26 Replies Latest reply: Dec 30, 2013 3:35 PM by catskillscottage RSS

    where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)

    New Member



      my regular homeowners insurance and $1M liability umbrella policy from my current carrier is null and void once you have so many vacation rental days per year.   Their quote for vacation rental liability was WAY too high $.


      Does anyone know of a USA insurance company with vacation-rental friendly polices and reasonable rates??



        • where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
          New Member

          Just out of curiosity, how many rental days does it take to void your coverage?  I was not aware of this.  I assumed the homeowners insurance with the liability coverage would cover our home.  Our agent did not mention anything regarding it not covering if our home is being rented.

            • where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
              New Member

              much to my dismay, i found out that our regular state farm homeowners policy AND our $1M umbrella policy both are void if you have more than 60 (or was it 90?) nights of short-term vacation rentals. We rent our only house in a vacation destination an hour away, and rent in the city. If it was just renting our a part of the house for long-term rental they were OK with it. They don't offer vac rental insurance so i've scoured the homeaway site for companies to investigate:





              , and



              , Fireman's Fund, Chubb, or Lloyds of London.  U.S. Liability Insurance Company, Affluent Insurance, Lexington, which is owned by AIG, ratings on 


                • Re: where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
                  New Member

                  I contacted an agent in the state I own my rental home regarding this - not

                  my current agent.  I thought I had liability coverage, but after seeing your

                  note, I checked into it.  I sent my dec page to a different agent.  He said

                  it was a standard condominium policy, and would not cover vacation rental

                  liability.  He said the company I have doesn't have this available.  I asked

                  if I could write some type of stand alone policy.  He said to check with my

                  agent on my homeowners policy on the home we own/live in, and see if they

                  could extend liability from our homeowner's policy here to our rental home.

                  My agent here replied and said they could do an endorsement on our policy

                  and add this.  She said our insurance coverage there would be primary, and

                  this would pick up any excess.  You may want to check on something like

                  this.  Let me know what you find.

              • where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
                New Member

                We switched our policy this year to a commercial plan.  My agent told us that anything over 12 weeks would make our old policy void.  We ended up with Lloyds of London but there were others that offered similar policies.

                • where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
                  tyann Contributor

                  American Family is the only one that would even touch it for us. And it is a commercial policy. It'snot outrageous in price, but it's definitely more than a residential policy.

                  • where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
                    New Member

                    I posted earlier on this indicating I was told an umbrella policy could be endorsed on our homeowners policy.  I thought all was taken care of.  Today I was informed their underwriters were uncomfortable with the risk and would not write the endorsement.


                    It has been suggested to me to find a commercial policy, which I will be looking for.  Does anyone have a suggestion for a company/agent in Arizona - Mesa area?

                    • where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)

                      very important to ask because if they find out you haev a VR, thye won't pay for anything... Home, furniture, etc.

                      • where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)

                        I suspect Lloyd's of London will be your best bet and most independent agents can obtain a policy for you.  It should run around $300/yr for $1M umbrella policy.  They may require that you have $500k on your standrad policy, I'm still checking on that.

                        • Re: where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
                          Active Contributor

                          I'm glad to see this discussion here.  I will ask my agent to look up Lloyds of London and American Modern as you guys have suggested.


                          Here is our story.


                          Before we started renting out our guest apartment, we asked our insurance agent if our Homeowner's insurance would cover our liability in case one of our guests were to be become injured.  He said that we were covered, so we thought we were fine.


                          Recently we found out that there was a misunderstanding, as he had thought we meant rentals of 4-6 weeks at a time ... rentals of less than a month are actually NOT covered by our regular homeowner's insurance.  If something bad were to happen, we would have to just "hope" that the guests would agree to pretend that they were long-term tenants, and we would also have to "hope" that the homeowner's insurance company would not find out otherwise.  If they find out that we were running a vacation rental business from our home, they can say that they did not approve of this use and they can refuse to cover any claims.


                          Now, our usual homeowner's insurance policy costs about $1000 per year.  Our insurance agent has been researching this for the past 3 weeks, and he cannot find any regular homeowner's insurance policy that will cover a vacation home use.  If somebody knows of one, please let me know.  So far, after 3 weeks of research, the cheapest policy he can find is a commercial policy, which would be $4000 per year. 


                          Right now we don't know what we're going to do about that.  Does anyone have any advice?



                          This is the messsage I wrote, before visiting the HomeAway Community Owners forum.  I was planning to post it like that.  But before posting I did a search for other people talking about the same issue.  And I found you guys!  So as I said above, I will pass along the word to my insurance agent (he is independent and can get quotes from anyone), about Lloyds of London and American Modern.

                          • where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
                            New Member

                            I'm the original poster. FYI regards my resolution,

                            after finding a Loyds dealer and another called Assurety, it turned out that State Farm beat both of them by hundreds of $ per year.   But the first time i asked the State Farm agent didn't know about a "MOTEL" type policy.  Called again and got a different local agent that knew about the "motel" policy.  Simple and got multi-policy discount as I have cars and other policies.

                              • where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
                                New Member

                                I asked my State Farm agent about the "Motel" type policy you mentioned above.  Here is her response:


                                "State Farm doesn’t offer a “Motel policy” I checked with my underwriters. It’s a risk that State Farm doesn’t like to take on. It maybe that another state may offer that but not here in California"


                                Her response makes sense given that State Farm specifically excluded "any vacation rental related" risks from coverage under their Umbrella Liability Insurance policy this despite the fact that we have a $ 2K / year underlying coverage from Tudor Insurance in place.


                                Could you check on the written specifics of your "motel" policy ? I worry that your agent may say one thing and your policy may say something else. 

                                  • Re: where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
                                    Active Contributor

                                    This is a copy and paste from the other discussion.  The quote presented below was in an e-mail from the State Farm (EDIT: It's Farmers!) insurance agent, and our property is in San Francisco, California.






                                    Our (independent) agent found us a policy with Foremost Insurance,  which is under State Farm (EDIT: Farmers) Insurance.  According to the State Farm  (EDIT) Farmers Agent,  "This risk should be written as a 2 family primary as the insured lives  in 1 of the units and rents out the other unit as a vacation rental property."


                                    I'm  glad that we were able to get a regular homeowner's insurance policy,  which our agent said is better for us than a commercial policy.  (One of  the apartments in the 2-unit building is our primary residence.)



                                    Here is a link to the other vacation rental insurance discussion.



                                      • Re: where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
                                        Active Contributor

                                        I looked back at my old e-mail's ... I was mistaken, the Foremost policy is actually under FARMERS insurance, not State Farm!  My apology for the confusion.


                                        I edited the info above.  Brenda Slater at FARMERS Insurance was the underwriter who gave us the information quoted above.

                                          • Re: where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
                                            New Member

                                            Suddenly this issue has become front and center for us because today we were served with court papers from a renter who- two years ago- claimed he "fell down our basement steps" when he mistook them for the back door.  At the time he threatened to sue and I called our State Farm insurance agent and she told us we were covered under our Homeowners Policy (and liability umbrella) because we only rent our house on an occasional basis (at the time about 6-8 weeks during the year).  But now that the we are actually getting sued I am terrified that our insurance will find some loophole NOT to cover us.  Of course when I called the State Farm agent would not give me a 100% guarantee that we were alright and told me that I had to wait to hear from an adjustor, and so now I'm having a sleepless night. In the meantime I'm aware that this year we are renting out our property more than in the past and we need to be absolutely certain, going forward, that we have full coverage.  I need to find a trustworthy source.   We live in California.  Any suggestions?

                                              • Re: where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)

                                                I suspect, though one can't be certain, that you should be fine for two reasons.  1.  You disclosed to your State Farm Agent that you were renting and sought their advise on the coverage you needed.  You then relied on and acted on that expert advise.  If they tried to deny you coverage (especially in CA) you could sue them, and 2. The renter appears to be within the 2 year statute of limitations in CA but he will have a much harder case to prove and unless he went to a doctor at the time and can show that he is suffering from an injury that was caused by your negligence his case may be very difficult to prove.  It used to be in CA that these small actions were common because insurers would roll over and pay the claim (typically under $30K) rather than litigate.  More recently, insurers decided to take a more aggressive posture and fight cases (especially one that waits nearly two years to file).  They often win.  In any case good luck and let us know how it turns out.




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                                                • Re: where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
                                                  Active Contributor

                                                  Dblum, here is a link to the other vacation rental insurance discussion.





                                                  Be sure to check this one, it has a lot more information!


                                                  Also note that our insurance agent (who was working for Allstate at the time; he later became an independent agent) told us our current homeowner's insurance covered the risk for vacation rentals.  Months later, he informed us he was mistaken.   If we do have a claim, maybe we could sue him over this ... but I hope it never comes to that.  Thank goodness we have coverage, and e-mail's, information IN WRITING, that says our currently policy definitely does cover vacation rentals.


                                                  And yes Dblum, we are in California.  Please see the other thread for more options for insurance.



                                        • Re: where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
                                          New Member


                                          I just wanted to share the name of the insurance agent that we used for our vacation rental property as he was so helpful and I thought reasonable in pricing.  His name is Jerrell Jorgenson and he is an independent agent.  His company is called We Care Agency 952 835-0169 and he is affiliated with a network of independent agents called the Progressive Network.  

                                          We are in MN so not sure if they cover any other states, but he's worth a try. 

                                          In general I found that independent agents were more likely to be able to help with finding insurance coverage for vacation rental properties.   


                                          • Re: where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
                                            twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                            Insurance is such an important thing, one that we just don't know when we will need or for what reason....fire, theft, or suit from a third party.


                                            I like to keep all my communications with my insurance agents in writing such as e-mails. So, if there is ever a claim that is denied and I have communications that say that it is covered, it will be up to them to make it right. We are NOT the licensed professional and should be able to rely on information given to us by the agent, whether or not the policy states otherwise. An agent can not entice us with misinformation and then state well you should have looked at the policy. the policies are complicated and that is why they are the licensed professional.


                                            Just be sure that whenever someone tells you that you are covered that you do at least look at your policy to ascertain if that is correct, AND keep all your correspondence with your agent with the policy too, just incase you missed something in your review.

                                              • Re: where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
                                                Active Contributor

                                                Yes, that's good advice!





                                                For those reading this discussion, please check this other thread for more discussion of insurance options.


                                                Two that are offering good plans for hotel use / short-term rentals in homes are:


                                                Propel Insurance







                                                Summary of Annual Home Insurance Premiums, 2010-2013.


                                                ®Tower (regular homeowner / landlord insurance, minimum stay of SIX WEEKS for any renter, 2010)                     -- $1,289  (first we paid this!)

                                                ®Foremost (Farmers) Short-Term 2011  -- $4,295 (then we paid this!  OUCH!!!!)

                                                ®Propel Vacation Rental 2011                --  $2,100 (doesn't cover us personally, as we live in the same building as our vacation rental)

                                                + $500 for 2 owners-- Cost for Propel renters insurance to cover us, the owners.

                                                Propel total amount equals:                    -- $ 2,600 (we didn't choose Propel)

                                                ®CBIZ before partnering (2011)              -- $2,773 (We paid this!  Much better!!!)

                                                ®CBIZ / HomeAway Assure (2012)          -- $1,672 (Price reduction!  GREAT!)

                                                ®CBIZ / HomeAway Assure (2013)          -- $1,365 (Even lower price, yahoo!)



                                                The price of our CBIZ policy dropped dramatically in 2012 after they started parterning with HomeAway with the so-called "HomeAway Assure" program (which appears to be simply an "endorsement" from HomeAway ... CBIZ appears to continue as a completely independent company).  My guess is that with HomeAway's endorsement, CBIZ suddently had a lot more clients, and because of that, they were able to provide insurance for a much lower price.   That was a very good thing!


                                                But even prior to the HomeAway endorsement, when we re-did our policy with CBIZ in 2011, the CBIZ policy was thousands of dollars less per year, compared to the policy we had with Foremost (under Farmers Insurance).


                                              • Re: where to find vacation-rental liability insurer? (affordable)
                                                New Member

                                                We converted our cottage in the Catskills to a vacation rental this year, and had a heck of a time finding appropriate insurance coverage. The problem is that most big insurance companies don't know how to assess risk on a vacation rental--they only know how to do it on a year-round rental. The result? A big insurance company that doesn't specialize in vacation rentals may offer you the coverage, but they will charge you 2x to 3x MORE because they don't know how to manage/gauge the risk.


                                                This is an important distinction, so you need to make sure the insurance company you are considering asks YOU the right questions. A proper vacation rental insurance company will ask you questions like:

                                                • Do you have a property manager? (BTW, don't freak out about this--it can be the local handyman. You just need to have someone who can check the house after each party leaves to make sure there's no damage or other things that you want to know about right away
                                                • Are post-stay inspections performed after each renter's departure?
                                                • How long after check out is the inpsection performed?
                                                • Does the post-stay inspector confirm that windows and doors are locked?


                                                If they're not asking questions like these, they don't know what they're doing. Also, the big companies may put an inexpensive "occasionally rented" rider on your regular primary policy. This does NOT cover you if a guest slips and falls and sues you. You need to make sure you are covered from a liability standpoint. And BTW, personal umbrella liability policies do NOT cover you for vacation rentals because a vacation rental property is considered a business.


                                                Our old homeowners policy when it was a primary residence cost us $1600/year. I asked our existing agent to price it out as a vacation rental--they came back with a different company who quoted us $4100/year. Ridiculous.  Then I called CBIZ (888-883-5696) and spoke to Jamie Kristjanson. Jamie was friendly, extremely knowledgeable, and answered all my questions. And she got it all done the same day--the day before a holiday, no less! The best part is that CBIZ was only $1650/year--basically the same price as my policy when the house was a primary residence.


                                                So I now have an affordable insurance policy with the appropriate amount of coverage that gives me peace of mind because it's designed for vacation rentals. It includes $1million/$2million in commercial liability coverage.


                                                There was a lot of conflicting info in some of these threads when I first starting researching, so I wanted to make sure other owners had this info.