Smartphones are responsible for the growth in companies and organizations creating applications to directly connect with customers. From this, businesses grew out of the idea of trust and sharing. People began to buy into the idea of riding in a stranger's car like Uber and Lyft. Another app, Airbnb, has further pushed the boundaries of trust among strangers, as the app lets travelers rent homes or apartments from other strangers.
Wired magazine said it best when looking at the sharing economy, "The sharing economy has come on so quickly and powerfully that regulators and economists are still grappling to understand its impact." The magazine said this is a continuation of the "person-to-person marketplace pioneered by eBay."
Millions use these services every day without issue. However, when an issue does happen, the stories are almost unimaginable. For instance, a Calgary, Canada, couple rented out their house one April weekend to four strangers through Airbnb. The couple returned from the weekend in total shock, as their house was trashed and required a hazardous cleanup crew. According to the National Post, damages to the household were estimated to be between $50,000 and $75,000 dollars. Police are currently investigating the matter.
There are safety nets to protect against such extreme damage and emergencies. First, homeowners and renters need to invest in homeowners insurance or renters insurance. Most homeowner policies include a type of guest medical protection. If someone is injured on or around a homeowner's property, the insurance will pay for reasonable medical expenses such as ambulance rides, X-rays and hospital stays. Renters policies typically offer the same type of coverage.
Personal insurance policies, combined with the insurance from the app, should help ease the minds of users.
Homeowners and renters looking to compare renters insurance and home insurance policies should head to CoverHound to do so.