Vacation rental giant HomeAway has started rolling out an insurance programme – the first time it has taken responsibility for the connections it makes between guests and homeowners.
The $1 Million Liability Insurance service provies protection to homeowners in the event of accidents in the property and damage to a home – all wrapped up in a $1 million per year per property in coverage.
The scheme also covers claims against a property owner by a guest for accidents or if a neighbour claims against damage to their property.
“If you already have a liability policy for your vacation rental, then consider this to be coverage additional to what you have.
“It will respond at the same time as your current policy and both policies will contribute if a claim is made against you.”
A HomeAway official adds that the programme is part of “several other services and product enhancements to provide even more benefit to owners and property managers”.
Only owners that process guest stays through the HomeAway checkout online will be protected.
To some industry watchers this introduction could be seen as a big deal in the evolution of the sector – not least with HomeAway’s owner Expedia now shifting rental product via its own website.
One source says:
“Adding the right amount of trust between the homeowner and guest is the last step before the HomeAway inventory is available for an instant reservation throughout the Expedia distribution ecosystem. Insurance is one way of infusing this trust.”
Those with long memories will recall in 2012 when rival brand Airbnb launched its own $1 million damage-protection guarantee to homeowners.
Nothing unusual in that, especially at the time as Airbnb was hitting the mainstream in a major way and was attempting to reassure a quizzical industry as well as potential hosts that it wanted to have their confidence.
A few weeks after its launch, co-founder and then-chief strategy and development officer, Carl Shepherd, praised Airbnb for drawing attention to the insurance issues but dismissed the initiative as “great marketing”.