Ask the expert - Does my house insurance policy cover Airbnb?

Airbnb and house insurance |

Airbnb continues to grow in Ireland in terms of its profile and more importantly user numbers. There are now some 22,000 host properties listed for Ireland on Airbnb listed for Ireland on the Airbnb platform. This has continued to grow steadily.
It is estimated from analysis carried out by third party companies on the Irish Airbnb operation that somewhere in the region of 45% of listings are for rooms in properties meaning some 9,900 properties are owner occupied.

Many of the property owners are unaware of the need to inform their insurer of the fact that they are being used as Airbnb host properties. This is a serious non-disclosure and may lead to insurers declining claims or even voiding the policy – a potentially very serious outcome for a property owner in terms of ever getting insurance in the future.

Deirdre McCarthy of answered Sinead Ryan of the Irish independent's questions on the subject of house insurance for Irish Airbnb hosts in her recent column.

Q. I recently joined Airbnb as a host after a friend did so; our houses are quite near the airport as I work there as a flight attendant.  I'm often away and it's ideal. To be safe, I told my insurance company but they said they wouldn't cover me for it and I would have to cancel my policy with them if I wanted to do Airbnb.  Should I not have told them that I was doing Airbnb and will I be able to get any cover for my home now?

Sinead replies: I think you were right to tell them. If you hadn't and a claim had arisen, they may not have covered it anyway. I asked Deirdre McCarthy of for her advice on this topical, but tricky issue.

"Unfortunately, we get asked this question quite frequently as Airbnb has become so popular. You were right to advise your current insurance company as most standard home insurance policies will not cover what is termed 'mixed use' of a property."

"Full disclosure is always vital when it comes to home insurance - though its importance is often not something people realise until they need to make a claim. When it comes to renting out a room or a property on Airbnb, you are affectively using your home as an owner-occupier and a holiday home rental at the same time. Not all insurers offer policies that will cover you in this instance. However, some do, so your next step should be to seek out these insurers and put cover in place."

A good broker will help you with this and, bear in mind, Airbnb also provides its own insurance within the letting fee you pay them to cover damage/breakages etc arising from guests staying. This is worth mentioning to the broker (the details of the policy can be found on their website for hosts).


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