Aircover by Airbnb: Pros and Cons

Aircover

Ten years ago, Airbnb brought in the $1M Host Guarantee program. Under this, you were protected from all guest-related liabilities. Like any program, there were a few things that hosts wanted to be included in the program. The last few years have proven that there is nothing certain. First a pandemic then a war, uncertainties have only been ramping up. It is now more important than ever to make sure that you are protected against all liabilities or at least most liabilities.

Airbnb has now come up with a blanket protection program called the Aircover. This is essentially a step up from the host guarantee program. It is important to remember that Aircover is not an insurance but a protection program. Getting your property insured from a certified vacation rental insurance program is always advisable. Your general landlord insurance might not protect you from the liabilities of a vacation rental.

What is Aircover?

Aircover is free comprehensive protection included with every booking. It provides $1M host liability insurance, $1M experiences liability insurance, and $1M host damage protection. This covers pet damage, deep cleaning, and more.

Aircover

Host Damage Protection

This is also known as host damage protection. It provides hosts with $1M in coverage in the rare events that your property is damaged by guests.

What is covered by this?

  1. Damage to your property or belongings by guests
  2. Cleaning costs due to guests
  3. Loss of income due to damage caused by guests
  4. Pet damage protection

How to claim it?

  1. Gather evidence of the damage.
  2. File an Aircover for Hosts request through their resolution center within 14 days of checkout
  3. Your guest will review for 24 hours and decide if they want to pay or not.
  4. If they decline to pay, you’ll be transferred to Airbnb support. The request will be resolved within 30 days of the damage.

Host liability insurance

Host liability provides you with $1M in coverage if guests get hurt or their belongings get stolen or damaged while at your property. This protects you from liabilities towards your guests.

What is covered by this?

  1. Physical injury to guests
  2. Damage or theft of guest belongings
  3. Damage caused by guests to public property or common areas

How to claim it?

  1. Fill out the liability insurance intake form
  2. Your information will be sent to Airbnb’s insurer
  3. You will be connected to a representative who will work with you to resolve your issue.

Experiences liability insurance

Airbnb experiences are in-person or online activities that local experts host for their guests. These go beyond typical tours or classes to immerse guests in the local experience. The experience liability insurance provides you with $1M if your guests get hurt or have their belongings damaged or stolen in the middle of an experience.

What is covered by this?

  1. Physical injury to guests
  2. Damage or theft of guest belongings
  3. Damage caused by guests to public property or common areas

How to claim it?

  1. Fill out the liability insurance intake form
  2. Your information will be sent to Airbnb’s insurer
  3. You will be connected to a representative who will work with you to resolve your issue.

Pros and Cons of Aircover

Now, diving into Aircover. This initiative is a step towards making hosts happy! However, there are pros and cons to this initiative.

Pros of Aircover

#1 Smoking and cleaning coverage

Say a guest comes in and smokes thick on your property. You are now left with a smoke-filled property to be ready by tomorrow for another guest. Cleaning fees will skyrocket to remove the smoke odor from your property.

If you can provide actual proof of the problem such as photos of the damage, the amount that it will cost you, or the expensive team that you will have to assemble, Airbnb will now cover your cleaning charges.

#2 Pet protection

The point to note here is that with host guarantee did not involve pet protection earlier. Hosts have earlier mentioned that they had to mince their words when it came to damage to their property by pets. But now you need not!

You do not accept pets on your property, but your guest shows up with one! You will be protected by Airbnb and compensated for your pet charges. That same pet eats your sofa for lunch? You will be protected by Aircover.

#3 14-day timeline

Even under the host guarantee program, you had 14 days to report your damages. The catch, however, was that you had to report before another guest checked into your property. The argument was that there was no certain way to know if the damage was caused by the previous guest or the guest currently staying on your property. With Aircover, you now have 14-days after check-out time to report damage even if a guest checked into your property during that time.

Once you contact the Airbnb resolution center about the damage, they will get you in touch with the guest. They will have 24 hours to review your request and get back with a decision. If they pay, it is always amazing. However, if they don’t, Airbnb will step in.

The issue here is that guests might leave you a bad review during their review of the damage. You can, however, work around this. Collect all evidence of damage and have it in a draft. Cushion your guest into leaving a good review after they check out. Once they’ve left you a good review, send the evidence for review. This way, you can protect yourself from a bad review. Another point to remember here is that guests can edit their review if you have not replied to that review yet. Make sure that you respond and cement the review before accelerating the damage.

Let’s look at an example, a guest stayed at your property for 3 days and 2 nights. During their stay, they managed to smoke heavily and pollute the air.

What steps do you take here?

  1. Analyze the air quality in their room. Use any machine available in the market to make the analysis and file the observation somewhere safe.
  2. Are there nicotine stains anywhere? Photograph them.
  3. Are there cigarette butts anywhere in the room? Store them and photograph them.

After you’ve done all of this. You need to go and report it. The first thing to do here is to check if the guest has left a review for your property.

Review Message Template
Hello {Guest name},

We are glad we got the opportunity to host you at our property. We also hope that you were satisfied with your time at our humble accommodation.

Please take a few minutes off your schedule to leave us a review. Your review will help us serve other travelers like you and also make necessary improvements to our property.

Please be as honest as possible and give us a review from your heart!

Thank you.

Regards,
{Your accommodation sign}

Now, let’s imagine, they have left you a review. As we mentioned before, it is important for you to cement the review. Once you reply to that review they would not be able to edit it after you raise a query.

Response review template
Hello {Guest name}.

Thank you for your kind words. We are glad to have gotten the opportunity to host you. We hope you would choose our stay the next time you visit our city.

Thank you.

#4 Priority for Superhosts

You have put a lot of effort into becoming an Airbnb superhost. You already enjoy a lot of benefits. Another benefit that Airbnb is bringing to you is fastrack support. Both superhosts and other hosts are going to go through the same process. But you will be given priority in getting your issues resolved.

#5 Lost income policy

This is probably one of the most talked-about policies under Aircover. Let’s say that a guest came in and broke a pipe. You are forced to shut down your property and take care of the broken pipe. Because of a guest liability, you’ve been forced to cancel bookings and lose income. Aircover will cover you for the lost bookings.

The important point to note here is that Airbnb will cover you only for bookings on Airbnb and not other platforms. If you’ve had to cancel a booking on Airbnb because of guest liability that was caused because of a booking on Airbnb, you would be covered.

Cons of Aircover

#1 Damage cap for properties

Let’s look at the cleaning compensation first. Assume that your property is a one-bedroom flat, a small property. Then your cleaning charges would also be less. So Airbnb’s cleaning coverage would cover your costs. The same amount would not be sufficient for a large property, say a three-bedroom condo. Your cleaning charges would also be high. Airbnb’s cleaning charges might not be sufficient for you.

Airbnb’s one-size-fits-all policy might not be able to cover the diverse needs of every type of host and type of property. The same goes for the loss of income policy. A larger property would be booked far out for mid-term or longer-term bookings. For them, it would be easier to claim the lost income protection.

If your property is smaller, you would majorly receive last-minute bookings. For you getting the claim may not be feasible. If you don’t have future bookings during the time of the damage, Aircover does not cover your loss of income.

Airbnb’s aircover comes after Vrbo and Vacasa came out with their $1M liability insurance policies. While there are differences between each platform’s insurance or protection policies, it is important to remember that you need to have property insurance over and above these protection programs. If you have a listing on Airbnb, you are automatically covered by Aircover. You can, however, opt out whenever you want. Simply send Airbnb an email, and you will be able to opt-out of the program.

One way to ensure that everything is communicated even before guest books a stay is to make your listing proper. You can follow various Airbnb hosting tips and tricks to add another armor to your arsenal. Make sure to be on top of everything and maintain proper evidence of all the damage on your property. Let’s hope you never have to avail these protection and insurance policies. Even then, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

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