Short-Term Vacation Rentals: What Your Renters Policy May Cover
Learn how renters insurance can help protect you during your stay at a vacation rental home.
Vacation is a break from your everyday routine, but the unexpected can strike anywhere. Whether you’re vacationing overseas or at a stateside cabin you found on a vacation rental site, renters insurance can protect your valuables along the way.
Let’s explore what your renters insurance may and may not cover when you’re staying in short-term and vacation home rentals.
Covered: Stolen Personal Property
If you’re like most travelers, you probably don’t leave home without a few valuable items, such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop or camera. Those belongings can tempt thieves. If you’re vacationing during warmer weather, the chance of theft might increase. For example, over a five-year period in Chicago, some types of crime, including theft, were found much more likely to increase when the weather was hotter.1
If your belongings are taken from the vacation home you’re renting, don’t panic. Depending on your policy, your renters insurance can usually replace personal property (minus your deductible) that is stolen from a location other than your home.2
To make sure you fully understand your insurance protection while traveling, call your insurance agent before your trip.
Covered: Damaged Belongings
Theft isn’t the only danger to your belongings while you’re on vacation – maybe a windstorm strikes during your trip and your camera is damaged by falling debris. This is another area where your renters insurance may help. Some policies can pay to replace damaged personal belongings when they’re away from home.2
Sarah Huber, a claims examiner at Amica, cautions that this depends heavily on the specific policy and coverage.3 Be sure to speak with your insurance provider to clarify those details.
If you have an all-risk renters policy, it may cover more unusual types of loss or damage, though the specifics vary depending on your insurance provider.4 Some all-risk policies may even cover mysterious disappearances, such as if you’re not sure whether you left the item behind somewhere or if it was taken.4
Think of renters insurance as the travel companion you never knew you needed.
Covered: Damage Caused By You
When you rent someone else’s home, you likely try to be the perfect guest. If, despite your best efforts, you still damage your host’s property, you may be liable for those expenses.
For example, if you accidentally knock the TV over when adjusting the screen, you likely will be on the hook for its replacement. That’s also true if you cause a fire or water damage at the rental property. The property owner might sue you to pay for the damage.4
Fortunately, the liability insurance portion of your renters insurance may pay for the TV’s replacement or for physical damage you cause to the home.4
Not Covered: Your Injuries At The Rental Home
Nothing may derail a vacation faster than an injury. Unfortunately, your renters insurance doesn’t cover your medical bills. You’ll need to rely on your health insurance for that.
But let’s say you trip and fall while walking up the porch steps to the rental home and break your ankle. Only then do you notice the wooden steps are loose and in need of repair.
In this situation, you might be able to rely on the owner’s short-term rental insurance or landlord insurance to pay for your medical bills. These policies typically include liability coverage, which can help out when guests are hurt on the owner’s property and cover legal fees and medical expenses.5
Think of renters insurance as the travel companion you never knew you needed. Even when your vacation goes swimmingly, it’s nice to know your coverage has your back.
Learn how much coverage you may need with your renters policy.
- Does a Hot Summer Mean More Crime? Here’s What the Data Show, Chicago Tribune, 2017.
- Peer-to-Peer Home Rental, Insurance Information Institute, 2019.
- Sara Huber, Claims Examiner, Amica, July 2019.
- 5 Renter’s Insurance Coverages With Examples of How They Work, The Balance, 2019.
- Coverage for Renting Out Your Home, Insurance Information Institute, 2019.