Admiral moves into host insurance market as Airbnb-style hosting becomes more popular

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There have been some high-profile stories of homeowners having their property trashed by guests when listing them on home sharing sites.

Now Admiral is offering specific cover on its policies to give peace of mind to anyone who wants to list, but is worried about damage.

Home insurance specialist Admiral has launched host insurance as an option on all of its home insurance policies. Home sharing sites such as Airbnb, which allow homeowners to rent out rooms and property short-term to members of the public, have grown in popularity in recent years.

•    Admiral becomes the first major insurer to offer specific cover for home sharing
•    Cover can be added to all new Admiral policies over the phone
•    Customers can rent out their home for up to 90 days
•    Admiral will deal with claims in the same way as regular claims, with same excess
•    Insurer hopes move will encourage more people to join home sharing sites

Admiral has become the first major insurer to offer specific insurance cover for anyone looking to rent out their home through Wimdu, onefinestay and Homestay as well as Airbnb.

Admiral Host Insurance is now available as an optional extension on any home insurance policies taken out over the phone. Customers need to call Admiral to get a quote and add the cover. The cost of the additional cover varies depending on the original premium.

Customers with Admiral Host Insurance can rent out their property for up to 90 days during the policy term, and it provides cover for up to two adult paying guests per bedroom during each rental period. The policy is specifically aimed at people who want to use home sharing sites as it only provides cover for someone renting out their main home, it isn’t for people who rent out holiday homes.

Home-share in the UK

Jean-Baptiste Limare, head of sharing economy at Admiral said: “It’s estimated that 50,000 UK homes are rented out on Airbnb alone, we believe many more homeowners want to do it, but are concerned about how it could affect their insurance. Our research found that currently only 4% of homeowners rent out their homes via these sites, but as many as half of homeowners would consider it. We want to offer peace of mind for anyone who wants to join a home sharing site, but is concerned about damage or theft to their property.

“There’s a lot of confusion amongst homeowners as to how renting out a room could affect their home insurance. This is understandable as most insurers don’t cover renting out a room in this way, so you could risk your insurance being invalid and not being able to make a claim if the worst happened.

There have been a number of horror stories from homeowners who have had their homes damaged by guests in recent months including:

  • Christina McQuillan whose garden flat in London was damaged by revellers after her guest threw a New Year’s Eve party. Ms McQuillan returned to the flat after being contacted by her furious neighbours. As well as finding people having sex and taking drugs, she found around £3,000 worth of damage, including a TV ripped off the wall
  • Nigel Broome whose recently renovated home on south east London was trashed by guests, also on New Year’s Eve. Among the damage they caused were a flooded kitchen, holes punched in the walls and a window ripped from its hinges. Mr Broome estimated the total damage at more than £12,000.

Thankfully stories like this are rare, but damage can be caused on a smaller scale, and sometimes making a claim for compensation hits a brick wall. Admiral spoke with Rachel Brown* who rents an apartment in central London through Airbnb. Rachel, who is a student, claims one guest damaged the smoke alarm in her bedroom and then ripped it off her wall. The guest was adamant it wasn’t his fault and refused to pay for it.

When Rachel tried to claim compensation through Airbnb, they didn’t pay out due to lack of evidence. Although the incident hasn’t put Rachel off listing her home in the future, it has made her stricter about house rules and who she will rent the flat to.

Protect your jewellery and artwork

Admiral Host Insurance will provide cover for its customers who use Airbnb, Wimdu, onefinestay and Homestay, and while these sites have some level of protection included, Admiral’s insurance goes beyond this. It includes up to £5,000 cover for high risk items such as jewellery, artwork and tablets. Admiral will also make the claims process easy, customers who want to make a claim only need to call Admiral who will take care of the rest; they won’t have to try and resolve the issue directly with the guest or try and claim compensation through the website.

Another important feature of Admiral host insurance is that once it has been added to the Admiral home insurance policy, customers can start renting out their home. They don’t need to contact Admiral every time they want to rent their property on one of the sites.

Jean-Baptiste Limare continued: “We appreciate some customers want more flexibility around how they use their homes. We want to ensure that Admiral Host Insurance provides the cover our customers need when they list their property on a home sharing site.

“Offering host insurance is just one way Admiral is embracing the sharing economy and encouraging it to grow. We are also supporting car sharing through easyCar Club and Rentecarlo, and want peer-to-peer sharing to become more commonplace and popular.”

Admiral is a member of Sharing Economy UK, the trade body for the Sharing Economy.

*Not her real name

Interested in Host Insurance?

You can apply by phone on 0330 33 35 502. Host Insurance quotes must be obtained over the phone and can only be added to new policies. Please quote "HOST" when calling.

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