Floor damage is one of the hardest things to deal with in a home. It’s expensive to repair, difficult to hide or work around, and just plain frustrating. Having this kind of damage in a vacation rental home can be even worse, especially if someone else caused it!
What can you do about Airbnb vacation rental floor damage?
- Pick durable materials
- Be sure you’re covered by insurance
- Choose whether you allow pets and children
- Try to settle damages with the guest first
- Contact Airbnb
Before you go any further, be sure to check out Rental Recon’s TOP vacation rental insurance agency, Proper Insurance, who specialize in vacation rental insurance!
Choosing Durable Materials
If you have the luxury of choosing your flooring, go with something long-lasting and scratch resistant! There are lots of brands that specifically manufacture flooring to withstand pets, warping, cracking, and more, so give these a try if at all possible!
If you’re not able to get a brand new floor, sometimes a new coat of polyurethane or another sealant can protect your floors better in the short term. You may need to refinish every few years, but won’t have to do a costly whole-house floor replacement!
My best tip: don’t allow guests to move the furniture! You wouldn’t believe the configurations people have tried out in my Airbnb, and every time something gets scooched across the room it leaves another scratch. Just say NO to guests wanting to move anything in your rental!
Are you covered by insurance?
Hands down, your best bet for protecting yourself against any kind of damage is choosing a quality short term rental insurance agency. Without the protection offered by these specialized services, you’re at the mercy of Airbnb, your guests, and your homeowners insurance policy. Spoiler alert: if your homeowners insurance finds out you’re renting out your home, they may cancel your policy entirely!
While there are other ways to try to get reimbursed for damage caused by a guest, the only guaranteed and secure option is through a legitimate insurance company.
Some third party rental services, such as Airbnb, offer their own version of insurance for their hosts. This typically is not enough, and you’ll definitely need an official policy to be fully covered. Your “regular” insurance won’t be able to help you, as you’re now considered a commercial business instead of a private residence.
So where can you turn? I highly recommend Proper Insurance. They were founded by experienced insurance industry veterans specifically to serve hosts and owners of short term rentals. Unlike some other agencies, they only offer this type of insurance policy, so you know you’re dealing with experts!
Getting started with Proper is quick and easy. In fact, you can get a quote in less than five minutes on their website! Be sure to check them out and see if they’re a good fit for your needs. They offer several customizable options, so there’s sure to be one for you!
Choose Whether You Allow Pets and Children
This is always a hot-button issue among vacation rental hosts. To allow pets, or not to allow pets? What about children? How many is too many? Should you make exceptions? Are they really more likely to cause issues than the average guest?
For more and more people these days, travelling without their furry friend is out of the question. Hotels are starting to become more accommodating to pets, as are lots of businesses. Should you allow them in your Airbnb? The answer: if you’re comfortable with them!
It seems to be a tossup among hosts as to whether or not pets actually end up causing more damage than usual. Yes, there is the issue of hair and allergens. Yes, they are probably more likely to scratch up your floors. But in the big picture, a lot of this is just normal wear and tear.
The other issue is that you’re not allowed to deny service animals from your Airbnb (with very few extreme exceptions), and lots of people have service animals nowadays. If these are already there, what’s the harm in a few more? Personally, I don’t see it as a dealbreaker, and I like the great reviews from guests who are happy to be able to bring their companions along.
Children are sort of in the same boat. Messier than adults? Sometimes. More likely to damage things? Could be! But not all adults are clean, tidy, and courteous either. Many families aren’t able to travel without their kids, so I don’t really see the point in not allowing them in an Airbnb. Just make sure you’re clear on your rules!
Whether you choose to allow pets or children is up to you, of course, and some people do feel that prohibiting both of them saves their vacation rental from excessive damage. You might have to find out for yourself, though, as the jury is still out!
Rental Recon Tip: While allowing more damage-prone guests like children and animals can seem unappealing to some, remember that it greatly broadens your prospective guest pool and makes you that much more competitive in your area. I recommend giving it a try if you haven’t already!
Try to Settle Damages with the Guest First
Even if you have great insurance coverage, it doesn’t hurt to try to collect payment from the guest before you go through the hassle of filing a claim. Many guests are readily willing to admit if they caused any damage to your property, and politely requesting that they reimburse you should be a smooth process.
If you’re using Airbnb, they have a built-in Request Money feature in the guest chat interface. You can use this to collect payment from the guest, ideally before they have left your vacation rental.
Whether or not the guest is compliant, you should carefully document the damage by taking pictures and videos in detail. If you do end up needing to make a claim to Airbnb or your insurance, they’ll definitely need some proof of what happened!
If you and the guest are able to settle things, great! If not, it’s time to contact both your insurance company and your booking company to try to sort things out. This can be a lengthy process, but having everything prepared on your end can help things go more smoothly.
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Contact Airbnb if All Else Fails
If you use Airbnb to host, you’ll be pleased to know that they offer a few services to their customers in order to protect them from liability and damage. Their Host Guarantee is sort of like a built-in insurance policy for hosts that allows you to get reimbursed if there wasn’t a security deposit (or if the damage exceeds the security deposit you had set).
Taking advantage of the Host Guarantee in the case of damage to your Airbnb’s floors will involve collecting enough evidence, just like we discussed above. Photos should suffice, and it wouldn’t hurt to have an invoice or estimate from a contractor to prove the repair cost.
You’ll then have to file a claim through Airbnb’s Resolution Center where you’ll present your evidence, at which point Airbnb will try to contact the guest and request money from them. They do still have the option to decline, but if they are truly liable for the damage Airbnb is able to collect from them anyways.
While it’s great that Airbnb has these free services available to their hosts, there isn’t any type of true guarantee as to the outcomes you can expect. For this, you’ll need real vacation rental insurance. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Proper Insurance today!