How do I handle property damage by guests?

We know renting out your place is very personal, so you might be wondering what happens if your property or belongings are damaged by guests.

For the most part, guests 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.

Check out some of our suggestions below on how to prevent damage to your property and how to react in the unlikely event it happens:

How to prevent damage to your property

Put a face to your place

If you meet guests when they arrive, make sure you welcome them into your home, show them around, and tell them a little about your history there. When it’s clear they're staying at a 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 and leave a welcome pack.

Make your house rules clear

If guests know the rules of staying at your place from the start, there’s less chance that issues will come up. On the Extranet, set up house rules that address common issues like pets, smoking, parties, and noise.

If you have other specific rules that can’t be covered on the Extranet, type them up, print a copy, and leave it at your place so guests will see them during their stay.

Check your insurance policy

Guests are highly unlikely to damage your property, but it’s a good idea to insure yourself against the unexpected. Regular homeowner's insurance doesn’t always cover individuals not listed on the policy, so contact your insurance provider to see if you’re already covered or if 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 want coverage for these specific risks, set up a damage deposit. However, it’s worth remembering that damage deposits often 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 sometimes happen. In such cases, here's what you can do:

Keep the damage deposit

If you’ve already collected a damage deposit, you have the right to keep it when 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 might 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 can have an adverse effect on your insurance premium. Most insurance providers ask for proof of damages in order to evaluate your claim. We recommend you take photos and keep any evidence that can prove useful to your claim.

You can also report damages using the guest misconduct tool in your Extranet's Reservations tab.

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.