Everything you need to know about damage policy options

Updated 2 days ago | 5 min read
Save

We understand how personal it is to rent out your property, and you may wonder what happens if guests damage something.

Most guests respect the properties they stay at. According to our statistics, damage by guests is very rare—occurring only once for 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 any occurs.


What’s in this article:


Damage prevention

What can I do to prevent damage to my property?

  • Show guests that your property has an owner

    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’d 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 and leave 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 are fewer chances that issues will arise. On the Extranet, you can set up house rules that address common issues around pets, smoking, parties, and noise.

    If you have other rules that aren’t covered on the Extranet, you can type them up and print a copy to leave at your place so guests are reminded of them during their stays.

  • 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 guests, so contact your insurance provider to check if you’re already covered or need additional coverage.

    Even if your insurance covers short-term rentals, there’s often a deductible charge for damages – meaning you pay up to a certain amount before the insurance company pays the rest.


Handling damage

What are my options for handling damage?

Even though most guests are careful and considerate when staying at your place, accidents happen. In such cases, here are your options:

  • For everyday damage, you can choose from two damage policy options to repair or replace items or property damaged by guests: damage deposit or damage program. The two options differ in terms of how the damage payment process is facilitated. If you opt for a damage deposit, you’ll manage the process yourself. If you set up a damage program, we’ll facilitate the damage payment process on your behalf.
  • For larger damagePartner Liability Insurance is a program designed to protect you against third-party lawsuits or liability claims for bodily injury or guest property damage incurred during a stay booked through our platform. These are extremely rare instances, so read about Partner Liability Insurance carefully before you make a claim.

How do I check which option I currently have?

You can check your current option by following these steps:

  1. Log in to the Extranet
  2. Select the Property tab.
  3. Click Policies and scroll down to Other policies. If you’ve set up a damage policy option, it will appear here. If you haven’t, click Edit and follow the steps there to set one up.

Note: Your home-like property is covered under Partner Liability Insurance as soon as it’s listed on our platform. Coverage will apply for all guest stays booked through our platform that take place on or after March 31, 2022, as long as you remain opted in to the program during stay dates.

 

What else can I do?

  • Report guest misconduct

    To make sure a guest can’t book your property again and to inform us of their behavior, you can also report damages using the guest misconduct tool under the Extranet’s Reservations tab.

  • Make an insurance claim

    If you have an insurance policy that covers short-term rentals 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 taking photos and keeping any evidence that may prove useful to your claim.


Damage deposit

What is a damage deposit?

Setting up a damage deposit allows you to collect deposit money upfront in case a guest causes damage to your property or items during their stay. However, damage deposits tend to result in fewer bookings and more cancellations.

Remember that you’ll manage the entire damage payment process yourself.

How does a damage deposit work?

A damage deposit follows these steps:

  • Before their stay, your guest gives you a deposit directly. You define how and when you collect this amount and manage the money yourself.
  • You collect and return the amount that you set at the time of booking.
  • You're within your rights to keep it if any damage is proven to be caused by the guest.

How do I set up a damage deposit?

To set up your damage deposit, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the Extranet.
  2. Select the Property tab
  3. Click Policies and scroll down to Other policies 
  4. Click Edit in the Damage policy options box (you’ll be redirected to another page)
  5. Under Do your guests pay a damage deposit? select Yes and follow the instructions to set your damage deposit

Damage program

What is the damage program?

The damage program allows us to facilitate any damage payments for you at no additional cost.

With this option, we take care of everything, from contacting the guest if damage occurs to facilitating the payment process on your behalf. 

How does the damage program work?

The damage program follows these steps:

  • Your guest doesn’t pay a deposit upfront – they only pay if they cause damage during their stay and you report it to us.
  • You can only ask guests to pay for the value of the damage caused, up to a maximum amount selected when you set up the damage program.
  • If damage occurs, you submit a damage payment request that your guest will be asked to pay if they cause damage to your property.
  • You have 14 days after the guest checks out to submit a request via Booking.com.
  • We contact the guest for you, informing them that damage occurred during their stay and that you’re requesting payment from them.
  • If your damage payment request is accepted, we’ll send it to you via bank transfer. This process can take up to 30 days.

How do I set up the damage program?

To set up your damage program:

  1. Log in to the Extranet and click the Property tab.
  2. Click Policies, scroll down to Other policies, and click Edit in the Damage policy options box. You’ll be redirected to another page. 
  3. Under Do your guests pay a damage deposit?, select Yes.
  4. Under Enter the maximum amount a guest can be charged for damage (per stay), enter an amount of your choosing. Maximum cap amounts vary for properties in other countries due to different currency values.
  5. Click Save.

Note: To adjust the maximum amount guests could be charged for damage, follow the steps above.

 

When will a new maximum amount be applied?

A new maximum amount doesn’t apply to guests who booked before you adjust the amount. 

For example, if you set up $300 as the maximum on Monday and your guest books and causes damage on Tuesday, you can charge your guest a maximum of $300. This is because the program applies at the time the guest books the stay. 


Making a damage payment request

How do I make a damage payment request?

If a guest damages your property or items within your property, here’s how to make a damage payment request:

  1. Log in to the Extranet
  2. Go to the Reservations tab and select the reservation where the damage occurred
  3. Click the Make a damage payment request button
  4. Fill out the form and provide a clear description of the damage. State how much you’re requesting and provide a clear photo(s) of the damage.
  5. Once completed, click Review request

It can take up to 14 days to process a damage payment request. You can monitor the progress of your request on the reservation details page.

What can I ask the guest to pay for?

You can ask the guest to pay for things like:

  • Damage to furniture, electronic equipment, decor, dishware, etc.
  • Water damage, broken fixtures, scratched floors, holes in walls or ceilings, etc.
  • Third-party cleaning due to more than general mess (evidence of an invoice required).
  • Lost keys or stolen belongings (evidence of an invoice of original purchase or receipt of a replacement required).

You can’t ask guests to pay for things like:

  • Routine cleaning jobs like garbage bags being left out, vacuum cleaning, food left on surfaces, dirty dishes, etc.
  • Non-physical damages like smoking in your property, general mess, or things left untidy, etc.
  • Breaking any kind of house rules like bringing pets if not allowed, late check-in, extra guests, etc.
  • Extra fees that were unpaid like pet fees or tourist taxes, etc.

What kind of evidence can I use?

To make it easy for the guest to understand and be more likely to pay, while also helping us process your request quickly, make sure you: 

  • Describe the damage in detail
  • Provide clear and relevant photos of the damage
  • Attach invoices or receipts where necessary

What kind of evidence am I not allowed to use?

For your guests’ and your own security, there are a few things you shouldn’t upload as evidence. These are:

  • Invoices where private addresses or phone numbers are included – or anything else containing Personal Identifiable Information (PII) like names, phone numbers, emails, or addresses.
  • Security camera footage of guests.
  • Screenshots of conversations between you, staff, or the guest.

How do I check the status of my damage payment request?

After you submit a damage payment request, here’s how to check its status:

  1. Log in to the Extranet
  2. Click Reservations
  3. Select the reservation you submitted the damage payment request for.
  4. Under Damage payment request status, you’ll find the current status of your request.

What do the damage payment statuses mean?

Here’s what the Extranet’s damage payment request statuses mean:

  • Under review – we’re currently in the process of assessing your request and letting the guest know about it on your behalf. This can take up to 14 days.
  • More evidence needed – we’ve assessed your request and determined that there isn’t enough evidence of damage. We’ve sent you an email explaining how you can submit more evidence.
  • Approved – we’ve approved your request, and you should receive the amount requested with your next payout.
  • Payment in progress – we’re currently processing your payment, which you should receive with your next payout within 30 days.
  • Damage payment sent – we’ve successfully sent your payment to you.
  • Declined – we were unable to approve your request and sent you an email with more details.
  • Request canceled – you canceled your request.

How long does the damage payment request process take?

We’ll assess your damage payment request as soon as you submit it and contact the guest on your behalf to inform them of the damage. This can take up to 14 days. 

When will I receive the damage request payment?

Once your request is approved, it can take up to 30 days for you to receive payment. You can monitor the progress of your request on the reservation details page.


Maximum amount of damage payment

Booking.com facilitates damage payment requests via Payments by Booking.com, up to a maximum amount. These maximum amounts vary for properties in different countries. 

Check out the Extranet’s product policy page under Damage policy options to find the maximum amount that a guest could be charged for damage. Damage payment requests facilitated by Payments by Booking.com go up to €/$/£500, but this amount is subject to change. 

Is this article helpful?