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1834 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Jul 11, 2012 9:56 AM by 2barefeet RSS
New Member 1 posts since
Jul 10, 2012
Currently Being Moderated

Jul 10, 2012 1:15 PM

Accidental Damage Insurance?

One VRBO rental is charging $39 for "accidental damage insurance" I never came across this before. Do you think this is reasonable--I don't? I liked the refundable deposit better.

  • msdebj Senior Contributor 1,359 posts since
    May 25, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 10, 2012 1:47 PM (in response to vrbod132)
    Re: Accidental Damage Insurance?

    From an owners point of view I can say that, while most of my guests are very respectful of my home, it's furnishings and property, every now and then we encounter guests that are not so.  Most of us put our hearts and souls, not to mention $$ and time, into sharing our homes with others.


    We have many new tools  to protect our homes available to us these days.


    The VR rental market has exploded in the past few years, and there are a lot of new renters making requests to rent our homes. Many of them of them don't understand the difference between renting a hotel vs. a privately owned home.


    If you are a regular renter of VRBO, HA, etc. owner managed homes you may want to talk to the owner, and offer them contact information of other homes you've rented in the past. Think of it as providing a reference when you apply for a job, to rent a house, etc. Maybe they will work with you.


    I hope you'll continue to be a responsible renter of VR homes!


  • anja Senior Contributor 1,560 posts since
    Aug 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 10, 2012 9:51 PM (in response to vrbod132)
    Re: Accidental Damage Insurance?

    Hi vrbod132,


    I'm sure that there is reasonable justification for some rental property owners to require the accidential damage insurance. But,  if you are interested  in a particular  property, you might want to ask the owner if they'd accept a "security payment" instead...some owners are flexible.  But, others may not want the "emotional" and administrative hassles that seem to arise whenever a guest has an accident which damages their property....the owner withholds part or all of the security...the guest is furious (denies the damage) threatens/writes a negative guest review...and it's just a big emotional DRAIN on everyone.  So, some guests, and some travellers actually prefer the "damage insurance". It's a very low fee {$39},  that provide some coverage ....and anyone can have an "accident" which causes an expensive damage. It's a whole lot cheaper than sending hundreds of dollars to a perfect stranger {owner}.  I can see why owners and travelers like frees them of some worry over having to "deal with each other"  over a breakage.


    By the way...if you want to know what most owners here think:   There is actually a whole topic "thread" devoted to this in which owners discussed the pros/cons...vis-a-vis the owners' perspectives and well as the travellers  {some travellers do not like forwarding hundreds+ of dollars to a stranger...only to wonder if they are going to get all of it back, after their stay --- i.e. damages they caused}. You can find those posts by using the "Search For Answers" field at the top of this page, and type in ...damage insurance.  You can read why some owners like it...(why some travellers prefer it)....and why some owners {such as myself} does not use it.


    I'm "sitting  on the fence" about asking people to buy the insurance. My guests have broken drinking/wine glasses, and other very minor years of renting. A few towels ruined....but  I really don't sweat the "small stuff"....even if I'm disappointed that someone wasn't "caring" enough.   But, I don't fill my place with "heads in beds"....I will not be careless with whom I rent to.  Msdebj {above} is correct....we do not have  "motels"...our properties are our personal homes...we invest a great deal in them so they will be desirable and comfortable for vacationers.  We only expect vacationers to treat our property with per our "rental agreements".   But some vacationers are really not "good candidates" for private rental homes....they do not know how to behave in a "home"....they do actually use it like a "motel".    Some owners have been seriously scathed by "the wrong type of guest"....and although we try to "screen" so we get the types we want, it's not fool proof....we are working in a trade that is 1000% based on "trust" between  strangers.


    I've never had serious damages by guests. I've never asked anyone to pay for the small "wear and tear" that's happened by them.  I do not use the insurance.  Maybe I'm going to have to learn the "hard way"....hope not...but I'm pretty "active" in determining who I want as guests in my home.   I'd rather have a guest, such as you, who prefers to "accept responsibility" for the agree-to usage of my home.....not abuse it....adhere to my occupancy limit, respect all rental terms and conditions and return my place tidy.  Sounds easier than it is, though.  I get many people inquiring that I simply have not got the desire  or the "courage" to give my keys to!  I'd rather not...than risk my house being abused.  I prefer to forfeit the income and wait for another prospect to come along.  My biz is fine...I have wonderful guests!


    Many owners have suffered serious damages that were costly....damages  to flooring, furniture, walls, garage doors, costly beds to replace...even kitchen fires caused by guests.  An accident can happen to anyone on vacation.

    • thaxterlane Active Contributor 785 posts since
      Jul 27, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Jul 11, 2012 8:10 AM (in response to anja)
      Re: Accidental Damage Insurance?

      Anja, I aagree with everythig you have said.


      My response to you is somewhat off topic, but important, I believe, for owners and renters to consider.


      A security deposit connotes responsiblity and consequences.  An insurance policy removes responsibility from the renter and eliminates consequences for disrespectful and/or irresponsible behavior.


      It's a very imperfect product.  Instead of preventing "bad" behaviors, and encouraging "good" behaviors, an insurance policy is supposedly a balm in the aftermath of damages - a third party smoothing the waters for frustrated owners and negligent guests.


      There are so many problems with this attitude, the most important being an insurance policy allows all sorts of behaviors to occur without any consequences.  None. Nada. Zip.  The insurance company will pay and the guest goes on their merry (and destructive) way.


      Is this the behavoir we want to encourage?


      I realize it is difficult to handle security deposits for some owners.  It is unpleasant, stressful - fill in the blank.


      But buying a product that absolves the renter of responsibility is not the answer.


      A large part of the answer, in my opinon, is improved screening / interviewing of prospective guests.


      End of rant and hijacking of this thread. 




      My response to the actual question:


      I agree with approaching the owner and requesting a security deposit be accepted in place of the non-refundable fee for accident insurance.  If you have previous rental experience, share this with the owner.  I always find it informative to learn where my guests have stayed previously and how they felt about the experience.


      I think it's great that you want to enter the agreement in a responsible manner. 


      If the owner is not receptive, look for another property where you and the owner can have a relationship and contract that you find agreeable.

  • stjvilla Active Contributor 626 posts since
    May 27, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 11, 2012 8:00 AM (in response to vrbod132)
    Re: Accidental Damage Insurance?

    We use the services of an on-site manager to handle the financial end of our rentals and she has adopted a policy of requiring a $35 damage insurance fee for each of her properties.  We disclose this when the quote is given and everyone so far has been fine with it - it's quite a common thing now.  It does take the "emotion" out of any accidental damage for which otherwise a security deposit might be held back.  Like anja, we don't sweat the small stuff either - a broken glass or dish is just normal wear and tear.  But for something more serious, damage insurance is just easier to deal with for our manager who has many houses to oversee.


    However, there are pros and cons to either and if it were just up to us, we would have to weigh them before deciding on a security deposit or insurance fee.

  • 2barefeet Contributor 89 posts since
    Mar 15, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 11, 2012 9:56 AM (in response to vrbod132)
    Re: Accidental Damage Insurance?

    I recently switched from a damage deposit to the insurance policy.  We tend to rent to young families.  Kids don't mean to knock the TV off the stand or stick a pb sandwich in the DVD - but these things happen (at home as well as on vacation).  Realizing that the damage deposit would not cover the cost of most accidental damage, I thought I would try the insurance for one season and see what happens.  Guess what?? Not one broken dish!! I do stress to my guests that this policy is accidental and any damage not covered by the policy would be charged to them.


    I too try to screen my guests and understand that broken dishes, lost towels, etc are just part of the business we are in.   My guests have all been happy not to have a refundable deposit held while they are on vacation, and I am happy not to have to return/try to determine when the deposit is nonrefundable due to damage.  Everyone has their own comfort levels of how to handle this.  If a potential renter contacted me and wanted me to change my policy I would probably decide that he/she is not a good fit for my property (even with references).

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