Airbnb Damage Policy: Everything You Need to Know as a Host

airbnb damage policy

By The Hospitable Team

Hosting on Airbnb is a great way to get extra income and meet new people from all over the world, but managing a vacation rental property can be very challenging. While most guests act respectfully, many won’t treat your home like it’s theirs. This may result in accidental damage to your rental property or your belongings.

So what can you do if a guest causes serious damage to your property and refuses to pay? In this blog post, we’ll talk about the Airbnb damage policy and how you can take advantage of it.

If you are new to Airbnb, you may also want to check our article about Airbnb review policy.

Airbnb Damage Policy: Why Is It Important?

As a STR host, you probably put a lot of effort into equipping your rental space with Airbnb must-haves to ensure a comfortable stay and spent money on some luxury items to enhance the guest experience. Although Airbnb runs limited background checks on guests and has a review system, when you accept a booking on the platform, you are entrusting your property to a guest who is a stranger. And some of your guests may not treat your property with the same care as you do.

Accidents are rare, but they can happen. Small incidents, like when guests break a couple of plates or glasses or stain your towels and bedding with makeup, are very annoying. But the real problem arises when a guest causes serious damage to your rental, like if they drop something heavy, resulting in a crack in your tile floors.

In extreme cases, repairs can be costly and may even lead to loss of income if it takes time to get your Airbnb up and running again. That’s why it’s essential to understand the Airbnb damage policy to protect your vacation rental investment and ensure a smooth guest experience.

Airbnb offers Host Damage Protection as a part of AirCover for Hosts—it’s free comprehensive protection included with every booking. Host Damage Protection provides hosts with $3 million in coverage in the rare event guests damage their rentals or belongings during an Airbnb stay.

This protection program can give you peace of mind that your home and belongings are protected no matter what, so you can focus on managing your rental to ensure perfect customer service. To manage your Airbnb effortlessly, investing in comprehensive vacation rental software like Hospitable is also an excellent idea to help you streamline your business operations.

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What Is Covered By Host Damage Protection, and How Does It Work?

If guests don’t pay for the damage caused to your home and belongings, Host Damage Protection is in place to help reimburse costs up to $3M USD for certain damage. Host Damage Protection is available in every country with Airbnb properties, except Japan, which has its protection program.

Here is what Host Damage Protection covers according to the information available on the Airbnb website:

  • Damage to your home, furnishings, art, valuables, or belongings caused by guests or their invitees
  • Damage to parked cars, boats, or other vehicles caused by guests or their invitees
  • Damage caused by a guest’s pet
  • Unexpected or extra cleaning costs needed due to the behavior of a guest or their invitees during an Airbnb stay, for example, professional carpet cleaning
  • Income loss if you need to cancel confirmed Airbnb bookings due to guest damage

Remember that Host Damage Protection doesn't cover damage from normal wear and tear, loss of currency, or loss due to natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes. There are other exclusions, so it's best to read the full Host Damage Protection Terms in the Airbnb Help Center.

If you come into your Airbnb rental after a stay and realize the place is damaged or extremely dirty, you can file for reimbursement for damage or unexpected cleaning. Here is what you should do.

  • Document the issue. Take photos or videos of the mess or damage, get repair or cleaning estimates, and keep receipts so you can submit them to Airbnb.
  • Submit the reimbursement request to the Airbnb Resolution Center. You can do it within 14 days of the responsible guest’s checkout.
  • Your request will be sent to the guest, who will have 24 hours to respond. If they don’t respond, pay partially, or refuse to pay, you can involve Airbnb to request reimbursement. Airbnb Support will then step in and review the request.

Airbnb tries to resolve reimbursement requests as quickly as possible. It typically takes two weeks from the time you file a request with Airbnb for your payment to be issued.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Airbnb Property Against Damages?

The Airbnb damage policy provides some safety for hosts, but it’s always best to prevent damage from happening in the first place. Here is what you can do to protect yourself and minimize the risk of accidental damage.

Create clear house rules to set expectations and include them in your listing description. This way, you’ll be more confident that your guests understand what is expected from them during their stay before they book your property. Then, they are more likely to stick to these rules.

Communicate clearly—it’s an essential part of good Airbnb etiquette. Create a personalized message flow for each guest to provide them with the information they need for their stay in digestible chunks. Include clear instructions on using any equipment or appliances in the house and instructions for handling emergencies, such as power outages or fires.

Be available to your guests before and during their stay so they can ask questions or report any problems as soon as possible. Responding to guests’ messages quickly can be challenging, but you can automate guest communication using tools like Hospitable.

Have conversations with your guests even when you sleep.

We will detect questions and answer on your behalf; send fully custom messages triggered by events, and much more!

Create a detailed inventory. Write a list of all the items in your place and make notes about their condition before each guest’s arrival. Such a rental inventory checklist can help you keep track of any damage that occurs during the guest’s stay.

Vet your guests. Check their profiles and read reviews from the previous hosts to get an idea of their personality and whether they’ll be a good fit for your home. Ask them additional questions in your messages when you respond to booking inquiries, and don’t be afraid to turn down a request if you get a bad feeling about a guest. Being pickier about who you host can help you avoid nasty disputes over damage to your property.

Invest in additional insurance to fill in the gaps where the Airbnb Host Damage Protection won’t protect you. Consider insurance options specifically designed for vacation rentals. Although short-term rental insurance can be costly, it is well worth the cost and will save you money in the long run.

Bottom Line

Airbnb covers accidental damage to your rental and belongings through the Host Damage Protection program, free for all hosts. However, Airbnb’s damage policy has certain exclusions and limitations.

That’s why it’s always best to review the policy terms and consult with Airbnb directly if you have any questions or concerns. You should also take additional measures to prevent accidental damages and shield yourself against financial losses that they cause.

You may also want to check out our blog post, where we talk about some common Airbnb scams. You’ll learn how to protect yourself from dealing with fake guests.

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