host Insurance - Actually a scam?

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 2

After managing a turnaround of 100.000 Dollar, we had a 2000 Euro damage of a floor caused by one of our guests. I opened the case to get it paif by the strongly advertised host insurance. I called  the hotline 10 times and send 10 emails, and, like in other questions or smaller cases before, received no sufficient answers or any service that helped me in my case. Only copy paste answers by incompetent or not assigned agents and nothing but frustration. I came to the conclusion, AirBnb‘s Host insurance is nothing but a big fraud. If nothing changes for a better service, I will leave AirBnb. The advertisements for that special insurance seems to be a kind of competitive distortion. I am so frustrated and angry about the way they don’t seem work on those issue and it seems to pure fraud, I think about handing in the case at court. I am not used treated like that and my frustration is based on weeks of trying to solve a clear and simple insurance case. No chance! 😡

Re: AirBnB Host Insurance - Actually a scam?

in
Hoboken, NJ
Level 2

Same experience here — though not nearly as bad as some of the others I've read. I had a guest cause 2K worth of damage to my apartment (guest got up in the middle of the night and urinated on a 12'x9' rug, rug mat, dining chair, guests' shoes, and his urine seeped into floor boards, and his GF's menstrual blood soaked through the whole mattress). In spite of doing everything correcly — taking photos, calling Airbnb Superhost support, submitting a Resolution Center case with all the relevant details — I receieved completely incompetent responses from a "Maria C" who after reviewing my case 'very carefully' got virtually all of the details wrong and was asking for nonsensical proof of items I didn't even report. Ultimately she said my case cannot be mitigated because there were "third parties" — meaning other guests at the same time. Apparently, there is no way to prove which guest caused the damage (even though I saw this man's weener right in front of me). Just **bleep**ing absurd.

Re: AirBnB Host Insurance - Actually a scam?

in
San Jose, CA
Level 2

I am experiencing this right now. Guests throw a big party in our house. The party was recorded on our cameras. So far, all I have got from Airbnb are generic cut & paste responses.

 

Since it is happening to so many of us, have any of you guy think of a class action?

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