Allstate Tackles Home-Sharing Exposures

PRODUCT: HostAdvantage℠

COMPANY: Allstate

BEST RATING: A (Excellent)

AVAILABILITY: Coverage is available through approved independent agents and brokers.

FOCUS: It sounds bizarre, even reckless: inviting strangers into your home and handing over the keys after only a brief email introduction.

But this crazy idea—developed in 2008 by three ambitious friends with a website and several air mattresses—has become a worldwide phenomenon. Today, Airbnb boasts more than 20 million listings in 191 countries and 34,000 cities around the world. More than 60 million people have rented apartments, houses, villas and even castles for a night, week or month.

But how can you protect your home and belongings as a home-sharing host? That’s where Allstate’s HostAdvantage comes in.

“Home-sharing companies represent an evolving economy,” explains Julie Parsons, senior vice president of product management at Allstate. “This creates new protection needs for homeowners considering renting out their homes on a temporary basis. With participation in the home-sharing economy expected to quadruple over the next few years, we need to help customers be better protected when they choose to be home-sharing hosts.”

According to Parsons, homeowners insurance tends to be broad with respect to coverage for the house itself, “so many losses that might occur in an occasional rental situation could be covered,” she explains. “But personal property coverage doesn’t necessarily work the same way. So if your tenants decide to throw a party and damage your stuff, you’ll want to know what might be covered in advance.”

UNDERWRITING: Insureds can add HostAdvantage protection to an Allstate homeowners policy for $50 per year. The HostAdvantage endorsement helps fill some of the personal property protection gaps in a typical homeowners policy for customers who occasionally rent out their homes to temporary renters. The endorsement helps protect homeowners from unexpected out-of-pocket expenses, such as theft and damage.

HostAdvantage adds theft protection for an insured’s belongings while renters are staying in their home. Examples include when a thief breaks in and steals from a home while renters are staying there, or when a host’s belongings go missing with no sign of a break-in.

The endorsement also provides up to $10,000 for personal property damage caused by a temporary renter that is not otherwise covered by home insurance. Examples include when a renter accidentally spills wine on a sofa, or when a renter’s child accidentally cracks a flat-screen TV.

Homeowners must live in their home at least part of the year to qualify for home insurance with HostAdvantage. The endorsement does not provide coverage for landlords with a full-time leased tenant.

MINIMUM PREMIUM: $50 annually.

TARGET: Homeowners who occasionally rent their homes to temporary renters, through websites like Airbnb or HomeAway or through personal arrangements.

COVERAGE TERRITORY: AZ, CO, IL, MI, TN and UT.

CONTACT: Jennifer Snyder, director, product innovation and competitive intelligence; Allstate Insurance, 2775 Sanders Road, Northbrook, IL 60062; 847-402-7238.

Ronimarie Acord is an IA contributor.