Friday, April 17, 2009

Homelidays offers Holiday Insurance to Renters



Do the renters of your vacation property buy travel insurance? Homelidays recently launched a travel insurance option called the "Carefree Package" and provides insurance for the renter against

  • Cancellation (refund of deposit up to Euro 350 per day)
  • Early departure due to medical problems etc
  • Repatriation in the event of illness
  • Damage to the holiday home
  • "Surprise proof" insurance

I think this is quite an interesting offering and it costs about 5% of the rental fee. Although many renters avail of travel insurance that would cover the first three items, the last two are of particular interest for vacation rental owners.

Unfortunately, the Damage insurance does not cover deliberate to your vacation property by the renter! This is one of the main areas of risk that vacation rental owners have, as one destructive renter can seriously impact your profits from renting, as well as damaging your vacation home.

Instead,the Damage insurance is mainly targeted at injuries that the renter might incur while staying at your vacation property. It is possilbe that some owners may already have insurance for this and, depending on your travel insurance policy, the renter may already be covered anyway.

The really interesting aspect of the Carefree Package is the "Surprise proof" insurance. This tries to address one of the main concerns that renters have when renting directly from owners: will the vacation rental property live up to it's description when they actually arrive?

Subject to certain exclusions, this allows the renter to get back any money they have paid if the vacation property is substantially different from what was advertised. This might just be the peace of mind that many prospective renters need to make the jump away from traditional hotels and rent directly from owners.

For those renters who don't want to pay extra, smart owners might consider building it into their price and then offering it for free.

It will also be interesting to see if other vacation rental by owner sites respond by offering similar insurance packages. Homelidays is now owned by the same group (the WVR Group) that owns Homeaway and so it part of the largest vacation rentals business that exists. No doubt, other Homeaway sites will also add insurance, if it is a success on Homelidays. I would be very interested to hear comments from owners of other sites about their plans in this area.

(One specific exclusion is fraud perpetrated by the leaseholder: it would be interesting if they could also offer a similar insurance to owners against fraudulent renters, which continue to be a problem.)

You can find out more directly on the Homelidays site.

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