Toilet blockages, carpet burns, broken stairwells, and damaged bed legs—these are just some of the accidents that have befallen holiday rental hosts, according to new claims data released by Insurance Australia Group Limited (IAG).
With the peak summer holiday period now in full swing and many Australians staying in sharing economy properties, IAG’s research indicates that accidents and property damage are an increasingly common occurrence.
The survey of more than 1,000 Australians reveals that:
- More than one in six (17%) have accidentally broken something or damaged their accommodation while on holiday
- One in seven (14%) have been injured or seen a fellow guest injured
- One in five (19%) have hosted a party or been to a party at a holiday rental property
IAG’s research also found that young men aged 18 to 34 are more likely to cause damage, injure themselves, or host a party while staying in a holiday rental property.
- Men are more likely than women (24% versus 17%) to have accidentally broken something in an Airbnb
- Men are more likely than women to have hosted or been to a party in an Airbnb and Stayz property (35% versus 19%)
- Men are more likely to have injured themselves in an Airbnb than women (18% versus 13%)
“Holiday rental sites such as Airbnb and Stayz have given people the freedom and opportunity to maximise the use of their assets and earn some extra cash,” said Mitchell Sweeney, spokesperson for IAG’s ShareCover insurance product. “However, these opportunities don’t come without risk and it’s important that people protect themselves and their most important assets when they rent their home with holiday rental platforms.”
According to Quirin Schwaighofer, co-founder of MadeComfy, a short-term property management specialist, investors with Airbnb properties can employ safeguards to protect their investments from marauding guests.
“Safe and pleasant home sharing starts before the guests arrive at your property and this involves indicating clear house rules and vetting the guests,” Schwaighofer said. “Reading through the reviews of the guests and checking to see if they have provided IDs to the booking portals are some of the ways to gauge if the guests are the right fit for your property.
“Also, we recommend not to price your Airbnb too cheap so you attract responsible guests, and that is generally $50-$100 per guest to avoid backpackers and young groups. Restricting the number of people staying to two per bedroom or not allowing extra people booking into your property can also help minimise the potential wear and tear.
“At MadeComfy, we have very strict house rules that prohibit parties in the properties we manage, to ensure everyone can benefit from the sharing economy without having negative implications.
“Also look around your property and if there is anything irreplaceable or unique in value, make sure to store it away before welcoming the guests.
“As conventional landlord insurance does not cover damages incurred in short-term let properties and Airbnb's Host Protection Insurance is difficult to claim, it is crucial for property owners to have the right insurance cover geared towards short-term rentals.
“We always recommend our hosts to have the right short-term rental insurance cover before the properties are listed because it can be very costly if, for example, there are incidences involving personal liability which are not covered by Airbnb's Host Protection Insurance.”
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