The sharing economy – and how to regulate, tax and insure it – remains a hot topic in Canada. Canadian provinces, for example, are taking different approaches to regulation of popular home-sharing services such as Airbnb, with Ontario saying it will leave regulation up to the municipalities and Quebec saying, in contrast, that it wants to “level the playing field” and make sure that Airbnb renters pay taxes and follow regulations the same way that other hospitality industry participants do.
There is no doubt about the need for insurance. Earlier this year, a Calgary couple rented out their home through Airbnb to four people attending a wedding. According to news reports, a party bus soon pulled up with about 100 people on board and a night of revelry ensued, with several police visits.
Damage to the home was extensive, estimated by a Calgary police official at up to $75,000. Fortunately, an Airbnb spokesman said that the service’s insurance covered damage up to $1 million.
Canadian Underwriter recently reported on a poll conducted by Allstate Canada which showed that 25% of polled Canadians who have rented out their property through a property-sharing service did not think about insurance first. Many homeowners seem to believe their existing policy will cover all risks of renting, but that may not be the case. Companies underwriting homeowners’ insurance policies should be communicating with their policyholders about what their policies do and do not cover in these cases.