In recent years, Airbnb has become a very popular accommodation option for travelers. The company claims to offer a unique travel experience with all the comforts of home since the guests will actually be staying in someone’s private home. However, if they sustain an injury while staying at an Airbnb, guests may come home with more than just memories. When that happens, the first thing they typically want to know about the laws concerning liability in an Airbnb injury.
Premises Liability Law
When thinking about liability, in terms of an Airbnb injury, lots of states, including Indiana, have premises liability laws that stipulate the owner of an establishment must ensure the premises are safe for visitors at all times. When a visitor is doing business with or using the services of a landowner, such as in a store or while staying at an Airbnb, the owner is responsible for a standard of care when it comes to the safety of their property. Under the aforementioned laws, business owners—as well as those renting their home out to a guest through Airbnb—must take extra care to ensure that their structures and land are safe for those that are entering the property to do business.
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Liability of Airbnb
Along with premises liability laws, Airbnb has also taken some responsibility for keeping guests safe. When Airbnb first started out, they did not offer any liability insurance to hosts that opened their home up to others. The company has since changed their stance and now allows up to $1 million in coverage to hosts that experience property damage or have a lawsuit filed against them for injuries that occurred on the property. However, this coverage will only be offered after the property owner depletes their homeowner’s insurance or tenant’s insurance.
Most homeowner insurance policies have exclusions for ‘limited use’, which means that when a residence is being used for commercial or business purposes, the insurance policy will not cover damages or injuries. This exclusion can extend to instances in which a guest uses the property as an Airbnb and becomes injured.
Homeowners can contact their insurance company before making arrangements for accommodation to have this exclusion changed so they have proper coverage. If the property owner cannot get proper coverage, the insurance offered by Airbnb will still be available, but in the case of serious injury such as paralysis, that $1 million may not be enough to cover the accident. Speak with an attorney to learn more about liability in an Airbnb injury.
A Guest’s Responsibility
If a guest is injured while staying at an Airbnb or has their property damaged, they can file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the property, just as they might if they suffered injury on any other property.
However, guests planning a stay should also contact the homeowner or tenant before staying at a property. Specifically, they should ask if the owner has homeowner’s insurance or tenant’s insurance that will cover them even when the situation has entailed a business transaction.
If they do not have insurance that will cover them, the guest should find another Airbnb if possible so they will be protected in case of an accident. This can help ensure that the guest will be able to seek—and subsequently receive—compensation if they become injured and file a personal injury lawsuit.
Issues surrounding liability in an Airbnb injury can be complicated. With three different parties involved—the host, the guest, and Airbnb—there are many aspects involved which can be tricky to navigate. Anyone who is injured while staying at an Airbnb should take the necessary steps to ensure they will be protected for the duration of their stay.