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When an Airbnb host opens their home to renters, they are also opening their home to risks. Although it is rare, some hosts have had issues with guests stealing property from their Airbnb rental property.
Whether a host rents out their actual home or a separate unit just for guests, the risk of theft is present. Airbnb hosts have had guests steal anything from jewelry to washcloths or even TVs right off the wall.
If you are an Airbnb host and believe that a guest has stolen property from your rental, there are a few steps you should take to protect yourself and your property.
What Happens if an Airbnb Guest Steals?
If you believe that an Airbnb guest has stolen from your rental property, you should first document the stolen items. Contact the police to file a report, as Airbnb will ask for this. Most importantly, contact Airbnb to file a claim before your next guest stays at your rental property. Be polite to Airbnb as they can easily kill your claim if you are rude.
Does Airbnb Protect Hosts if a Guest Steals?
Airbnb provides hosts with two protection programs: the Airbnb Host Guarantee and Host Protection Insurance. These programs protect hosts and their property; however, they have many terms, conditions, and exclusions.
Airbnb’s Host Guarantee
Airbnb’s Host Guarantee is property damage protection. Airbnb provides each host with up to $1,000,000 USD in coverage if a guest damages a rental property. Host Guarantee covers:
- Damage to your place caused by guests
- Damage to your belongings caused by guests
- Damage caused by a guest’s assistance animal
- Theft under certain circumstances
Host Guarantee is NOT an insurance policy, and not all damage is covered. Host Guarantee will not cover:
- Theft of cash and securities like savings bonds or stock certificates
- Damage from ordinary wear and tear
- Bodily injury or property damage to guests or others
Even the covered damages under this protection program are subject to terms, conditions, and exclusions. To receive reimbursement, hosts are subjected to a lengthy request process through the Airbnb Resolution Center.
Airbnb’s Host Guarantee does not cover all theft, so hosts are still left open to the risk of losing their property.
Host Protection Insurance
Airbnb offers hosts a Host Protection Insurance policy. This policy provides hosts with legal liability coverage up to $1,000,000 USD. Host Protection Insurance MAY cover:
- A host’s legal responsibility for bodily injury to guests or others
- A host’s legal responsibility for damage to property belonging to guests or others
- A host’s legal responsibility for damage to common areas, like building lobbies and neighboring properties, caused by a guest or others
Like the Host Guarantee, this policy is subject to terms, conditions, and exclusions.
HOST PROTECTION INSURANCE DOES NOT PROTECT A HOST FROM THEFT.
How Do I Protect Myself if a Guest Steals from My Rental Properties?
Even if you take all precautions available, there is still a chance that a guest may steal property from your Airbnb, so you need to be protected. The best way to cover yourself and your property in the event of theft is to have a comprehensive, dedicated short-term rental insurance policy that covers the theft of personal belongings.
Proper Insurance is one of the few insurance companies that offer comprehensive vacation rental policies that will cover you and your property if a guest steals from your Airbnb.
Proper Insurance will cover your rental property and all the contents as a business in commercial form. This allows Proper insurance to avoid occupation restrictions that standard homeowner policies have in place. Your Airbnb will be covered whether it is vacant or occupied by you or a guest.
For more information about Proper Insurance and an in-depth review of its coverage, check out our in-depth Proper Insurance Review here…>>.
Protecting Your Airbnb from Theft
If you want to be sure that you are doing everything possible to protect your Airbnb from guests who steal, follow these tips for preventing theft in your Airbnb.
- Vet your guests- It is important to know who is staying in your rental. Read your guest’s reviews and ask them questions if their profile is vague or incomplete. Make sure that your guest has a photo on their profile and the person checking in is the same person who booked the rental.
- Require a security deposit- Security deposits can deter theft because your guest knows that you have collateral should anything go missing from your rental. Security deposits also ensure that you will be protected from any damage that a guest may cause.
- Require identity verification- On Airbnb, hosts can require guests to verify their identity before booking a stay. This allows hosts to know precisely who will be at their property.
- Install security cameras- Although it is against Airbnb policy to have any cameras inside a bedroom or bathroom, hosts can have cameras in common areas or outside your rental. If a guest attempts to steal a large item like a TV or appliance, a security camera may capture them loading items into a car.
- Remove expensive items- One of the best ways to prevent theft is to keep all expensive items like jewelry or art out of the rental or safely locked away. For guests who rent their homes, it is smart to keep a safe in the house in which you can store anything of value while guests are renting your space.
- Do not accept bookings from local people- Out of the guests who experienced theft in their rentals, most reported that the theft occurred when they rented their property to people from the area. Local rentals should be a red flag for suspicious activity like potential theft or parties.
- Maintain good communication- Good communication with your guests isn’t just useful to garner good reviews. Communicating with your guest while they stay at your rental can help build trust and respect and prevent theft. Sometimes guests will steal if they are angry at a host. Maintaining contact with guests and addressing guests’ needs and concerns can help alleviate this issue.
Theft isn’t the only issue you need to worry about when hosting an Airbnb. Click here to find out what to do if a guest violates your house rules.
Check Out Our Other Articles on Rental Recon:
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- [11 Essential AIRBNB SAFETY ISSUES for Your Guests] 2022
- Proper Insurance Vs. CBIZ  Review: The Shocking Results
A Guest Stole Your Property, Now What?
If you discover missing items from your Airbnb after a guest checks out, there are certain steps you should take to ensure you are eligible for a claim either through Airbnb or your short-term rental insurance provider.
Step 1: Make sure the item is missing
It is not uncommon for guests to move things around in an Airbnb during their stay. If you suspect something was stolen, be sure that it is actually missing and not just misplaced.
Step 2: Document missing items
Create a list of all items that are missing with a description. This will be important for a policy report to provide to Airbnb and for an insurance claim.
Step 3: Get proof
Airbnb will deny a claim that is unsupported by proof. A great way to ensure that you always have proof is to take photos of your Airbnb with all possession inside and even do a video walkthrough to document possessions. Outside video surveillance is also helpful if a large item like a TV is missing.
Step 4: Contact Airbnb
You should always alert Airbnb that a theft occurred in your rental BEFORE your next guest checks in. You want your claim to be documented as close to the date of the incident as possible.
Step 5: Alert local authorities
A police report should always be obtained if you experience theft on your property. Police reports are official documents that will create a record of the theft.
Step 6: Contact your guest
You should never accuse your guest of theft; however, it is not a bad idea to ask them about the missing property. A guest can mix up your property with their own, or they could have placed the item in a location you haven’t checked. You can use the Airbnb Resolution Center to facilitate this conversation, so everything is recorded.
Step 7: Leave a review
If you have had a bad experience with a guest or if a guest stole from your Airbnb rental, always leave a review on their profile. Reviews will alert other hosts to this guest’s bad behavior and hopefully prevent other Airbnb hosts from having the same bad experience.
Although theft in an Airbnb is rare, it does happen. When a host opens their property to renters, they always face the risk their property may be stolen or damaged. Airbnb has a Host Guarantee that may cover stolen items; however, this policy is limited. The best way for an Airbnb Host to protect themselves against financial losses from theft is to have a vacation rental insurance policy that covers theft.