Thinking of making some extra money this festive season by renting out a room, or even your entire house? Make sure your insurance covers you for taking in paying guests, or you could be left with a king-sized headache if something goes wrong.

That’s the advice of King Price’s client experience partner, Wynand van Vuuren, who says standard residential insurance policies will generally only cover you if your house is being used for private purposes.

“The moment you’re earning an income from your house, whether a rental or through Airbnb, you’ll need to take out commercial insurance to cover your extended risks,” says Van Vuuren.

Renting out a room or a home provides a tidy additional income for many South African homeowners, according to Airbnb figures. The average host earned more than R24 000 for renting out their space for an average of 17 nights a year in 2017. More than 830 000 people used Airbnb in 2017, and the trend is only growing.

The problem is that many homeowners mistakenly think they’re covered for any damages by Airbnb’s ‘host guarantee’ says Van Vuuren. While this covers damage to personal possessions or the unit by guests, it isn’t insurance, and doesn’t replace your existing homeowner’s or home contents insurance.

“It’s important that you talk to your insurer before you rent out a room or your home. Business insurance will cover you for damage to household contents, and losses through burglaries and disasters. It’s also worth checking if you’re covered for any liability from paying guests injuring themselves at your property,” says Van Vuuren.


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