Vacation rental protection plans aren’t all created equal, and as a short-term property manager, you have unique considerations when it comes to protecting your properties. Some see channel offerings like HomeAway’s Damage Protection product as ample coverage for their rentals, but they aren’t as comprehensive as you might think.
In partnership with CSA Travel Protection, HomeAway presents its Damage Protection offering to travelers booking on HomeAway sites. This is a reasonable safety net for guests, and as a property manager, it can be easy to mistake this as comprehensive coverage for your properties.
But, it differs in many ways to a traditional vacation rental damage protection insurance offering.
We’ll look at how HomeAway’s Damage Protection and vacation rental insurance compare.
What makes HomeAway’s Damage Protection unique?
One major difference between vacation rental insurance and HomeAway’s Damage Protection plan is HomeAway’s product is designed to only cover travelers during their stay - rather than property managers or owners.
For a $59 fee paid to HomeAway, the renter is granted $1,500 of coverage for the duration of their stay to help minimize their potential out-of-pocket costs in case of accidental damages.
It should be noted that HomeAway’s Damage Protection isn’t necessarily meant to replace the security deposit. As their FAQ explains to guests: “By paying a small fee for Damage Protection you can safeguard your security deposit refund.” Meaning, in addition to a security deposit, Damage Protection can be purchased by guests to avoid losing a portion or the entirety of a deposit if damages are to occur.
That message underscores a second misunderstanding about this product and one of its drawbacks: it’s the guest, not you or the property itself, who is insured. While either party can file a claim in case of damage, it’s the guest who is the policyholder. This can lead to difficulties in receiving compensation if your guest doesn’t acknowledge responsibility for the damage.
How does vacation rental insurance differ?
In general, vacation rental insurance guards a vacation rental in case of accidental damage - accidents that can easily happen during a short-term stay, such as damaged furniture, broken windows or lost keys. While pricing varies by coverage levels, a small fee of under $100 can pay for thousands of dollars worth of coverage.
Like HomeAway’s Damage Protection, vacation rental insurance also covers damage to your property and its contents, but with a few significant differences.
First, unlike the HomeAway offering, the property itself - not the guest - is insured with insurance. In this case, the property manager purchases insurance coverage from an underwriter and can optionally have guests pay a damage waiver to cover the duration of their stay.
While this difference may seem slight, it determines the ease of receiving compensation when accidental damages inevitably occur.
Another key difference is that property managers can fully rely on vacation rental insurance to protect their properties, rather than collecting a security deposit in addition to a nonrefundable channel fee. This is important because not only are security deposits an administrative hassle, but they can artificially inflate your rates within channels and can cause booking friction.
Purchasing vacation rental insurance provides you coverage that fills the gaps in HomeAway’s Damage Protection while also:
- Protecting your properties across all channels. Relying on HomeAway or another listing site’s products limit your protected bookings to one platform, which hinders your reach and hamstrings performance.
- Fulfilling claims in a timely manner. Because your properties are covered during a stay, you don’t have to worry about guests taking responsibility for damage or trudging through drawn out mediation to make amends. You simply file a claim and receive your rightful recompense.
- Eliminating the need for a security deposit. Renters would rather pay a damage waiver fee than a larger, refundable sum for a security deposit. Daunting security deposits make travelers rethink their plans to book with you, as many can’t shoulder the large credit hold. Insurance gives your guests an option that doesn’t financially burden them with coverage you can feel confident about as well.
Just as important, vacation rental insurance is a solution that can scale as your vacation rental business grows. Insurance saves you the inconvenience of processing different forms of coverage across your channel management strategy, rather than using a unique, channel-exclusive insurance alternative.
Introducing Damage Protection by Assurant
Purchasing damage protection insurance helps both parties have the best of both worlds - protection without the hassle. And if you manage your property using the MyVR platform, you can easily add Damage Protection by Assurant across all your listings on all channels in a matter of minutes. Once Damage Protection is configured and turned on, it is automatically applied to all new incoming bookings.