38 Replies Latest reply: Oct 1, 2012 12:56 PM by amirek RSS

    increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies

    amirek Contributor

      Anyone else notice the increased fee for PDP policies? I was sending out a quote today and noticed that the fees have gone up. Fees were previously: $39, $49 and $59. New fees are: $59, $69 and $89!

       

      Unreal. Time to stop using PDP and just use security deposits. It's easier to hold back for damage anyway, since most incidents are very minor. No point in forcing guests to pay those high prices when the likelihood of major damage is so low. (At least in my area, we've never had anything major occur.)

       

      What are everyone's thoughts on the increased rates for PDP? Do you think it's even worth it? I'm guessing most use security deposits instead.

        • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
          crescentbeach4u Community All-Star

          You are the second one that has posted this but there have been several answers including mine that says we have not seen an increase even though we just bought the insurance.

            • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
              amirek Contributor

              I don't know why some of us would have the PDP increased but not others. That is odd. So, your guest can still purchase the PDP for the lower rates of $39, $49 and $59?

               

              I wonder if the reason the rates have gone up for me is that I've had to file two tiny claims? That doesn't seem right. The insurance is to cover damage, which is what I used it for. If that's the case, I'm far better off doing as I've started doing, and just requiring a security deposit to cover occasional damage or missing items. It's ridiculous to charge $59, $69 and $89 to guests when it's not likely that there will ever be big claims filed.

               

              No problem. Guests seem to prefer being charged a refundable security deposit as opposed to a non-refundable PDP policy.

            • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
              crescentbeach4u Community All-Star

              Well.......I stand corrected.

               

              My rates are now showing $49 and up.  I will stop using PDP from this point forward as I was paying it without the customer knowing.  My rates that I charge can not survive an increase.  I might do the self insure option which one guy is doing by just setting the money asside instead of paying CSA.

                • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                  sodamo Contributor

                  Considering what I've read in some the other postings about what isn't covered, seems you might be well ahead by setting the money aside.

                  • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                    mike-dfv Community All-Star

                    crescentbeach4u wrote:

                     

                    Well.......I stand corrected.

                     

                    My rates are now showing $49 and up.  I will stop using PDP from this point forward as I was paying it without the customer knowing.  My rates that I charge can not survive an increase.  I might do the self insure option which one guy is doing by just setting the money asside instead of paying CSA.

                     

                    Exactly! And I have now collected WELL OVER my standard Refundable Security Deposit. So, for any damages caused, I have a greater pool of funds for repair/replacement then I would have if I had only collected my $250 Refundable Security Deposit.

                     

                    I do think it's important to offer a choice still, but it's now the very rare guest who selects the $250 Refundable Security Deposit. Almost everyone goes for the $50 Damage Waiver Fee. Most of the time they tell me something like, "because it seems easier". Also of note, I have as yet to withhold any of the Refundable Security Deposits I've taken anyway, so it really has been extra money in my pocket ... so far ... knock wood. But again, if I ever do have damages where I would withhold from the Deposit, I have more than that built up by the Waiver Fees anyway!

                     

                    Why should some third party get those funds, especially if they have all kinds of reasons to NOT pay. This system is working great for me so far.

                     

                    Mike

                      • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                        crescentbeach4u Community All-Star

                        Thank you Mike,

                         

                        I am implementing your process today.

                         

                        Doug

                        • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                          amirek Contributor

                          Excellent idea! I don't know why it never occurred to me to do the same, as I did something similar with my business a while back. (Ran a 50% discount offer instead of advertising through a service like Living Social, so that I'd not have to pay Living Social their cut of the deal. Less of a loss for me.)

                           

                          Thanks for sharing!

                          • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                            amirek Contributor

                            What is the wording you use to bring up the security deposit or damage waiver in your response to guest inquiries?

                             

                            I just composed this paragraph and inserted it in the permanent wording for inquiry responses:

                             

                            "Your quote includes a security/damage deposit of $250, which would be fully refunded within 7-10 days of your departure, provided there has been no damage and nothing is missing from the bungalow. However, if you prefer, you can opt to purchase a non-refundable Damage Waiver of $50.00. In either case, you are still responsible for damages or missing items if the cost exceeds $250.00."

                             

                            I think this should do the trick. The last sentence was added just in case some brainiac thinks the $50.00 damage waiver is going to cover the cost of his leaving the place trashed...  ;^)

                              • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                mike-dfv Community All-Star

                                I actually send the quote without the Damage Waiver Fee, so it looks something like this (using simple math numbers):

                                 

                                7 Nights: $900.00

                                Cleaning Fee: $100.00

                                Subtotal: $1,000.00

                                10% Tax: $100.00

                                Total: $1,100.00

                                 

                                Then I throw in a paragraph giving them the choice of the $250 Refundable Security Deposit or $50 Damage Waiver Fee, indicating that the DWF is taxable, so it's $56.00 additional total.

                                 

                                Mike

                                  • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                    amirek Contributor

                                    I hadn't thought about doing a quote the way you do. I sent out a quote today and included the damage waiver the same way I include the cleaning fee. I used to add the PDP to every quote, then redo the quote if the client chose the security deposit instead.

                                     

                                    I wish that VRBO would design quotes so that when the guest receives it, if there's an option, like a choice of security deposit, PDP or damage waiver, the client can choose one and send the quote back to show that they want to book the dates they requested with their choice. It would make things a lot easier for owners. As it is, I send the quote with the options, the guest has to let me know what they want, then I redo the quote to show their choice, let them approve it and THEN I send the payment request. It just seems like a lot of extra steps that could be avoided. You'd think that if VRBO can send owners an "interactive" type e-mail, one that allows us to "reply" by clicking on a link in the e-mail, they could come up with something similar for guests, so they can make their choices and save us a step. (I don't know how well I described that...lol.)

                                     

                                    I really appreciate your suggestion of a damage waiver. I've already implemented the idea. Do you have an actual, written waiver, or do you just call it a damage waiver and leave it at that? Just wondering about the legality of charging a damage waiver if there's nothing to document what it is?

                                     

                                    amirek

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                    Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2012 21:09:41 -0500

                                    From: community@homeaway.com

                                    To: patchoulimiss@hotmail.com

                                    Subject: - Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies

                                                                                                                    Seek Advice. Get Answers. Optimize your Vacation Rental Business.

                                                                                                                    Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies

                                     

                                     

                                        created by disneyfunvilla in Deposits, Payments, Fees - View the full discussion

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                    I actually send the quote without the Damage Waiver Fee, so it looks something like this (using simple math numbers): 7 Nights: $900.00Cleaning Fee: $100.00Subtotal: $1,000.0010% Tax: $100.00Total: $1,100.00 Then I throw in a paragraph giving them the choice of the $250 Refundable Security Deposit or $50 Damage Waiver Fee, indicating that the DWF is taxable, so it's $56.00 additional total. Mike

                                     

                                     

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                                      • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                        mike-dfv Community All-Star

                                        The Damage Waiver Fee is a line item I set up in Reservation Manager, just like the Cleaning Fee, so it's in the top section when doing the "Book It" function. It's not a waiver for them to sign. It's waiving the need for them to pay a Security Deposit.

                                         

                                        I've gotten feedback from some other owners that they think guests will feel they are entitled to damage my property if they pay the extra $50 rather than the Refundable Security Deposit. My property has been left in good shape by every guest so far ... knock wood. The worst condition it's been left in was actually by guests who selected the Refundable Security Deposit. Even then, though, it wasn't bad enough for me to withhold any of their funds. I know my luck with good guests will run out eventually, so I'll be happy to have these extra funds on hand.

                                         

                                        Mike

                              • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                gabriel Active Contributor

                                I AM UPSET!!!!

                                 

                                I have many guests coming over the following months and I have already contracted with them the PDP insurance, billed them for the $39-$59 and since I request that all fees be paid 30 days before check in, not when signing the contract (which may be a year earlier), I now have to pay $10-$30 out of my pocket.

                                 

                                Homeaway should be more forthcoming on these things, and let us know ahead of time of any changes, I could have bought all my pending PDP then and changed my pricing going forward.

                                 

                                I AM UPSET!!!!

                                • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                  moltened Contributor

                                  Yeah, I thought it was awfully nervy to just increase the premium by 50% and not inform their regular customers in advance.  I'm advertising their price of $59 and it does not exist anymore.... its $69 for half the coverage.  So for a few bookings I've got to pay up for it myself.

                                   

                                  I'd like to try the damage waiver fee and keep the money to pool it but there always seems to be the one time that you wish you'd had the insurance.  I like the fact that the insurance will cover items like bikes that are included and stolen away from the property.  The insurance would be a good idea when you are forced to take a service animal as well... in the event the animal damages the property.

                                   

                                  I'd sure like to at least replace the insurance company after they way they handled the increase.

                                    • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                      amirek Contributor

                                      Maybe if PDP hears from a group of us about how unhappy we are with the price increases, they'll listen? You'd think that if they notice many of us not buying the insurance anymore, they'd at least look into the issue.

                                       

                                      It may behoove us to charge the same as they are charging for the PDP if we're going to use waivers. When I had clients buy the PDP, I was charging $39 for 1-2 guests, $49 for 3-4 guests, and $59 for 5-6 guests. Per the suggestion by disneyfunvilla, I was going to just charge a non-refundable $50 deposit waiver. But, if PDP can get $49, $69, and $89, maybe we can, too. I've socked away $1000 for incidental damages, and will be adding the deposit waiver fees to that amount to self-insure against big expense damages.

                                       

                                      I carry liability and comprehensive vacation renters insurance on our rental, so if something really awful happens, I can file a claim for it. The security deposit and PDP were mainly for the small things, like guests who spilled nail polish on a brand new quilt or guests who helped themselves to items from the rental when they left.

                                       

                                      It's possible that PDP has seen an increase in incidents of damage and/or theft claims, and that's why they've increased their rates. Then again, they might just be getting a little greedy. It happens.

                                        • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                          Contributor

                                          I too noticed this last week when the same $5k of coverage went up in price by $30.  At first I thought it was suspicious timing because we had just submitted a $200 claim as well (which of course they haven't paid us for yet), but seeing that it is widespread, at least it's not limited to us.

                                           

                                          HomeAway and PDP should be ashamed of themselves.  It's one thing to jack up premiums 50% overnight (and there may be legitimate financial reason to do so), but to do it without any notification to owners is deplorable. The policy premiums are approaching an amount where I'm concerned our guests will not conceded to forking over that much money with no refund, which will pose a huge inconvenience for us.

                                           

                                          Unfortunately we have not yet purchased the remainder of our policies for the summer yet, but already collected the policy amounts from our guests and will not be charging them additionally.  You can bet I'll be vehemently calling PDP today to buy the rest of the policies in bulk while they're still honoring them. 

                                           

                                          Sorry HomeAway / PDP, you really bungled this one.

                                      • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                        old_frog Contributor

                                        I also was displeased when, upon preparing a quote, I learned of the unannounced PDP fee increase.  I do like the comments and suggestions above. 

                                         

                                        As others have posted above, I think I discontinue offering the PDP, and start offering a damage waiver per Mike"s (AKA: disneyfunvilla) or a refundable security depost.

                                         

                                        ON Edit:  In thinking about it, there is probably a better phrase that the new security depsosit waiver fee could be termed.  Aspointed out above, Damage Waiver might imply something not intended if one needs recourse to seek reimbursement for damages.  But, perhaps Security Deposit Waiver (SDW) fee.  Describe it in the covering email as to its' purpose and nature, and simply list it as SDW fee in the qoute.  In practice, it would workmuch the way the current PDP fee is, except that the property owner would sefl insuring and self administering for the small damages.

                                         

                                        Thanks, you have help me sort thorough the unplesant surprise of the unannounced fee increase.  Bob.

                                        • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                          New Member

                                          I have quoted my last PDP.  We found that most guests took the PDP option when presented with either a $100 refundable deposit and a $39 PDP fee OR a $500 refundable deposit.  I'm guessing they just looked at the total and went with the least charge to their credit card.  Since we were having to pay 3% of the $500 deposit, we actually preferred they take the PDP charge.  After a year of no incidents, I will continue to offer the non-refundable damage fee as an option, and just self-insure.  If I had done this all of last year, I would have more held in reserve than the $1500 that the protection offered anyway.  Also, after reading many of the posts about what wouldn't be paid, I don't have any confidence that I would ever see any money from a claim.

                                            • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                              amirek Contributor

                                              I have had to file two claims with PDP. They only paid for one item that was damaged in my first claim, would not pay for the stolen items because I didn't want to file a police report. (Guest stole 2 pillows and a pillow case...didn't want to ruin the individual's record over such small items. There was also blood on a third pillow, that's what PDP paid for--only that item. If you file a claim for missing/stolen items, PDP requires you to file a police report. So, don't expect a claim for a small item to be paid unless you are willing to file a police report.

                                               

                                              PDP also recently paid for a quilt that a client ruined (spilled bright red fingernail polish on it, the quilt was brand new). I submitted photos of the damaged quilt, as well as a copy of the receipt for the quilt, showing I had only purchased it a couple of months ago, and what I had paid. I think it was to my advantage that the receipt (from Overstock.com) actually had a photo of the quilt that was damaged, and the photos matched the photo on the receipt.

                                               

                                              We all have to bear in mind that PDP is a business, like any other. They expect to make a profit. They're supposed to cover incidental damage and missing/stolen items, but I guess they hadn't counted on there being as many dishonest, clumsy, or destructive guests as we seem to encounter in this business. I understand that they have to make money, but I think what they were charging before should have been more than enough to cover claims. Most vacation rental owners don't file claims for small items. I filed claims for the pillows and pillow case because they were not cheap items. And, the quilt I purchased wasn't terribly expensive, but it wasn't cheap, either (plus, it was brand new). Had I required the guests to pay the security deposit, I simply would have held back enough to cover the missing and damaged items, and that would have been that.

                                               

                                              Filing a claim with PDP isn't as simple as you've been led to believe, either. They require a great deal of information about your guest: DOB, several phone numbers, etc. I only used to require a name, address, phone number and e-mail address. Now my contract includes all of the pertinent info to file a claim with PDP.

                                               

                                              I will continue to consider the PDP option, but it concerns me that they make one jump through hoops in order to collect on a claim. If PDP is in any way affiliated with VRBO.com or HomeAway.com, I should think that both websites should require guest inquiries to contain all of the info we need to file a claim, instead of forcing us to obtain all of this info. JMHO.

                                                • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                                  New Member

                                                  Thanks for the additonal information and experience with PDP.  We haven't filed a claim, but have  had small items missing.  We just replaced them and figured it was a cost of doing business. Also, we are only in the property about every third or fourth rental, and housekeeping doesn't see or know everything that should be there. I was thinking that PDP would be good for major damage, but after reading that they wouldn't pay for malicious damage, I'm not sure what value that would have.  I will also look into what my homeowners insurance will cover.

                                                  Thanks for sharing

                                              • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                                Contributor

                                                I'd like to add an additional headache HomeAway has created to this conversation.  Today when attempting to purchase new policies, I chose the lowest level of coverage when normally I choose the highest.  I've always been able to change my choice in coverage on a per policy basis.   Today however, I got a note saying that the amount I chose is not my "default" plan, and was forced into purchasing the highest amount of coverage, which is 50% higher than what my tenants pre-paid for.  So not only are the premiums much higher, but there is now some mystical "default" plan I signed up for that I can't deviate from??

                                                 

                                                And I can't find anything in my listing account that specifies a "default" plan.  So I have no idea how to change it.

                                                Seriously??

                                                 

                                                CAS is getting a nasty call from me today.   Amongst many of my other questions around these changes, my main one is, where is HomeAway in this conversation? Is anyone there listening?

                                                  • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                                    amirek Contributor

                                                    I stopped offering my guests the option of purchasing a PDP plan, but I thought I would keep the option in mind for the future. Reading what you just posted has convinced me that I don't want to bother. First, they raised the prices without telling us, now they're requiring a default PDP plan, also without telling us? That's not the way to garner or keep customers. If anyone should ask me about the PDP plan, I'll be sure to tell them to steer clear of it.

                                                    • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                                      gabriel Active Contributor

                                                      Hi Fishbonelbi:

                                                       

                                                      Call them up, I had the same issue, I offer different levels of coverage depending on length of stay (don't see how to justify a weekend stay paying the highest premium as a week long guest), I called them and they will sell you the coverage requested. Their number (888) 501-3025

                                                       

                                                      They explained that once you select one coverage, it becomes your default, and unless you call them, you cannot change it online. But you can get any level over the phone or ask them to change your new default.

                                                       

                                                      Best of luck,

                                                       

                                                      Gabriel

                                                        • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                                          amirek Contributor

                                                          That sounds like a royal pain. I used to choose the PDP according to the size of the party. If I had 1-2 guests, I charged the lowest PDP. If I had 3-4 guests, the mid-range PDP, and 5-8 guests, the highest PDP. I wouldn't be able to do that now, without calling them. That's wasting a lot of my precious time. Don't need it. There shouldn't be a "default" PDP unless you want to set it up that way. I liked the option to choose what one wanted.

                                                           

                                                          It's a moot point, though. Won't be using them anymore.

                                                      • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                                        scottr Active Contributor

                                                        Had to laugh ....

                                                        I was booking a vacation on HA (not related to my own HA listing) and got an automated email response from my inquiry.  The email said I shoudl consider the PDP starting at just $39.  When you follow the link for more information, you get a page that explains the PDP plans starting at just $49!!!    Doesn't look like HA orchestrated that price change very well.   Obviously.   Scott

                                                        • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                                          New Member

                                                          Home Away has done it again.  Our season is just starting, and I have previously included the Property Damage Protection fees, for $49 and without notice to anyone, they are now $69.  As a stockholder in this company, I can certainly tell you they are treating their customers badly and as a stockholder, this is very shortsighted and DUMB.  I really don't know how much more they expect the owners or stockholders to put up with this nonsense.

                                                            • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                                              amirek Contributor

                                                              Maybe they have decided to stop offering the PDP, and this is their way of backing out. It's surely losing them customers. I stopped offering the PDP after the first rate hike. Not worth it, in my opinion, particularly given the hoops we have to go through to collect when guests take things or damage property. I only use security deposits now, since it seems that every other guest has done something or other requiring me to charge them. Missing items, mostly small ones, is my biggest issue, and  not about to file a police report over missing towels, but I do need to be compensated for them.

                                                               

                                                              --

                                                              Leslie Ray

                                                              Sent From My iPhone

                                                                • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                                                  scottr Active Contributor

                                                                  We dropped the PDP and went to just security deposits also.  We were offering the option of a lower security deposit and the PDP fee, or a higher security deposit.  Most guests took the lower deposit and PDP fee.  Since we dropped the PDP option, we went to a more typical security deposit and so far, no objections.

                                                                  Scott

                                                                    • Re: increased fees for Property Damage Protection policies
                                                                      amirek Contributor

                                                                      That's been our experience, as well. My initial concern was that guests would be put off if I had to subtract for charges of missing items, but it's not been an issue so far. I think as long as you are good about keeping track of your inventory, they can't really make a fuss. (I inventory after each guest leaves.)

                                                                       

                                                                      --

                                                                      Leslie Ray

                                                                      Sent From My iPhone