Will HomeAway cover me if something goes wrong?

Estimated read time: 8 minutes

If you rent out your property to guests through HomeAway, you might be wondering what you are covered for if a guest has an injury or causes damage to your home. Whilst HomeAway does offer some level of cover, it’s important to understand what this protects you for and what it won’t or you could end up seriously out of pocket.

Does HomeAway offer insurance?

If you list your property on their website, HomeAway does provide insurance but this is only for liability claims, which are designed to cover you against risks that you as a host may end up being held responsible for. HomeAway offer up to $1 million (or the equivalent UK amount) of cover per listing free to all of its hosts. This makes their cover similar Airbnb’s Host Protection Insurance, which you can find out more about in our Airbnb guide. The insurance provided by HomeAway covers liability claims brought against the host for incidents such as:

Guest injuries. For example, if your guest fell down the stairs and hurt themselves they may hold you responsible and decide to take legal action.

A guest damaging 3rd party property. An example of where this could be relevant could be your guest lighting up a cigarette and accidentally setting fire to your neighbours property.

A guest injuring a 3rd party. Think back to the fire scenario above. If the neighbour was injured in the fire then they may decide to hold you liable.

What HomeAway does not cover.

Given that HomeAway only covers liability claims, this does not make it comparable to what you would expect from a home or landlord insurance policy. Here are some notable things that HomeAway does not cover:

Damages above $1 million. You might be thinking this is unlikely that a claim could cost this much but it depends on the type of claim. If a guest is injured badly and unable to work again, the costs could mount up. A serious injury could require lifetime care. If you factor in loss of potential earnings, some claims could cost more than $1 million, which could mean you may have to fit the bill.

Damage to your own property is not covered. If a guest burns your house down, you’d need your insurer to cover you for this if you don’t want to pay for damages out of your own pocket. However, many insurers will not cover claims caused by paying guests (more on this below).

If the guest injures you then you won’t be able to use HomeAway’s insurance to take legal action against the guest.

If the damage/injury caused by the guest is deemed to be deliberate or ‘malicious’ then this won’t be covered either. HomeAway’s insurance is designed to cover you against scenarios that are caused accidentally.

You won’t be covered if you have been deemed to have acted negligibly. This is a fairly standard principle followed by most insurers. However, it isn’t entirely clear how ‘negligible’ has been defined. This could give them wiggle room in deciding whether to cover your claim or not.

What to do if you need more cover.

If you are worried about whether you have the right level of cover, the next step to take is to talk to your insurer. However, we spoke to top UK insurers that confirmed that most do not provide adequate cover for Airbnb, HomeAway or similar platforms. Our Airbnb and home insurance article discusses this subject in more detail and is a good place to start before you contact your insurer. If your home is covered under a second home or holiday home insurance policy, your cover for guest related claims may still be inadequate and so it’s important to check with your insurer first. If you have already spoken to your insurer and you are not happy with your level of insurance cover, a specialist insurance policy may be able to fill this gap.

What does Pikl cover?

Pikl provide specialist insurance for short-term letting, including cover for properties that are let out on websites such as HomeAway. If you already have insurance elsewhere, we offer a ‘Top-Up’ insurance policy. Your insurer can still continue to cover you whilst our cover can insure your home for any claims caused by your guests. You’ll need to let your insurer know that you are intending to do this but alternatively, we can also cover your main home or landlord insurance as well as cover for your guests. Our insurance for when you have short-term guests can cover you for:

  • Public liability including cover for guest accidents involving bodily injury.
  • Legal cover to defend or pursue legal claims against guests.
  • Accidental, malicious damage and theft cover if caused by a guest.
  • Alternative accommodation for you or your guest if your property is being fixed as the result of a guest related claim.
  • Fire and escape of water damage caused by a guest.
  • Loss of keys and replacement locks cover if renting out your entire property.

The above is an example of some of the cover we offer. If you are not comfortable with the level of cover HomeAway or your insurer provide, getting a specialist insurance policy is a relatively straightforward way of covering this gap in insurance.