Airbnb has launched travel insurance for guests. Hinted at during an earnings call in August 2021 and rolled out in mid-2022, Airbnb is certainly not the first online booking platform to offer guests travel insurance. Vrbo has provided its guests in the US with options for travel insurance for years while online travel agent Hopper even extends trip protection to third-party bookings, expanding its range of fintech products while keeping customers on the app.
Travel insurance is a type of insurance purchased by travelers to cover different types of risks and financial losses that they may incur due to unforeseeable reasons in the course of traveling, domestically and/or internationally. These can range from canceled flights and missing luggage to injuries and illness. Travel insurance is usually priced based on the cost of the trip and the age of the traveler.
Airbnb is now offering travel insurance to guests using its platform that they can purchase when making their booking. The policies are issued through the Generali Group.
At present, Airbnb travel insurance is available to guests residing in the US, UK and some countries in the European Union. These include Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
Airbnb will roll out the product to guests living in other parts of the world in the future.
Airbnb’s travel insurance policies are offered through Generali US Branch and Europ Assistance S.A., both of which are subsidiaries of the leading multinational insurer, the Generali Group.
For residents of the US, the travel insurance policy is offered by Airbnb Insurance Agency LLC which is underwritten by Generali US Branch.
For UK residents, the travel insurance is underwritten by Europ Assistance SA.
Europ Assistance SA, acting through its Irish branch, underwrites the travel insurance for EU residents.
Airbnb travel insurance covers four main areas with differences in the finer details based on location.
Travelers can get reimbursed up to 100% of their reservation cost if they cancel for reasons that are covered. Reasons covered include flight delays due to mechanical breakdown, serious injury or illness, and natural disasters at the trip destination or home location.
For example, if a guest has booked to stay in an Airbnb in Florida under the firm cancellation policy which only provides a full refund if they cancel at least 30 days before check-in, cancels the trip due to a hurricane in the state 10 days before they are set to arrive. The cancellation policy dictates that the host refunds 50% of the booking, leaving the guest at a loss for 50% of what they paid for accommodation. However, because Airbnb travel insurance covers natural disasters like hurricanes, the guest will receive the remaining 50% as an insurance payout.
If the trip is delayed for at least 12 hours due to an unforeseeable circumstance such as mechanical breakdown of the guest’s vehicle; a storm, fire, or flood at the point of departure; or loss of travel documents or money, Airbnb travel insurance will reimburse the insured traveler for certain additional expenses incurred as a result.
Insured Airbnb guests can also get reimbursed for medical expenses they incur while traveling abroad. These include costs of medication prescribed by a doctor, ambulance journeys ordered by a doctor, and hospitalization.
Insured travelers are reimbursed for luggage that has been definitively lost or damaged by the carrier.
Airbnb travel insurance also includes emergency and travel assistance services available 24/7 as well as other perks.
The specifics of how coverage is defined and thus what is not covered is dependent on the country of residence of the Airbnb traveler. For example, UK residents are not covered for travel costs such as flights, trains, and ferries as well as pre-existing medical conditions.
Policy details relevant to each country including areas of coverage and key exclusions are provided at the booking window where guests can choose to purchase Airbnb travel insurance or not.
While Airbnb AirCover for hosts had existed previously, albeit under a different name, Airbnb introduced AirCover for guests as part of its 2022 Summer Release. It is an entirely different product from Airbnb travel insurance.
Airbnb AirCover is provided to all Airbnb guests, for free, while Airbnb travel insurance is a paid product that guests can choose to purchase.
Airbnb AirCover is a set of protections while Airbnb travel insurance is an actual insurance product.
Airbnb AirCover covers issues that occur during the stay at the host’s Airbnb vacation rental while Airbnb travel insurance covers issues outside the host’s control, such as trip delays, natural disasters, and guests falling sick.
Airbnb AirCover protections are paid for by hosts while Airbnb travel insurance is paid for by the insurance company underwriting the policy. There is zero host involvement.
Airbnb AirCover is made available to all travelers who book through Airbnb while only residents of the US, UK, and some EU countries are provided with the option to purchase Airbnb travel insurance.
Airbnb travel insurance doesn’t have a fixed price. It is dependent on the total cost of the trip and the location of residence from which the guest is making their booking. Generally, the travel insurance premium is a percentage of the total trip cost.
The cost will be shown as a line item at checkout.
Eligible Airbnb users are provided the option of adding travel insurance during booking.
On the checkout page, guests can opt to purchase Airbnb’s travel insurance product.
The details of the insurance plan available to them including key areas of coverage and exclusions can be viewed on dedicated screens.
Guests simply add travel insurance to the booking before checkout.
Once the reservation is confirmed, the guest will receive an email confirming the purchase of travel insurance and include a copy of the insurance policy. The email will also include a link to their insurance coverage overview page where they can cancel the plan, start a claim, etc.
Airbnb travel insurance can be canceled on the coverage overview page by selecting Cancel policy. The link to the page is sent in the email confirming purchase of the travel insurance.
Guests can cancel their policy within a set number of days of purchase to obtain a full premium refund.
Airbnb guests residing in the US with the exception of Indiana can cancel their policy within 10 days of purchase. Indiana residents can cancel within 30 days of purchase.
UK and EU residents can cancel within 14 days of purchase.
Guests cannot cancel their policy after they have started their trip or started their claim even if they are within the cancellation period.
Travelers who have purchased Airbnb travel insurance can start a claim by selecting Start a claim on their coverage overview page. The link to the page is sent in the email confirming purchase of the travel insurance.
Claims can also be started by directly contacting the insurer relevant to each country. Therefore, US residents can contact Generali directly while UK and EU residents can contact Europ Assistance directly.
For questions about the plan, claiming process or to request for travel assistance, guests can contact customer support.
US residents can contact Generali customer support by calling (866) 757-0010 or emailing email@example.com. For medical and travel emergencies, they can call (877) 243-4135.
UK residents can contact Europ Assistance by calling +44 203 7888 656 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Austria residents can contact Europ Assistance by calling +43 120 609 2205 or emailing email@example.com.
Germany residents can contact Europ Assistance by calling +49 302 238 4619 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ireland residents can contact Europ Assistance by calling +353 15 41 07 39 or emailing email@example.com.
Italy residents can contact Europ Assistance by calling +39 02 23 33 14 35 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Netherlands residents can contact Europ Assistance by calling +31 207003745 or emailing email@example.com. For travel assistance they can call +32 2 541 9011.
Portugal residents can contact Europ Assistance by calling +34 915 368 419 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spain residents can contact Europ Assistance by calling +34 915 143 721 or emailing email@example.com.
There is an assortment of travel insurance products available to all types of travelers everywhere. So if you are not a resident of the US, UK, or eligible EU country and booking through Airbnb, you can still purchase travel insurance directly from an insurance provider or agent. Make sure to read reviews and check comparison sites to ensure you are getting the best value for your spend.
Airbnb’s AirCover for guests and travel insurance are two different but complementary products that work well together. For example, if a guest arrives at their destination only to find the host has canceled the reservation at the last minute. Meanwhile, they are informed at the airport that their baggage is missing. While AirCover will help the guest find a new place to stay at no extra cost, they can file an insurance claim to get reimbursed for their missing baggage.
Airbnb travel insurance is more than just a step in creating new revenue streams. It is also a means of providing added convenience to users inclined to purchase travel insurance while keeping them inside the Airbnb platform instead of roaming elsewhere in search of travel products. Providing the option can also encourage guests who may not usually opt for travel insurance to do so while deflecting blame away from Airbnb during instances such as Hurricane Ian of 2022 which left guests at the mercy of hosts being able to afford or willing to refund their guests for missed travel plans.
At present, the product is considered to provide decent coverage for a reasonable price though it is yet to provide fuller coverage such as cancellations for any reasons or full travel costs as provided by more exciting products available on the market.