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Allstate extends a hand to Airbnb hosts with home-sharing insurance

The “good hands” people at Allstate Insurance want to support home-sharing hosts. If you rent your home temporarily with Airbnb or other home-sharing services, not every type of loss may be covered on your existing homeowner insurance policy. Allstate will soon offer an add-on to your policy that covers home-sharing gaps, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The new policy rider, called HostAdvantage, will be marketed as a test starting in mid-August for home-sharing hosts in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, and Utah. If the program is successful, Allstate will sell the add-on in more states starting in 2017.

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The HostAdvantage rider will cost about $50 on top of a conventional homeowner’s policy. The rider is intended to protect hosts against losses not already covered by the regular policy or by the free insurance that companies like Airbnb provide to hosts. The Airbnb policy, for example, adds liability coverage in case a guest gets hurt in your home and decides to sue, but if a guest breaks or steals something, Airbnb’s policy doesn’t help.

Traditional homeowner insurance policies protect you from a myriad of losses. If you’re considering HostAdvantage it’s worth a few minutes to check with your agent to see if the new program’s specific benefits are already included in your current policy. If what you have now has you covered 100 percent when, for example, guests trash your home or steal your stuff, HostAdvantage may not offer any advantages. It’s worth checking.

“If a temporary renter accidentally set a fire in the kitchen trying to cook dinner, you’d still be covered without this endorsement,” said Allstate spokesman Justin Herndon. “But if a temporary renter cracked your flat-screen TV or stole your home theater system, you wouldn’t have any coverage without this [rider].”

“While some home-sharing companies like Airbnb or HomeAway may have coverage options for their hosts,” Allstate added in its related statement, “Allstate’s HostAdvantage targets specific needs of customers who participate in home-sharing and provides a trusted brand that enhances a customer’s current homeowner policy.”