Replace Extenuating Circumstances policy with Trip Insurance

Status changed to: Under Consideration

We all understand the kinds of life events that can prevent travel. Rather than upsetting guests over non-refundable trips, Airbnb has shifted 100% of the financial loss to hosts by way of the extenuating circumstances policy. Why do guests not have some skin in the game when an issue arises on their end?


This isn't a fair practice. We choose our cancellation policies based on our market, personal economics, and degree of risk aversion. The extenuating circumstances policy creates a loophole over which hosts have no control.


If Airbnb is unable to offer trip insurance, they should allow hosts to choose two cancellation policies: One that applies for regular cancellations (currently implemented), and one that applies to extenuating circumstances (eg. no refund, 50%, full refund).


Response from Airbnb

Thanks for your feedback. It’s helping us understand how the Extenuating Circumstances Policy is affecting hosts. We agree that this issue is important and we’ve been taking a close look at multiple options to address it. While we’re not able to offer trip insurance at this time, we’re hoping to explore it as a possibility in the future. In the meantime, we’re collecting as much feedback as possible.


Andrew0 in
Berlin, DE
Level 10

I agree completely, @Allison2 . Guests have a wide range of insurance options available when they travel that could help them recover the costs of a trip cancellation, whereas hosts have no such options for recouping the losses when denied a payout for reasons beyond our control.


Plenty of web-based travel products offer some form of trip insurance as optional add-ons, and if it's reasonably affordable I do think it would be a suitable replacement for the Extenuating Circumstances policy. It could also extend to guests with more common cancellation circumstances, such as a missed flight. It's always an uncomfortable situation when a guest asks a host to take a loss due to their own choice to accept the risk of travelling without insurance. 

Michael-And-Connie0 in
Denver, CO
Level 2

I also agree with @Allison.  Instead of Airbnb offering an Extenuating Circumstace loophole why not offer Airbnb Cancelation Insurance that allows the Host to be paid in full should the canceled dates go unbooked?  

Rachael26 in
Murphy, NC
Level 10

Agreed - and points well made Allison.

If Airbnb can take/add a %fee to pay out booking payments early - and vary the %fee charged for the cancellation policy..... then why not get blanket travel insurance coverage and spread the cost across the guest audience? Trial it in the US where customers are used to being asked on just about everything purchased these days 'Would you like to take insurance on that' or an additional year on the warranty?

Even if only 50% of guests hit the button to add a $10 policy to cover their trip it would be worth it - to both Airbnb and Hosts!


Best Wishes.

Cormac0 in
Kraków, PL
Level 10


Extenuating circumstances, I can't think of any other business that has this nonsense, trip insurances as you point out is the obvious answer, so why have Airbnb create this rigmarole call "Extenuation Circumstances"?

In my opinion, it’s a sloppy business practise and needs to change.





The Explorer's Club Krakow III


Cormac0 in
Kraków, PL
Level 10



What surprises me about this post is that so few of the regular contibutor have not made a comment, I can think of about ten people I would have expected to have something to say about this.


Can they not see the post ?




The Explorer's Club Krakow III

Kelly149 in
Austin, TX
Level 10

@Allison2 this will become even more important when ABB rolls out the higher fee for the stronger cancellation policy and yet we are indeed still at risk of not being paid.


I'll also point out again that if HOST cancels bc GUEST is breaking rules, then all cancellation policies are null and host will be paid nothing.

Branka-and-Silvia0 in
Zagreb, HR
Level 10

I agree completely, @Allison 

Mike415 in
Baywood-Los Osos, CA
Level 2


my guest rented an entire beach house. She cancelled the day of arrival, because her brother's child had an ear infection. How does a host rerent a beach house the day of arrival?BEWARE friends. AirBNB is not a good platform for this type rental.

Cheryl151 in
Santa Rosa, CA
Level 2

My guest cancelled today, the day she was scheduled to arrive, due to wildfires in CA.  The problem is, the wildfires are more than 50 miles from my home, not anywhere near her home, and the roadways between these two points are completely clear and there is no smoke in the area where my rental property is.  The guest cancelled for her own convenience due to what she admitted were a "change in plans," and then used the excuse of wildfires to her advantage to get a refund.  This penalizes hosts and is unfair.  I have written a letter to Brian Chesky, CEO at AirBnB, and advise others who have experienced this unfaipolicy to give their feedback as well.  Without hosts, AirBnB doesn't have a business.

Linda108 in
La Quinta, CA
Level 10

With the wide spread impact of several severe disasters recently, the impact on tourism and the general hospitality industry will be huge and prolonged.  Understandably visitors to affected areas are spooked about their visit.  They wonder if they will be spending money on a great deal of disappointment.  News coverage of these disasters are affecting the travelers as well.


Air BNB needs to stop this knee jerk application of the extenuating circumstance cancellation policy and open dialogue with the host.  The unilateral application of the policy without involving the host should be modified to include the host in the process.  


In addition, Air BNB should have a general travel insurance policy that the host can opt into to compenate for the loss of income if they are unable to re-book the dates.

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