While tourists expect their accommodation to have adequate insurance, a new study revealed that few paying guests actually bother to check this when booking.
The majority (58.1%) of customers thought that insurance was essential – however, only one in three (31.3%) said they actually bothered to check to see if the accommodation they were booking with had adequate cover, according to research conducted by accommodation accreditation company Quality in Tourism.
Deborah Heather, director of Quality in Tourism, said that the findings highlighted the need for “universal standards for all types of accommodation where customers pay to stay.”
“It shows that there is still a gap between what people perceive to be in place automatically in regard to safety, cleanliness and compliance with the law, but in reality, it’s not the case,” said Heather. “Importantly, not enough customers are checking these standards before booking. Insurance is seen as one of the essential elements of any rental accommodation’s minimum standards, but we know that in many cases there isn’t the appropriate insurance in place.”
The findings also don’t come as a surprise to Louise Birritteri, founder and chief executive officer of sharing economy insurance firm Pikl. According to Birritteri, the findings “provide really strong evidence that the insurance needs of the majority of short-term rental hosts are not being adequately accommodated by major insurers in the UK.”
“Guests and hosts participating in the short-term letting sector presume that their hosts’ standard home insurance provides adequate cover,” said Birritteri. “The truth is that, in the vast majority of cases, it’s not. Currently, too many short-term let hosts are not properly insured, more through a lack of understanding than avoidance.”
In response, Birritteri called on guests to make sure they check their accommodation hosts’ insurance before booking.
“If the majority of guests are not bothering to check, it could lead to a very unfortunate situation where they are not covered should they experience theft, trauma or worse, a severe accident leaving them hospitalised or even permanently injured or incapacitated,” said Birritteri. “We very much encourage anyone booking a short-term rental to check whether their host has the right insurance cover in place.”