Airbnb has upped the ante as it established $1 million damage-protection guarantee for hosts.
The host guarantee, established through an Airbnb contract with Lloyd's of London, covers property damage of up to $1 million per booking at no cost to hosts in 16 countries, with the promise of more countries to come.
Airbnb hosts in the following countries are eligible for coverage: United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Ireland and Puerto Rico.
Airbnb's previous property damage coverage for hosts hit a maximum of $50,000, and was implemented last year after EJ infamously got her San Francisco apartment trashed.
Even that $50,000 coverage -- let alone the new $1 million plan -- far exceeds rival HomeAway's current property damage protection plan, which maxes out at $5,000 of coverage for a $59 fee.
HomeAway's vacation rental lineup may cater to a different clientele, as HomeAway officials argue, than Airbnb's customer base, but there is a ton of overlap in the sector.
If Airbnb one day mulls entering the public-company arena, the $1 million host coverage for property damage, depending on how much it costs Airbnb, would certainly be advantageous in terms of enticing hosts to participate in the marketplace and calming fears.
But, there are lots of loopholes in Airbnb's host guarantee terms and conditions.
Airbnb readily concedes that the host guarantee is not a substitute for insurance as it does not cover loss of cash, securities, collectibles, rare artwork, jewelry and pets. It also does not cover personal liability.
The policy also excludes condos, apartments and townhouses in multiple-dwelling structures when someone else owns or partly owns the unit.
Thus, hosts renting out an apartment that they don't own in an apartment complex would not be protected by Airbnb's host guarantee.
The coverage, however, does include buildings, structures and additions owned by the hosts, as well as damage to physical structures such as walls, windows and doors, Airbnb says.
Airbnb recommends that hosts first try to work out any disputes with guests and then file police reports for any claims $300 and up.
Hosts can submit their claims online and the company says it will attempt to resolve them within a week of submission, depending on the complexity of the claims.