25 Replies Latest reply: Feb 5, 2020 7:31 PM by calicalling RSS

    Best Practices for CSA Claim

    calicalling Active Contributor

      Had some recent guests who did quite a lot of damage to our home and left a huge mess. You may have seen my post on FB, but it occured to me that this is the better place to ask VRBO/HA specific questions.

       

      I use a 'self-insurance' fee and also collect a damage deposit.

       

      These guests purchased the CSA insurance when it was offered directly by VRBO/HA. I know I cannot file for the cleaning or smoking against rules.

       

      But I'm looking for best practices for filing a successful claim for the damages. I've reached out to my account manager but haven't heard back. Hoping all the wise ones in this group can point me in the right direction for best practices as I file.

       

      So far I have reached out to the guest to let them know we found damage and will need to file ... But that they don't need to do anything right away. I let them know that they will likely need to communicate with the insurer to let them know that the damage was accidental,  not intentional.


      Any other best practices? I tried reading the fine print of the policy but I can't seem to access it without filing the claim first.


       

        • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
          wildiris Senior Contributor

          Your guest is the insured, not you.  As I understand it, they will have to file the claim with CSA for them to be reimbursed for what you withhold from the damage deposit.  Here's a link to HomeAway's page about CSA property damage insurance.https://help.homeaway.com/articles/What-is-Damage-Protection

          • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
            green_mango Active Contributor

            I've had to file a few claims with CSA - as owner, I filed the claims myself.  Time is important - I don't remember, but you have a certain amount of time in which to file and then can add additional documentation (receipts for reimbursement etc..).    I'd just get the claim started - sooner the better.

            • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
              sage Senior Contributor

              You say you "use a 'self-insurance' fee and also collect a damage deposit." Perhaps you should explain that arrangement.

                • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
                  calicalling Active Contributor

                  I charge guests a varying fee of $59-$99 per reservation (I call it a fee, not insurance, tho, since I am not an insurance company and my understanding is that there are strict legalities to calling something 'insurance') which I hold as a repair fund for damage, both intentional and not. Fee varies depending on property type and size.

                   

                  I also charge a security deposit of $500-$1000 per reservation so that guests have skin in the game.

                   

                  They did poop in the hot tub and cause additional cleaning costs to both the home and the amenities, so its good that i have multiple coverages.

                    • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
                      wildiris Senior Contributor

                      What does your rental agreement say about your "self-insurance fee?"  By charging your guest a "self-insurance fee," you may be precluded from charging your guest for the cost of clean-up or damages in excess of your damage deposit.  That's usually what "self-insured" means. 

                        • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
                          calicalling Active Contributor

                          Please read my reply to sage. "I call it a fee, not insurance, tho, since I am not an insurance company and my understanding is that there are strict legalities to calling something 'insurance.'


                          Guests do not get any explanation as to why they are charged this fee.

                            • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
                              wildiris Senior Contributor

                              The point of charging guests a "self insurance fee" is for you to set-aside the funds that you collect from each of your guests to cover any losses that may incur.  You are, in effect, acting as your own insurance company.  I don't know what your rental agreement says regarding the circumstances under which you may withhold money from the guest's damage deposit.  If your rental agreement provisions permit you to withhold money from the damage deposit for additional cleaning, then you may withhold the amount of additional charges that you had to pay to clean the hot tub after these guests left.  If the cost of the additional cleaning exceeds the amount of the guest's damage deposit, then you should reimburse yourself from the monies that you have been collecting from all of your guests as "self insurance."

                               

                              You are not the insured under the CSA policy.  If you withhold money from the damage deposit for additional cleaning, your guest may be able to seek reimbursement from his CSA policy, not you.  Note the language from the HomeAway/CSA "Help" page - "If a damage deposit is withheld or more money is owed due to property damage, damage protection can help you be reimbursed."  The "you' is the guest, not the owner.

                          • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
                            bonesxxx Active Contributor

                            Wait a second... hold on there... wha??? Did you say they "pooped in the hot tub?" !!!!

                             

                            I'm sorry but how did everyone get hung up on the self-insurance issue and miss that?  I'd be horrified... mortified, even.

                             

                            I am not on Facebook so you must indulge us with more details.  They sound like guests from hell.

                             

                            In any event, I'd withhold every penny you collected AND go after the CSA policy although the literal $1,000,000 question is 'How are they going to claim to CSA that pooping in the hot tub was not intentional"?

                             

                            YIKES

                          • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
                            wildiris Senior Contributor

                            This is the claims form that is linked to the CSA help page for travelers.  Many owners really don't understand the CSA property damage protection.  The guest is the insured, not the owner.  Take a look at the first paragraph of the "Help" page that explains the CSA insurance:

                            What is accidental damage protection?

                            Damage protection insurance provides travelers with coverage for accidental damage that could occur to a rental property during their stay. Our damage protection insurance is offered through CSA, part of Generali Global Assistance. If a damage deposit is withheld or more money is owed due to property damage, damage protection can help you be reimbursed. We recommend damage protection if you are traveling with children, pets, or in a group. You must purchase damage protection at least 24 hours before check-in.

                             

                            (emphasis added)

                          • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
                            calicalling Active Contributor

                            Thanks, again, everyone for the advice and opinions.

                             

                            I'm going to update with some details for the sake of clarity, to make the process easier for owners who might search this topic and to save others the extremely long time suck required to speak to a human at the CSA office.

                             

                            HOW TO FILE A CLAIM ON A GUEST-PURCHASED CSA POLICY:

                            Yes, owners/managers can submit a claim on behalf of the guest on a policy that guests purchased. The form to complete to do so is here: https://www.propertydamageprotection.com/pdf/HAClaimForm.pdf

                             

                            If that link no longer works, try going to: https://www.propertydamageprotection.com/

                            Scroll down to the menu on the bottom of the far right-hand side of the page.

                            Click on 'Learn More"

                            Click on "Fast and Easy Claims" (while trying not to laugh at the irony)

                            Click on "Download Claim Form Now," listed under item 1.

                             

                            If all else fails, message me and I will send you a copy via email.

                             

                            I was told by CSA CS that you can actually use the Guest form, but the form I have described above is for owners/managers when the Guest is the policyholder.

                             

                            To reach CS at CSA, call 1.800.349.8218 . I was told that using the following options: 3,2,0  will help you get to an agent faster-- but I spent 58 minutes on hold so ... The better option is to have them call you back, which they claim will take less than an hour but actually took 1 hour 45 minutes on a second call.


                            Will continue to update as this excitement unfolds. ;-) 




                             

                              • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
                                wildiris Senior Contributor

                                Thanks for the information - it's very interesting.  Even though the form is addressed to the "Policyholder," CSA is permitting the vacation rental owner to complete and submit the form.  May I ask why you're going to all this trouble?  Why not just withhold the money for the additional cleaning from the guest's damage deposit and let the guest seek reimbursement from his CSA policy?

                                  • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
                                    calicalling Active Contributor

                                    1. Because this is a service industry.

                                    2. Because there is a language barrier that would likely prevent the guest from being able to jump through these intentionally bundensome hoops in order to be reimbursed.

                                      • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
                                        wildiris Senior Contributor

                                        Yes, vacation rentals are a service industry.  I strive to provide outstanding service to my guests.  From one of your posts in another thread, I understand that you are a property manager.  In addition to providing excellent service to guests, I assume that you also want to provide excellent service to the owners of the vacation rentals that you manage.  You posted that these guests "did quite a lot of damage to our home and left a huge mess."  You later posted that the guests pooped in the hot tub.   Defecating in the hot tub is beyond disgusting.  I'm not sure whether these guests were staying at a vacation rental that you own or at one that you manage.  These guests have demonstrated utter disregard for the owner of this vacation rental - whether the owner is you or one of your clients.


                                        One of the main purposes of a damage deposit is to provide an incentive for guests to take good care of a vacation rental.  These guests behaved abominably.  By making it easy for these guests to be reimbursed for their damage deposit (without them having to do the work, no less) you're doing a disservice to the owner of this vacation rental as well as a disservice to the owner of the next vacation rental that these pigs book.  Frankly, I hope that CSA finds that this was an intentional act and denies coverage.  These guests need to learn that there are negative consequences for their bad behavior.

                                  • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
                                    sage Senior Contributor

                                    I hope you have had an attorney review your rental agreement regarding that 'self-insurance' fee and your use of a damage deposit. That "Guests do not get any explanation" of this fee suggests potential problems. The concerns of are spot on.

                                     

                                    Note that it is unlikely that the CSA coverage would be of any value for remediating the poop in the hot tub or other damage if it was intentional. If it was an accident, then CSA might cover it, The reactions here of other owners seems to reflect a presumption that these were malicious acts rather than embarassing accidents.

                                      • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
                                        calicalling Active Contributor

                                        Thanks so much for your concern... if you and wildiris are concerned that charging a Resort Fee and using it for repairs might cause issues, the simple solution is to not use this method for your own rentals.


                                        My rental agreement (which guests must sign as a condition of their continued reservation) allows me to retain the damage deposit (and in fact, charge amounts in addition to the damage deposit) for a variety of issues including cleaning/repair/staff response/etc.


                                        Yes, I've read the T&C of the guests' CSA policy closely and am in full understanding of the requirements for a succesful claim. I feel confident that the damages were accidental, based on the observable evidence. The guest will likely also need to confirm that the damage was accidental, and I have already initiated that conversation with the guest.



                                          • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
                                            wildiris Senior Contributor

                                            calicalling wrote:

                                             

                                            Thanks so much for your concern... if you and wildiris are concerned that charging a Resort Fee and using it for repairs might cause issues, the simple solution is to not use this method for your own rentals.

                                            This is the first time that you have referred to the fee as a "Resort Fee."  In your original post you said, "I use a 'self-insurance' fee and also collect a damage deposit."  Sage and I were just trying to point out for your benefit and the benefit of other Community members that there could be problems for owners who charge a "self-insurance fee." 

                                              • Re: Best Practices for CSA Claim
                                                calicalling Active Contributor

                                                Yah, actually I did point out twice yesterday that I do not call it insurance but rather call it a fee: once in a response to you and once in response sage

                                                 

                                                "I call it a fee, not insurance, tho, since I am not an insurance company and my understanding is that there are strict legalities to calling something 'insurance.'

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