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I have been providing Travel Gaurd's $1500 rental damage policy to guests in lieu of a damage deposit and I have not had to file a claim or had any problems. My contract clearly states that they must report any damage to me and assist me in filing the claim and that failure to do so will result in my inability to file the claim against the insurance company and they are authorizing me to charge their credit card for the damage incurred.
Here is the language from my contract:
3) Renters will be completely responsible for any and all damage to the home or property caused by Renters, whether accidental or due to Renters negligence. However, Renters understand that the rental includes an accidental damage rental policy providing up to $1,500 in accidental damage protection provided Renters notify the owner and assist the owner in making a claim. Renters understand that Renters are responsible for damage beyond the coverage provided by the accidental damage insurance. Renters are also responsible for damage that would have been covered by the accidental damage insurance if Guests fail to advise the Owner of the damage and provide the necessary information that would allow the Owner to file a claim against the policy.
Do you know if we are supposed to charge sales tax on the damage insurance we sell to guests? So far we have not been charging tax on damage or travel policies.
I have been VERY happy with the damage insurance as it allows us to recoup money for damaged items without damaging the relationship with the guest. In the last two years, we have only had one claim that is over $500. Most of them are around the $50 to $200 level. Therefore we have decided to start making the $25 TravelGuard policy for $500 in insurance mandatory.Yes, Travel Guard has other policies other than the $45 one, both higher and lower.
The only downfall that we see with it is that when we had a security deposit, we told them they would be fined $250 out of their security deposit if they had a party (against our rules) and disturbed the neighbors. Now, with the damage insurance, we don't have that option/recourse anymore.
Apologies for the delayed reply.
The short answer to your question is no. The tax on insurance products is collected and remitted by the insurance providers, so there is no need for owners to collect tax against them.
Any other questions - please don't hesitate to let me know.
All the best,
HomeAway Community Manager
I was very intrigued with the idea of "Travel Guard insurance" as an alternative to security deposits. After researching it on-line I just read over 50 reviews which were 80% very poor! This was alarming. Does anyone know of another option with a bit more positive track record?
You might find the property damage protection insurance offered by HomeAway (care of CSA Travel Protection) of interest.
Any questions - just let us know!
HomeAway Community Manager
I have not had ANY problems with Travel Guard in the last 2.5 years that we
have been using their services. They have paid every damage claim in a
timely manner and I put through quite a few (about 3 per month) and people
who have bought the travel insurance and had to cancel their trip were paid
I am now requiring every guest to purchase $500 damage insurance policy for
$25 and have been doing that for one month now with no complaints from the
We have 45 rentals and do $2.2 million a year in business.
Laura, I hope you can answer a question that I am getting conflicting answers to. Since we have discovered that CSA will not cover certain items that a security deposit will, like STOLEN bicycles, lost beach badges, and excessive garbage that the cleaning people charge extra to take to the recycling center. We also charge for non return of keys. Smoking in the house is also another example that CSA does not cover. But I also like the comfort of knowing that if my TV is broken I can make a claim. Am I allowed to charge a security deposit for the items listed that are not covered and also take out a CSA insurance policy for larger items?
I recall CSA's advertising specifically saying that the DO cover lost incidentals like keys and pool passes. Maybe not bicycles, and definately not extra service items like excessive garbage though.
See my post at : http://community.homeaway.com/message/9804#9804 for some additional thoughts on using both approaches at once.
Yes, you may absolutely have the guest purchase a PDP policy and collect a refundable damage deposit.
Currently, the best way to do this is to enter your refundable damage deposit in the "Additional Fees" area and then select the PDP policy in the "Damage Protection" area.
We are working on an enhancement to allow for both without having to do the work-around described above - stay tuned for an update on when that is live.
Hope this helps.
Laura, I was wondering when someone files a claim, how is it processed? Do they contact the guest? For example, I had a wonderful guest who wrote a great review and had a wonderful time, however, I had two broken dishes after their stay. I would be embarrassed it CSA contacted them after that review. Stacy
CSA will not contact your guests for nominal claims such as a couple broken dishes. I believe for more significant claims ($500 and above), they may verify damages with guests.
Hope that helps,
CSA CLAIMS SUBMISSION: I submitted a claim and it was DENIED. Why? CSA said that because the insured (tenant) said that they DID NOT cause the damage. We know they caused the damage: $324.00.
So -- if your insured tenant is going to DENY that they caused the damage; why even bother!! I will NOT use them again!
Are there any similiar stories?
We submitted a claim to CSA this summer and they paid it without a fuss (although only on replace-able items, not on the labor required to repair a damaged wall that I fixed myself).
I'm not sure if they contacted the renters or not - I kind of believe the answer is not since the renter called to ask if they could rent again later in the summer (which we did not accept of course!). Given the arrogance of the renter, I believe that if CSA had contacted them about the hot tub damage, they would have denied it. But either way, CSA paid the portions they said were covered.
Has anyone mentioned how they incorporate the wording guestchecker.com requires into the VRBO website:
"At any time before, during, or after your stay, your information may be shared with www.guestchecker.com"
I have read that VRBO is not permitting to have the live link. So are you then putting it in your rental agreement? and if so can you share the wording?
Before reading this blog, I started replying to potential renters including the insurance fee leaving out the deposit because it sounded so good. Now, after reading all this, I want to go back to the refundable deposit but have to handle those few renters that were given a quote already with the insurance.
Here is the wording we use in our rental agreement regarding Guest Checker:
" RENTAL POLICY ON PRIVACY- In order to improve the rental experience for all Guests and to preserve the standard of quality established by the Agent/Owners, all Guests are reviewed using www.guestchecker.com. This contract may be canceled based on the results of this search. At any time during, before, or after your stay, your information may be shared with www.guestchecker.com."
VRBO is now offering it to owners. I used to be an owner/agent but when VRBO decided to get in the business they dropped all of us small agents and try to force us to purchase through VRBO. Candidnly, I used this instead of a damage depsoit for over a year and while they paid on the two claims I had to make, it became clear that another claim and they would no longer make it available. I now advise guests that I authorize the $500 damage deposit just prior to their check-in and if all is well when they leave I cancel the authorization and do not settle. Their is no charge to the customer and no fee paid by me. It encourages them to leave the place as they found it and or report problems they find on check-in. This seems to work very well.
Also, as a heads up many of the credit card companies have language in their policies that prevent charges on a security deposit for damages. They say a security deposit is only to be used to guarantee the first night's payment (they treat vacation home companies like a hotel). I had a guest who disputed the charge with Visa and won with this terminiology. Visa advised us that we should charge the guest for the exact amount of the damage and not via a secuirty deposit because they won't accept it. If the guest doesn't argue it then you're fine but be careful if they do. I have done this two times since losing and won both times even after the guest disputed because we charged the exact amount and had plenty of evidence. You run the risk of the charge declining though.
I authorize the full $500 as a damage deposit not as a security deposit. I don't settle the transaction and if all is ok on check out I void the transaction. If not, I change the authorized amount to the actual damages to be charged and authoriz and settle. My contract specifies that they are agreeing to authorize me to do just that so between the contract and the fact that it is for actual damages it becomes much harder to dispute.
I have used property damage protection at the recommendation of HomeAway and was horribly dissatisfied. They paid my claim for a totally destroyed recliner, but only paid me on the depreciated value, NOT the replacement value. I would have been better off with a security deposit. I stopped using them right quick. HomeAway did NOT stand by their recommendation. Unhappy
When I was selling this insurance and using it on my own property, they apid actual replacement cost up to the limit of the policy. However, it was my job as the selling agent to fight for my customers. We all know that Homeaway and VRBO don't see protecting their customers as their primary responsibility. Instead, they seem to prefer to stand against us. Such arrogance and poor treatment to their customers will eventually cost them the very customers they treat with disdain as other services grow in recognition with the vacationing public and owners drop their advertisements.
I would encourage everyone to take a few minutes and actually look at the coverage. http://www.propertydamageprotection.com/pdf/100HADoc.pdf On page 5 the policy
"ACTUAL CASH VALUE means purchase price less
I know accidents happen, and that's OK. But here is why I will not use the PDP
Pg. 9 :
"you or your Traveling Companion being under the
influence of drugs or intoxicants, unless prescribed
by a Physician"
The last major damage I had was not covered because my house guests were intoxicated. Broken closet doors, holes in walls, things pulled off the walls. There must have been brawl or party going on. Nothing was covered. Since I went back to a damage deposit, I have only had true accidents (pot burned beyond recognition.
Hate to say it but "The People's Court" is my second favorite TV show. As Judge Milian says, the purpose of the (judicial) system is to make you whole, not serve as a bonanza. She always gives the depreciated value of an item, as opposed to the replacement value. By watching this, I wouldn't have ever expected anything but the replacement value. In this case (only this case), I think they're being fair.