Staying in AirBnB? Don’t forget your travel insurance

Rebeccah Elley

Tuesday 18 August 2015

With the rise of home sharing platforms like AirBnB, travellers can jetset overseas and live like the locals at an affordable price. However, there is a risk of booking accommodation through online home share sites, in the form of internet scams says eGlobal Travel Media.

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For instance, 32 year old traveller Alana Scott was conned out of $7,000 when she paid for a New York apartment through the AirBnB website. According to eGlobal Travel Media the money vanished and she had no accommodation for her trip. Ex-AFL captain Leigh Colbert experienced a similar scam when he booked accommodation in Italy that didn’t actually exist.

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According to eGlobal Travel Media last year alone, around 1.5 million people reported that they had lost money through travel website scams and travel insurance unfortunately will not cover the loss from an online scam.

While you won’t be covered for online fraud, most travel insurance policies will cover cancellation, property damage and personal liability. On its website, AirBnB explains that person-to-person lodging and private rental services are still considered to be ‘accommodation’ by travel insurance providers.

“Therefore, the likes of cancellations, personal belongings and personal liability are covered. However, just like traditional hotels, the onus is still on travellers to show care in protecting themselves and their belongings.”

“We recommend people take the same precautions as they would using any type of accommodation on a trip.”

eGlobal Travel Media gives these two tips for protecting yourself against AirBnB scams:

Be vigilant. On Airbnb, legitimate bookings will always take place through the website, so if a host asks you to communicate or pay off-site, abort mission! Additionally, properties that seem grossly under-priced or photos that appear overly Photoshopped should raise alarm bells for prospective buyers.

Research. If the glossy interiors and scenic views you were promised turn out to be far from reality your best option is to get in touch with Airbnb. If you report unsatisfactory conditions you may be issued a refund, but it’s always wise to do plenty of research before you go ahead and book. An unsatisfactory Airbnb experience would not be covered by your travel insurance policy.

To find the perfect travel insurance policy for you, head on over to our travel insurance hub.

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