peer-to-peer home rental (sometimes called AirBnB, HomeAway, Flipkey and VRBO)
is an online marketplace for vacation and business rentals that links owners (“hosts”)
who have unused lodgings or bedrooms to rent with users (“guests”) seeking to
rent the space, typically on a short-term (i.e., less than 30 days) basis.
Visiting friends and relatives are often referred to as “guests.” However, unless otherwise stated, “guests” refers to the individuals or families that pay to rent residential space from a “host.”
and municipalities typically consider home hosting a business. Yet, the host’s
insurer is too often unaware of these business-related activities. Thus, asking
more questions on their homeowners’ applications regarding this expanding loss
Advantages for hosting:
Renting unused space results in extra income. The average AirBnB host earns
$924 per month, and 26 percent of hosts make more than $1,000 per month.
There is often no charge just to list the property. A fee is applied only if a
successful booking is made.
Some rental marketplaces will send a professional photographer to the home at
no cost to assist in marketing the space.
Most marketplaces also provide strong customer support, verification regarding
the identity of potential guests, and numerous payment options.
The online system is typically quite flexible. For example, hosts can set
seasonal pricing and weekday/weekend pricing as they see fit.
Many people simply enjoy being a host and love to meet travelers from all
corners of the globe.
A host can rent his or her entire house, condominium unit, or apartment, or
just one room within the dwelling.
Disadvantages for hosting:
Hosts may naively believe that they are simply part of the sharing economy and
not involved in a business activity; however, this peer-to-peer sharing
certainly involves a commercial transaction. Insurers and more municipalities view
home hosting as a business, resulting in regulatory restrictions and property
and liability coverage gaps.
Short-term rentals might violate local zoning, homeowners’ or condominium
association bylaws, lease agreements, or housing laws.
Some cities require that the host obtain a permit or obtain a business license before
the property can be listed.
Some state and local laws may apply rental income or hotel taxes to any
• Federal income taxes also apply to booking revenue. Damage to the rental property or an injury to a guest is an important loss exposure to consider. For example, a host may be found legally liable for an injury on the premises. Without the proper insurance, financial burdens for the host may arise.
• Some hosts
have difficulty navigating the home-hosting website.
Advantages for guests:
• Cost savings—it can be less expensive to stay in an apartment or home rented via an online marketplace.
Many homes will give the guest access to a kitchen.
An excellent host can be a great resource for learning about a local culture
and its customs.
Extensive photos, online reviews, and host/home ratings can help ensure that
the guest gets his or her desired space with minimal fuss.
Disadvantages for guests:
The short-term rental may not comply with local laws and restrictions, some of
which might be safety related.
Online ads may be misleading, incorrect, or even fraudulent.
The rental property might not be as secure as a hotel room.
Reviews may not always reflect both sides of the rental property.
It can be time consuming to find the right rental property.
The level of service or expected amenities people are accustomed to receiving
at a hotel are often lacking in home sharing.
There may be hidden fees that are hard to spot online.
It is often difficult or even impossible to cancel a home-sharing agreement
than it is to cancel a hotel reservation.
Guests might wonder whether their own insurance or the host’s insurance
adequately protects any property or liability exposures they face with a
are many advantages and disadvantages for both hosts and guests. To learn more,
call Thorp & Trainer where, “Your Security Is Our Concern”.
The age of connectivity comes with its own set of risks
A driver’s home phone number, call and message logs, and
personal contacts are just some of the types of information that can be stored
on a rental car.
No matter the season, travelers rely on rental cars to reach their
destinations. Many of today’s cars are designed to make hands-free calls,
stream music, and even access the internet — but one has to connect to an
infotainment system first.
But in order to do this, the infotainment system may store personal information kept on a driver’s phone, says AAA.
“The stored information in mobile devices is vulnerable to theft. If you sync your mobile
phone to a rental car, you open yourself up to having your personal information
stolen,” Lori Weaver Hawkins, Blue Grass AAA, said in a statement. “It is
possible for an unauthorized person to gain access to things like home address
and the code for your garage door opener.”
Know your risks
There are currently no industry or government standards for vehicle
infotainment systems, but the first step to safeguarding your personal data is
to know the type of information an infotainment system may store.
Potentially stored information:
· Home address, work address, and
other saved or frequently used GPS locations.
· Home phone number.
· Call and message logs.
· Personal contacts.
· Garage opener programming.
Reducing your risks
To avoid a data breach of any kind, there are a number of
steps drivers can take.
1. Purchase a phone charger for your phone
that plugs into the cigarette lighter adapter port rather than the USB port.
The lighter adapter port does not access your information.
2. Use your phone’s GPS without syncing up
with the rental car.
3. Check your phone’s permissions to learn
what information your car can access. When syncing your phone, if your
infotainment systems allows you to choose which types of information you
share, restrict it to only what’s necessary. For instance, if you’re only
syncing your phone to play music, the car only needs access to your music
library, not your personal contacts or other data.
4. Before handing your keys over to a valet,
check to see if your car’s infotainment system has a valet mode you can set
that will protect your sensitive data.
5. Before trading in your car or returning a rental car, go to the settings menu on the car’s infotainment system to find a list of synced devices. When you find your devices, follow the prompts to delete them. If you can’t figure out how to do this, check the owner’s manual or an online tutorial.
For additional ways to protect yourself home and while traveling, call Thorp & Trainer at 596.0146.