I have been going back and forth about adding a security deposit. I currently have one for $250, but like many have said, what would that really cover if there was damage? I have read the debates of positives and negatives and am still unsure. I really wish that Airbnb would offer what VRBO offers, the affordable insurance binder option.
Am I detracting guests by asking for something that really wouldn't help anyway?
Am I being wreckless if I do not ask for a security deposit?
Please post your vote! I really know no other way to decide.
@Lyn13 Set your deposit to $500, even though AirBnB does not actually collect it you can get damages covered by it with a claim they approve. The insurance policy you have at VRBO is totally useless to you if the guest does not admit to the damages, it will not cover anything. Most guests won't admit to the damage and you are not the policy holder the guest is. So unless they put in a claim you are right back to square one no damages covered. You should have an actual cash deposit there.
@Lyn13 since Airbnb does not actually charge the guest for the security deposit unless/until you make a successful claim, I don't think it's a barrier for guests who intend to act responsibly. It seems to be mostly symbolic. I use it mostly as a guest self-selection mechanism.
(Unlike @Letti0 I do allow guests to choose the insurance option on VRBO -- some guests really object to having a big security deposit charged to their card for what could be many months.)
@Lisa723 Have you had any luck claiming on that insurance policy? For the most part HA/VRBO owners have had huge issues with guests not putting through a claim thinking they may be liable for more if they admit the damage, so thery just won't submit it. I'd probably get more bookings if I could remove my $500 security deposit, but based on what I have read in the various forums it's a huge crap shoot.
I have had no issues claiming damages to the policy through VRBO, it is time-consuming, and you often won't get the payment for several days, but it covers us very well. In regards to the guest and their liability, you are absolutely correct, guests usually don't want to state that they are liable, even when we speak to them and state that nothing will happen and their confirmation of damages is simply needed to cover the costs.
@Letti0 and @Lisa723, Thank you for the information. Unfortunately, I had to use the VRBO insurance when a guest cranked the AC down on a hot day and froze up the AC because it was running so hard ( I now have a note on AC that says not to set to below 75* because some were setting into the 60's!!). Well, once the AC was off the system began to thaw and pipes drip water. AC is in the ceiling above dining room. It was a disaster. Water came thru the ceiling, down the fixture, and it was a mess. I ended up with having to replace much of the dining room ceiling and have repainted. It was a pretty penny, but I was releived becasue the guest had purchased the policy. I filed a claim, sent pictures, and invoices, thinking that the policy would reimbuse me. I didn't. It tried to just charge the guest. They were the nicest people who never meant to do the damage. They had left a wonderful review. When they contacted her, they just said there was damage and she was responsible for the amount. She text me in a panic. Long story short, the policy didn't cover and I had to just pay for everything.
I read someplace, in another discussion when i was researching, that another host experienced the same issue. That the VRBO insurance was a joke. I haven't dug into it too much, but with my only claim in many years rejected, I am leaning on cancelling that and just either going with deposit or nothing.
@Lyn0. Personally I would not even allow guests to even be able to set the AC that low. Set a limit on it, perhaps 68 degrees
As to deposit, this is a tricky area. A super high deposit is a total turn off to guests, though yes puts them in some notice to be more careful. But it gets guests nervous. And then there is the issue of enforcing it, and though Airbnb's present version is silly, IF they went to a true deposit system, it immediately begs the question - would they enforce it considering their present pro-guest history?
I do have a label on the thermostat that says "DO NOT SET BELOW 75*" and another just below it, another saying, "this could result in the AC system freezing and not working". Doesn't seem to help.
I did just buy a plastic thermostat cover lock so that people are not even able to adjust. Anyone have luck with one of those??
@Lyn13 My guests over Labor Day weekend, cranked up my air and it starting leaking like yours in the living room. Lucky it was their last night there and it was fixed the next day, so I had just a little damage. With the heat here in San Antonio I don't want to limit the temp they can set it at, but I think I may have to go this route also. They admitted to putting it at 60 degrees because it was so hot. Who does that? Our manual says no higher than 68 degrees which I thought was fair. I have ceiling fans in all the rooms to help cool it off, but they did not have one going in the whole place.
"I did just buy a plastic thermostat cover lock so that people are not even able to adjust. Anyone have luck with one of those?"
That is the one, prevent them from being able to go below 68. People do not understand that setting it at 60 vs. 68 is not going to make any difference to combat super heat, it is just going to stop the AC from ever cycling, and thus cause it to freeze everytime.
Are you detracting guests? Not if other comps in your area are also requiring a security deposit.
I require a $200 security deposit (for just a guest suite with bedroom and bathroom). I figure $200 will cover the most expensive thing that they could break (a sliding closet door frosted window or glass sliding door). And it also discourages would be squatters from selecting my stay.