Out your couch?
Looks at the pros and cons of lodging website Airbnb.com
and shared or common areas), this option is not yet available to South African homeowners.
However, even if it was available, the Airbnb website clearly states: “The Host Guarantee is not insurance and should not be considered as a replacement or stand-in for homeowners’ or renters’ insurance.”
Firstly, you need to check with your insurer that you are covered. Christelle Fourie, chief executive officer at MUA Insurance Acceptances, says not all insurance policies are created equal and many exclusions might apply when renting out a property. Fourie points out that not only is there the risk of financial loss faced by homeowners if property is damaged or stolen, there are significant liability issues if a guest is injured on the property and the owner is proven to be at fault for failing to secure the property.
Fourie says, in most cases, as long as the homeowner is still the main occupant of the home, and only rents the property out on an ad hoc basis, the liability cover in the homeowner’s policy should pay out for a claim. However, if the home is mainly being rented out to guests, the insurance provider will perceive this as a commercial risk and require a commercial property insurance policy to be taken out. When it’s time to claim, the insurance policy is unlikely to pay out if the appropriate cover was not taken out.
Another major problem for homeowners renting out their property is that most homeowners’ insurance policies will require visible and forcible entry to pay out for any theft while guests are renting the home.
Fourie advises having a written and signed agreement with the lessee so they are made aware that they will be held liable for any stolen or damaged items if there are no signs of forced entry. Some policies offer cover for the personal belongings of guests, which is a good idea as the homeowner does not want to be held liable for stolen or damaged belongings in the event of a burglary or a disaster like a fire.
She says another important consideration for owners is to look at the alarm warranty of the insurance policy if foreign guests are renting the home.
“Often, foreigners do not understand risks in South Africa and might not set the alarm, even when instructed to do so. If there is a claim and it is discovered that the alarm was not set, the insurance policy won’t pay out unless there is a special arrangement with the insurance provider.
“You can easily contact your broker and specifically ask to waive the alarm warranty.”
Fourie recommends preparing a detailed digital “welcome pack”, which is emailed to guests before they arrive at the property.
“This pack can include information such as directions to the property, security tips, key emergency contacts, how the alarm works and the importance of setting the alarm.
“It is also a nice gesture to recommend some local attractions and restaurants,” she says.