Collecting a security deposit from guests has long been part of the routine for property managers and owners; but over the past few years, purchasing vacation rental insurance has become an increasingly popular - and beneficial - option.
For one, vacation rental insurance can help you perform better on listing channels. Why? Here’s a look at what damage protection insurance for your rental properties has to offer and why you should include it on new bookings.
When security deposits keep guests away
The deposit versus insurance debate is about finding the balance between two goals: increasing bookings and protecting your property. But what if that protection serves as a deterrent to performance?
Whether it’s a payment made up front or a large hold on a credit card, many travelers find a security deposit daunting. It can create friction in the booking process and/or make potential guests think twice about booking your property. Security deposits can also:
- Increase your nightly rate significantly. Security deposits vary, but deposits of $250-$500 per stay or 10 percent of the rental fee aren’t unusual. Some channels even lump the security deposit into the nightly price renters see, making your property appear more expensive than others that don’t require a deposit. What’s more, the additional funds required for a deposit can take a guest well above their existing travel budget.
- Start your relationship from a place of distrust. To some guests, a security deposit signals that you don’t trust them. At the same time, it also forces them to decide whether they trust you. It’s your discretion whether the funds will be returned to them and they may have little recourse if you do decide to hold some or all of it.
- Feel unwelcoming. Accidents can happen despite a person’s best efforts. Between the extra funds, the lack of trust and the stress of avoiding any accidents during their stay, potential guests can be left feeling scrutinized before they’ve even make a booking.
- Result in unwarranted negative reviews. If you decide to withhold part of a guest’s security deposit due to damage, there’s a good chance your guest will be unhappy. While you may receive an authentic grade, it is more likely that your guest will mention the withheld deposit, hurting your channel rating and your attractiveness to future travelers. Reviews are like currency in this competitive vacation rental market, and disputes over withheld security deposits can get ugly.
Behind the scenes on listing channels, if a guest clicks on your property then backs out - maybe because they’re debating whether to pay your security deposit or find an alternative vacation rental - that bounce can negatively impact your listing’s performance.
Given the choice, roughly 80 percent of renters would rather pay a small, non-refundable damage waiver than a larger, refundable deposit that needs to be paid up front or held against their available credit.
Damage protection insurance: a more predictable and affordable option
Offering damage protection insurance is an easier way to protect your property while avoiding the friction of disputes and guest frustration.
First, you get better coverage for your property. While guests may balk at a security deposit of $500, the cost to repair any real damage could easily go well beyond that.
With damage protection insurance on the other hand, it’s relatively inexpensive to be covered for an amount well above a typical security deposit. And what’s even better, you don’t have to deal with the administrative hassle of returning security deposits - whether they’re in full or in part.
This is good news for your guests too, as no deposit means lower costs for them. Guests benefit from avoiding a several hundred dollar hold on their credit card, which - even if it is refundable - can put financial pressure on their vacation.
With damage protection insurance, travelers are free to book your property without hesitation or fear of losing a deposit.
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.
It takes less than ten minutes to set up Damage Protection by Assurant, and once it is configured and turned on, it's automatically applied to all new incoming bookings.