How does AirBnb deal with theft

Ari Teman is mad at Airbnb. Private individuals can use them to rent out their apartments or houses to strangers. To tourists or guests who are in town on business and for whom a hotel room is too impersonal. Business is booming. Airbnb is one of the most successful startups in recent years for a reason.

Teman was also a fan. Last year he rented his chic New York city apartment to a man who was looking for accommodation for his brother and his wife because they were supposedly invited to a wedding. When Teman returned to his home, he found it completely demolished: the apartment had obviously become the scene of a sex orgy.

However, the guests did not stop at making love: They threw furniture out of the window and, according to Teman, caused damage of $ 87,000. He will probably be at least partially seated on that. Outraged, the man wrote an ironic letter to Airbnb founder Brian Chesky, which he published on the Tumblr blog platform. Teman's case is extreme. Tens of thousands of rentals run through the popular platform every year without any damage. Nevertheless, users run a certain risk when they give the key to their apartment to strangers.

No case for household insurance

Because in Germany an insurance company does not usually pay for damage caused by a guest. "If damage occurs in a commercially sublet apartment, this is not a case for private household insurance," says insurance broker Holger Schnittker, explaining the situation in Germany. In addition: "Damage caused by vandalism is not covered in most contracts, unless it was the result of a break-in."

Even if sub-tenants steal like ravens, the host is unlucky: he won't see a penny if the tenants take away the expensive television or valuables for a while. "In household contents policies, simple theft of items inside the home is usually not insured," says the broker.

The General Association of the German Insurance Industry points out that the guest's personal liability policy may apply if they knock over an expensive vase or spill wine on the elegant carpet. "As a host, I would always have the guest show me the relevant contract," says an association spokeswoman. An alternative could be to ask for a deposit.

Websites offer landlord protection, but hardly provide any information

She advises users of Airbnb, Wimdu and Co. not only to inform the landlord but also to the home contents and apartment building insurer in advance before they make their apartment available to strangers for a fee. "Commercial leasing always changes the risk," says the spokeswoman. Users could not expect the insurer to assume any damage without prior agreement.

As an alternative to insurance, many brokerage platforms offer their users special collateral. The 9flats portal works together with the insurer Zurich. "Every booked accommodation is insured against accidental damage to rented property with a sum insured of up to 500,000 euros," says a spokesman for the portal. Landlords do not have any extra costs. In the event of damage, however, they must pay a deductible of 250 euros.

However, the service only applies "within the framework of the valid insurance contract", according to 9flats' general guarantee conditions. Which one it is remains unclear. It is similarly non-transparent with competitor Wimdu, which, according to a spokeswoman, also offers free landlord protection of up to 500,000 euros. Otherwise, the information that users receive on the Internet about Wimdu insurance is rather sparse.