New Airbnb Scam Could Lead to Home Robbery

A new scam on Airbnb has led to property owners losing thousands of dollars from thieves. Learn how you can protect your valuables and maintain a safe rental environment.

A man removes a television from the wall with tools

Airbnb Robberies Increase Amid Profile Hacking Concerns

If you’re renting a hotel room, you’d typically rely on business reviews and how many stars the hotel has before you pick a room. With Airbnb and other online rental platforms, users must rely on reviews left by renters and property owners to vet through selections.

According to the report, thieves were hacking into guest accounts that have good reviews and booking a stay-in homes under the hacked account. Property owners would see the positive ratings the guest has from prior stays and approve the rental. The thieves would then show up and rob the host’s belongings during the rental period.

Airbnb did create a blog post acknowledging these issues and outlined their plans to improve their security and prevent this type of abuse. However, there was no mention of reimbursement or how they’ll handle claims that involve a burglarized property.

Does Airbnb Reimburse Property Owners for Stolen Belongings?

If you’re renting out your property on Airbnb, you’re automatically signed up for two forms of insurance for vacation rental properties:

  • Host Guarantee
  • Host Protection Insurance

The first type of coverage, the Host Guarantee, provides coverage for property damage. The other form, Host Protection Insurance, protects against liability claims. If your property was stolen, you’ll need to file a claim under the Host Guarantee. But don’t wait too long. Airbnb only provides a very small window of time to alert them of stolen property. In addition, because the property insurance for Airbnb is considered a secondary policy, they may request that you file a claim with your primary insurer first. If you’re using homeowner’s insurance, you’ll likely be denied for a claim involving rentals due to business activity exclusions.

Airbnb’s insurance provides extremely limited coverage for valuables, and you’ll need to provide proof that they were stolen by your guest. While it is often obvious when a guest steals your property, it’s not easy to prove.

In one instance, a property owner was left with a $10,000 bill for water damage caused by a guest. Airbnb only offered a $78 reimbursement to pay for the plumber’s fee.

How to Protect Yourself from Rental Thieves

Airbnb has made it easier than ever for property owners to list their homes for rent. But don’t let this ease of use fool you. Renting out your home is a business activity that is very much like running a hotel business. Hotels have comprehensive commercial insurance plans that protect them from property damage and liability issues. As a property owner who’s renting out their home to strangers, you should also have a commercial insurance plan for vacation rentals.

With a little planning and signing up for the right insurance plan, you can enjoy your rental business while minimizing your risks.

About the Author

Proper Insurance

Proper Insurance is the nation's leading short-term vacation rental insurance provider, with the most comprehensive policy on the market. We protect homes in all 50 states with unmatched coverage for your property, revenue, and business liability, customized to include guest-caused theft/damage, liquor liability, amenity liability (bikes, kayaks, hot tub, etc.), bed bugs, fleas, squatters, and more.


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