Nearly 75 percent of Americans will take a vacation this summer. Many of us will use a
ride-sharing or hosting service like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb or Homeaway. They are easy to
use and often cheaper than their traditional counterparts. But this booming industry poses
risks for both the user and provider. Whether you’re taking a ride-sharing trip across
town or renting out your home to some vacationers, make sure you understand the
Home-sharing or peer-to-peer rentals are sites where people rent out rooms or entire
homes for extra income. Guests pay for the stay like a hotel. The difference is that the
property is privately owned.
- Review your personal policies. If you are staying in a house or condo through
services like Airbnb or Homeaway, confirm your own homeowners, renters or
personal liability policies. They can offer protection for potential damages to the
rental property. If not, make adjustments as needed.
- Purchase the right coverage. If you are considering renting out rooms for a profit,
know that many homeowners’ policies won’t cover property damage caused by or
injuries to a paying guest. Talk to the home-sharing service and your agent to decide
if additional liability coverage or special landlord insurance is needed.
- Ask for proof. Consider only renting to guests who show proof of homeowners,
renters or personal liability insurance. If a guest damages rented property, hosts can
report a claim on the guest’s policy.
Companies like Uber and Lyft connect drivers in their personal cars with people who
need rides. Passengers and drivers can screen each other, schedule rides and collect
payment through an app.
- Research before riding. Before hopping into a hired car, know the extent of
protection in case of an accident. Most ride-sharing companies have liability policies
to cover any passenger injuries. If you are hurt in a wreck during your ride, file a
claim with both the driver’s insurance and the ride-sharing company’s insurance.
They will sort out who is responsible for your injuries.
- Ask your insurer. Before signing up as a ride-share driver, talk to your insurance
company. Personal auto insurance typically excludes liability coverage for business
use when a personal car is being used to transport people for a fee.
- Review the company’s policies. Some ride-sharing companies provide primary
insurance. Uber and Lyft also offer contingent collision and comprehensive coverage
that takes effect when the driver accepts a ride request or has a passenger in the
Goods & Services for Hire
Lenders and borrowers advertise and rent personal items like power tools, golf clubs or
even designer dresses online. Another example is someone who seeks help with tasks like
packing boxes or housecleaning.
- Require a security deposit. When lending goods such as high-fashion clothing or a
bicycle, get a security deposit to cover any losses. Capture photos and other
information in a home inventory.
- Make sure it works. You can be held liable for renting out items that are known to
not work properly. A homeowner’s policy may not cover the transaction because
payment was exchanged for rented goods.
- Know who’s paying. Hiring a stranger to help with home cleaning, moving or other
tasks through sites such as TaskRabbit? Find out whose insurance covers what. The
service may offer a guarantee, but often it is secondary to any insurance you already
have in place.
The sharing economy offers new and exciting opportunities. Just make sure you are wellversed on the insurance implications to keep you and your property safe. For more
insurance information, contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071 or
visit our website at www.ok.gov.