February 20th, 2015
Homesharing is growing in popularity, and it's giving adventurous travelers a chance to avoid hotels and to have a more relaxed space. If you're new to homesharing, essentially it's renting out a single room in your home or the entire place for guests to enjoy for a night or weekend.
Depending on the type of apartment or home you choose, it can be a much cheaper experience and put you a lot closer to where you want to be in the city. For example, several people use homesharing websites for music festivals since major cities have the majority of their hotels downtown, but the events will be in its neighborhoods.
Before you become too intrigued with the idea of sharing your home, here are three things to ask yourself before you start homesharing:
1. Are you legally allowed to home-share?
In certain major cities such as San Francisco and New York, homesharing has gone through some lengthy court battles over whether it's legal or not to rent out your apartment or home. Some of the major issues are whether or not you're properly insured with your renters insurance or homeowners insurance.
Before you start, make sure you thoroughly check the website's legal or FAQ page to make sure you're allowed to home-share. It's also smart to see what troubles others in your area have come across with using sites like AirBnB. Even though the new trend in homesharing is sweeping the world and currently has more than 800,000 listings in 190 countries, it's still critical to get your facts straight about the process, Insurance.com reported.
2. Do you have your landlord's permission?
If you're renting an apartment or house, it's important to make sure you have your landlord's permission before you start homesharing. Certain landlord insurance does not cover damages to the interior of the apartment that are done by other people and essentially illegal subletting.
New laws in major cities regulate what you can host as a renter and some areas are allowing renters to home-share if they have at least $500,000 covered in their renters insurance policy. If you host people that damage the apartment, you could be on the line for repairs if your landlord did not give the go-ahead.
3. Does your insurance cover homesharing?
Another thing you really need to consider is whether your home or apartment can be covered by your insurance policy while you're homesharing. Rebecca Hirsch, a spokeswoman for USAA insurance, told The New York Times that certain policies don't cover commercial business or activity in the home, which could include homesharing.
"If you're conducting a business, on a full- or part-time basis, by renting out your home or apartment (or a room in your home or apartment) as a way to earn money, your homeowner's or renters insurance policy probably would not provide liability coverage," said Hirsch, according to the source.
You should ensure that you are completely covered, which means you should contact your renters insurance or home insurance agent. Your insurance company will be able to let you know if your items will be replaced in case they were stolen, your home was damaged or if a visiting guest injured themselves in your home.
"An insured has the obligation to be forthcoming about all facts relating to [his or her] insured property, said Laura Strykowski, a spokeswoman for Allstate, according to the Times. "Not doing so could impact coverage and jeopardize the continuation of insurance."
To make sure your insurance policy protects you while homesharing, use CoverHound to find the best rate.