How do I handle property damage by guests?
We understand that renting out your place is quite personal, which may lead you to wonder what happens if your property or belongings are damaged by guests.
For the most part, guests do respect the properties they stay at. According to our statistics, it’s very rare for guests to cause damage – only one in every 5,000 bookings – and most of those incidents are accidental rather than intentional.
Below we offer some suggestions on how to prevent damage to your property and how to react in the unlikely event that it happens:
How to prevent damage to your property
Put a face to your place
If you’re meeting guests on arrival, welcome them to your home, show them around and tell them a little about your history there. When it’s clear that it’s your private residence, guests are more careful than they would be in a hotel. Even if you can’t greet them in person, you can add a personal host profile to your Booking.com property page, as well as leaving a welcome pack.
Make your house rules clear
If guests know the dos and don’ts of staying at your place from the start, there’s less chance that issues will arise. In the extranet, you can set up house rules that address common issues around pets, smoking, parties and noise.
If you have other specific rules that can’t be covered in the extranet, you could type them up and print a copy to leave at your place so guests are reminded of them during their stay.
Check your insurance policy
The chances of guests damaging your property are extremely low, but it’s smart to insure yourself against the unexpected. Regular homeowner insurance doesn’t always cover short-term rentals to others, so contact your insurance provider to check if you’re already covered or whether you need additional coverage.
Even if your insurance policy covers short-term rentals, there’s often a separate ‘excess’ charge for damages – meaning you pay up to a certain amount, and the insurance company pays the rest.
If you wish to cover these particular risks , you could set up a damage deposit. However, it’s worth remembering that damage deposits tend to result in fewer bookings and more cancellations.
How to handle potential damage to your property
Even if most guests are careful and considerate when staying at your place, accidents occasionally happen. In such cases, here are your options:
Keep the damage deposit
If you’ve already collected a damage deposit, you’re within your rights to keep it in cases where the damage is proven to be caused by the guest. Learn how to set up a damage deposit.
Make an insurance claim
If you have an insurance policy that covers short-term renting of your property, you may be able to make a claim. Contact your insurance provider for more details.
Note: Any insurance claim you make is subject to your own risk/claim threshold and may have an adverse effect on your insurance premium. Most insurance providers ask for proof of damages in order to evaluate your claim. We recommend that you take photos and retain any evidence that may prove useful to your claim.
Important: This article is intended for information purposes only and does not constitute any (legal) advice or guarantee, and you cannot derive any rights from this information. We advise you to consult your insurance broker, provider and legal advisor for further guidance and assistance on protecting your assets and mitigating damages, losses and expenses.
Guest Policies & Payments
- How can I set up no-credit card details on my most flexible rate?
- Can I set up the same policies for all of my properties in one go?
- How do I attach a new cancellation policy to a rate?
- How can I set up the grace period?
- How can I change the breakfast type?
- How to waive fees with the Cancellation Fee Exceptions tool
- No credit card details for domestic bookers
- Managing my services charges
- Last-minute bookings without credit cards
- How can I update my property’s WiFi internet settings in the extranet?
- How can I make changes to my property's policies?
- Why are there restrictions for setting up policies?
- Can I change or add policies myself?
- What type of policies can I set up?
- How to set up policies, rooms, rates and facilities for children
- How can I change cancellation policies?
- Making changes to your parking policies
- How can I set up ‘no credit-card details for domestic bookers’?
- How do I handle property damage by guests?
- How can I view guest credit card details using Pulse?
- Do I supply guests with invoices?
- How can I access guests’ credit card details?
- How can I set up pre-authorisation for guests’ credit cards?
- How can I set up a damage deposit?
- How do I mark a credit card as invalid?
- How can I change my payment preferences and which credit cards I accept?
- How can I make changes to deposit and pre-payment information?
- I'd like to set up a prepayment deposit. How can I do this?
- How do I handle guest payments?
- The guest hasn't paid the deposit/pre-payment. Can I cancel the booking?
- What is Strong Customer Authentication?
- Can I charge credit card and/or payment fees on bookings I receive through Booking.com?
- Can I mark credit cards as invalid in Pulse?
- Introducing payment solutions from Booking.com
- Payments - FAQs and all you need to know
- How can I join Payments by Booking.com?
- How much does it cost to use Payments by Booking.com?
- What to know about virtual credit cards (VCCs)
- Receiving bank transfer payments via Payoneer in Japan
- Temporary changes for virtual credit card activation date (VCC)
- How and when do I refund a virtual credit card (VCC) ?
- Cost savings and earlier activation dates for virtual credit cards