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).