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Who is liable for injury or death during an Airbnb stay?

Sep 28, 2018

Following reports over the weekend regarding the tragic death of a four-year-old-boy, who died after getting injured in a swing set accident whilst staying at an Airbnb in Queensland, and the seven-year-old girl who also suffered a broken arm.

The child’s death is currently being investigated by Workplace Health and Safety because it took place at an Airbnb, which is classified as a business.

It has sparked several discussions regarding who is liable if someone dies or is injured whilst staying at an Airbnb. There is also questions around whether regular Home and Contents Insurance covers an Airbnb guest for death, injury and damage. The simple answer is “probably not”.

Hosting an Airbnb:

It goes without saying, when it comes to insurance, you must disclose to your insurance company of your plans to rent out the property, or placing the property on the Airbnb market.

Depending on the Insurer and the terms of the policy you have taken, Airbnb properties generally won’t be covered unless it has been disclosed and the Insurer agrees to cover it.

The property goes from your home, to a commercial business premises, which means more risks in need of insurance protection.

In most home and contents or landlords insurance cases, storm, cyclone and fire incidents are covered if you have an Airbnb and again the risk has been disclosed. What isn’t covered, is the legal liability portion of the policy, if you’re effectively running a business at home.

What am I covered through Airbnb Insurance?

Airbnb has free Host Protection Insurance that provides renters up to US$1m in coverage “in the event of a third-party claim of bodily injury or property damage” during an Airbnb stay.

However this insurance would generally only apply when the host or the landlord has been found to be at fault or been negligent for the circumstances of the injury or death.

In regards to the swing set case, as an example several things would need to be proven, in order for the Airbnb Insurance to apply.

According to Insurance Business Australia, “It would need to be proven that the owner of the property was aware or should have been aware that the swing set posed a risk to children who used it, and then in light of that knowledge, prove they then failed to repair, maintain or remove the swing set. If this was a tragic accident, and no one’s fault, then it is likely there will be no compensation payable to the family.” *

“If you own a property being used as an Airbnb, it is extremely important to be aware of your risks and obligations, as you are running a commercial operation. The common misconception is that a standard Householders or Landlords Insurance policy will cover all of the associated risks, but quite often an Insurer will have specific requirements for an Airbnb property and this varies depending on the Insurer. Talk to your Insurance Adviser to make sure you have all of your bases covered”.

If you would like to discuss this risk in more detail, please call AustBrokers Comsure on 1800 122 194.

*Information provided by Insurance Business Australia. 

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