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All new Damage Protection program with RentalGuardian!

We recently announced that our Damage Protection program was changing, and today we're excited to announce the new program that will be taking its place.

In the near future, we will be adding a number of new products, both on the Damage Protection and Travel Insurance sides, but we first have been focusing on creating a drop-in replacement for the Damage Protection we have now.  And we've done just that!

We're happy to introduce a new partnership with RentalGuardian!

We are highly impressed with RentalGuardian's product lines, technology and team.  They understand the market and the customer base and can provide the same or better level of coverage that our users depend on to secure their rentals.

Our team is hard at work getting the transition in place and we anticipate announcing the transition date in the next few days.  In the meantime, here are some details we can share...

Features

The new program will be very similar to the Damage Protection program we currently offer.  Like before, the program will follow a spread-risk model that protects you (the owner or PM), not the guest.  We continue to feel that this is the best type of damage coverage for vacation rentals as it does not require an admission of guilt by the guest and does not create a "self-selecting bad group" of guests who buy protection.

All bookings will be required to carry the protection for the properties that are enrolled in the program.  Cancelled bookings will automatically remove coverage, but you will not be able to pick and choose which bookings have it and which do not.  Accidents happen, of course, and our support team will help you remove erroneous coverage (eg. bulk-imported bookings, etc).  Like before, we highly encourage holding a security deposit on all bookings even with Damage Protection in place.

In the past, claims were filed via manual PDF and the process lacked transparency.  RentalGuardian has an online trackable tool for filing claims that will be much easier to use.

In the past, you were not allowed to build Damage Protection into your rates as a limitation of the program.  However, you will now be able to do that.  While you can't explicitly say "Damage Protection" as a line item in the guest charges, you can add a general maintenance or admin fee to cover the amount, thereby passing the cost onto the guest.

Another great feature will be a new program called Guest Option.  This program will allow you to offer Damage Protection to the guest on a booking by booking basis for a higher cost but one that is entirely passed to the guest.  If the guest purchases coverage, you will have the option of automatically skipping the security deposit (or not) based on settings.  To be clear, you will have to choose between the Spread Risk (current) program and the Guest Option.  You cannot have both programs running on the same properties.  Any Spread Risk properties will be treated separately and the guest will not be shown any options.  Guest Option is coming in early 2020 and will not be available at the transition date.

Rates and Coverage Amounts

We negotiated with RentalGuardian to keep coverage levels the same as well as adding a new $5,000 coverage level for our users who have wanted a higher level.

We also tried to keep premium amounts as low as possible while accommodating a newer carrier, better features, better technology and some small cost-of-living adjustments which we have not done in several years.

The new coverage amounts and premiums will be as follows:

Coverage Per Booking Premium
$500 of covered damage $13.00
$1,500 of covered damage $27.00
$3,000 of covered damage $45.00
$5,000 of covered damage $69.00

Transitioning Over

Again, we are working hard to make this as seamless a transition as possible.  The new program is specifically designed to be a drop-in replacement for the old program.  As such, there is nothing you have to do to transition from one to the other.  On the transition date - which we will be announcing in a few days - your current properties will be automatically enrolled in the new program and the coverage amounts will stay the same.  Continue watching our blog and your inbox for more details about the transition.

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32 Comments (add yours)

Nov 12, 19
4:51 pm
Daniel R says:

This is good news, thanks,

Nov 12, 19
6:56 pm
NatalGraniteRetr says:

Thanks! It looks great!

Nov 12, 19
7:48 pm
John W says:

I am new, how does this apply to bookings from VRBO and Airbnb?

Nov 13, 19
8:04 am
William L says:

Thank You great job!!

Nov 13, 19
11:34 am
Paul W says:

John W said:

I am new, how does this apply to bookings from VRBO and Airbnb?

Hi John, take a look at our support article on Damage Protection here:

https://www.ownerreservations.com/support/articles/damage-protection-overview#imported

That has a section about VRBO/Airbnb bookings. Basically, we highly recommend that those bookings be covered as well (because this is a different better coverage that the channels do not offer). But we do have a "don't apply DP" toggle on channel settings where you can skip over those bookings. Read that article.

Nov 13, 19
11:42 am
BlueMtnCabins says:

Guest option sounds wonderful!

Nov 13, 19
11:47 am
BlueMtnCabins says:

"Another great feature will be a new program called Guest Option. This program will allow you to offer Damage Protection to the guest on a booking by booking basis for a higher cost but one that is entirely passed to the guest. If the guest purchases coverage, you will have the option of automatically skipping the security deposit (or not) based on settings. To be clear, you will have to choose between the Spread Risk (current) program and the Guest Option. You cannot have both programs running on the same properties. Any Spread Risk properties will be treated separately and the guest will not be shown any options. Guest Option is coming in early 2020 and will not be available at the transition date."

Question, does that mean that on quote guest can select either RDD or Guest option? As my RDD is set as separate not taxable item on quote.

Nov 13, 19
12:44 pm
Paul W says:

BlueMtnCabins said:

Question, does that mean that on quote guest can select either RDD or Guest option? As my RDD is set as separate not taxable item on quote.

Yes, but it depends on how you do your RDD. Guest Option will be surfaced (ie. shown to the guest) in a similar way that Travel Insurance is currently. There will be settings for it where you can configure whether the security hold is skipped if they select the damage protection option (or you can still do both). If your RDD is a hard-coded surcharge in the charges, because you collect the money and refund it back after, there wouldn't be a way of removing that upfront. However, we plan to make security deposit have a RDD/surcharge option and not just be the hold, so that would work later on.

Nov 13, 19
2:33 pm
BlueMtnCabins says:

yes, my RDD is not a sec hold. It is actual charged amount

Nov 14, 19
8:31 pm
Roger L says:

"n the past, you were not allowed to build Damage Protection into your rates as a limitation of the program. However, you will now be able to do that. While you can't explicitly say "Damage Protection" as a line item in the guest charges, you can add a general maintenance or admin fee to cover the amount, thereby passing the cost onto the guest."

We used to be able to list DP as a line item, but no longer?

Nov 15, 19
11:54 am
Ken T says:

Not exactly.

It used to be that you were expressly forbidden by the contract from rolling Damage Protection into your rates or listing it as a specific line item.

Now, you can, except that you cannot literally have a specific surcharge saying "Damage Protection". Just call it "Maintenance Fee" instead, or if you already have a fee like that, simply build the cost of the damage protection into that fee.

Nov 15, 19
2:43 pm
Paul W says:

Transition will occur on Mon Nov 18:

https://www.ownerreservations.com/blog/transition-to-rentalguardian-will-go-live-on-monday-nov-18

Nov 15, 19
5:22 pm
BlueMtnCabins says:

Ken T said:

Not exactly.

It used to be that you were expressly forbidden by the contract from rolling Damage Protection into your rates or listing it as a specific line item.

Now, you can, except that you cannot literally have a specific surcharge saying "Damage Protection". Just call it "Maintenance Fee" instead, or if you already have a fee like that, simply build the cost of the damage protection into that fee.


can you call it "damage waiver fee"?

Nov 15, 19
6:56 pm
Paul W says:

No, you can't because of insurance regulations that say that if the guest is paying for it, then they are the insured party and, as such, they are supposed to be allowed to opt-out and so on. This spread-risk model is not insurance for the guest, it's for the owner/PM. As such, the guest can not be the one paying for it. You can increase your other fees or add on other nominal charges for admin/management, but the guest cannot have a named fee for damage protection. That being said, we will be adding a Guest Option program, totally separate, where the guest will see and be able to select if they want it but that's a totally different program with different guidelines, rules and rates.

Nov 16, 19
3:01 pm
Rich S says:

I'm curious how many owners are planning on including this coverage. In the past year I've had about 100 bookings and if I had paid $27/booking I'd be out $2700. Maybe I've been lucky, but I had maybe one broken glass in the year. Now maybe there could have been a broken window or TV or countertop, but I imagine most years I won't have any significant claims per each 100 bookings.

This seems like for some owners it could be a useful protection, but I'm not getting why I shouldn't just self insure. This coverage won't help with catastrophic losses, and I already have mentally prepared to spend $2000+ on repairs/upgrades anyway so in years where nothing goes wrong I'd rather pocket the cost of the insurance.

My view is that I have to pay for this out of my own pocket. If I'm able to pass it along to the guest it means I could have raised my rates anyway.

Now on the flip side, I would be interested in offering guests the ability to protect themselves. I've had a few (maybe 2 or 3) in the past year tell me that they bought vrbo's added insurance for their own peace of mind. I figure it might be nice for my guests if I told them I could offer some kind of protection (damage + trip insurance) as a convenience. Not looking to make more $$'s on this, but it might let me have a more strict cancellation policy and not lose any guest visits.

Nov 16, 19
4:34 pm
Paul W says:

Thanks for the feedback, Rich. 100 bookings is a lot of bookings for one property. The average per year is 30-50 per property. There is typically a lot more broken damage than a broken glass over that many bookings, but it's great for you that you don't have that. The 500 coverage may be better for people will less damage. 500 will cover a lot of things - broken windows, ripped/stained sheets, fridge screens, TVs - and is only $13 per booking. For your 100 bookings, that would be 1300 per year but 100 groups is a heck of a lot of traffic to have nothing. Self insuring is also a good option. There is no perfect solution that works for all owners/PMs.

Nov 16, 19
5:25 pm
BlueMtnCabins says:

Rich S said:

I'm curious how many owners are planning on including this coverage. In the past year I've had about 100 bookings and if I had paid $27/booking I'd be out $2700. Maybe I've been lucky, but I had maybe one broken glass in the year. Now maybe there could have been a broken window or TV or countertop, but I imagine most years I won't have any significant claims per each 100 bookings.

This seems like for some owners it could be a useful protection, but I'm not getting why I shouldn't just self insure. This coverage won't help with catastrophic losses, and I already have mentally prepared to spend $2000+ on repairs/upgrades anyway so in years where nothing goes wrong I'd rather pocket the cost of the insurance.

My view is that I have to pay for this out of my own pocket. If I'm able to pass it along to the guest it means I could have raised my rates anyway.

Now on the flip side, I would be interested in offering guests the ability to protect themselves. I've had a few (maybe 2 or 3) in the past year tell me that they bought vrbo's added insurance for their own peace of mind. I figure it might be nice for my guests if I told them I could offer some kind of protection (damage + trip insurance) as a convenience. Not looking to make more $$'s on this, but it might let me have a more strict cancellation policy and not lose any guest visits.

I would consider a "guest option" because right now I have traditional refundable damage deposit ($300 to $500) added to the quote, depending on property. Since most renters do not read that it is "refundable", I suspect that quote total scares many off because they think that my total is $300 (or $500) higher that it is. Depending on how Guest Option will work and be shown to potential guest, I think many may opt for that vs big "scary" number of $300 to $500. I have 154 bookings between 3 cabins this year.

Nov 17, 19
10:13 am
Rich S says:

BlueMtnCabins said:

Rich S said:

I'm curious how many owners are planning on including this coverage. In the past year I've had about 100 bookings and if I had paid $27/booking I'd be out $2700. Maybe I've been lucky, but I had maybe one broken glass in the year. Now maybe there could have been a broken window or TV or countertop, but I imagine most years I won't have any significant claims per each 100 bookings.

This seems like for some owners it could be a useful protection, but I'm not getting why I shouldn't just self insure. This coverage won't help with catastrophic losses, and I already have mentally prepared to spend $2000+ on repairs/upgrades anyway so in years where nothing goes wrong I'd rather pocket the cost of the insurance.

My view is that I have to pay for this out of my own pocket. If I'm able to pass it along to the guest it means I could have raised my rates anyway.

Now on the flip side, I would be interested in offering guests the ability to protect themselves. I've had a few (maybe 2 or 3) in the past year tell me that they bought vrbo's added insurance for their own peace of mind. I figure it might be nice for my guests if I told them I could offer some kind of protection (damage + trip insurance) as a convenience. Not looking to make more $$'s on this, but it might let me have a more strict cancellation policy and not lose any guest visits.

I would consider a "guest option" because right now I have traditional refundable damage deposit ($300 to $500) added to the quote, depending on property. Since most renters do not read that it is "refundable", I suspect that quote total scares many off because they think that my total is $300 (or $500) higher that it is. Depending on how Guest Option will work and be shown to potential guest, I think many may opt for that vs big "scary" number of $300 to $500. I have 154 bookings between 3 cabins this year.

@BlueMtn - I fully agree, I've kept my refundable deposit at $100 to avoid scaring people off, but it's low enough that it really isn't useful when damage occurs. I'll probably just keep doing what I have been..

Nov 18, 19
7:24 am
Marcy B says:

I agree with Paul. I use this insurance all the time. Linen costs alone from stains and rips is huge and it allows me to have linen that is in tip top shape and my owners have had zero linen replacement costs this year. I manage 33 properties and believe me I got a lot of use out of the insurance. The best part is that you do not have to deal with the guest because no matter how many times you tell them it is covered, unless they reported it to you, they will deny they did it. I think they think that if they admit it and it costs more they will be on the hook or something.

We inspect all of our properties before arrival and take pictures so many times we can prove it was not like that. But who wants to get in a argument with a guest and "prove" they did it. This saves us lot of trouble. And for me, things that I would have to go and repair myself I can now send my handyman to do it knowing that it will be covered.

I have thought of self-insuring because of all the work involved in doing the claims. It would be wonderful not to have to pay someone to do all that paperwork. But at the end of the day it is close and as of now I don't really want to take the risk. I did have 3 claims for the $1500 max that were paid effortlessly so for now I will stick with it.

I was very happy with Ardi and I hope the new one is just as good.

Marcy

Nov 18, 19
8:34 am
Paul W says:

Marcy, yes - on the paperwork being tiresome. The new RentalGuard system has an online digital claims process. Much easier to use.

Nov 18, 19
8:36 am
Marcy B says:

Will there be a link somewhere for submitting?

Marcy

Nov 18, 19
8:52 am
Paul W says:

Yes, it uses an online dashboard, not a manual PDF.

Nov 19, 19
7:46 pm
Cathy Gou says:

I’m a little confused.
1. We don’t need to do anything it will be placed on our listing that we get booked direct from us. (Not other platforms)
2. We the host will be charged a fee and how much?
3. But we can put it as maintenance fee and have guest pay for it.
4. Do we get charged for the bookings from AIRBNB and VRBO?

Nov 19, 19
7:58 pm
Paul W says:

Hi Cathy,

Answers:

1) Yes, and also on bookings from other channels unless you turn that off.

2) The fee is shown in the table above where it shows the "Premium" amount

3) Yes

4) Yes if you want. You can turn it off for those channels, but we encourage it for all bookings including platform. The advertised coverage that VRBO and AIrbnb claim is different and not the same type of protection.

These answers and more can be found here:

https://www.ownerreservations.com/support/articles/damage-protection-overview

Nov 19, 19
8:06 pm
Cathy Gou says:

How do we turn it off for other channels?
How do we add a surcharge (Maintenance Fee)?
We the host pick which plan we want?

Nov 19, 19
10:18 pm
BlueMtnCabins says:

#2 go to settings> Surcharges and Discounts > Add a surcharge. Call it maintenance fee or whatever you like.

Nov 20, 19
7:24 am
Marcy B says:

I see the new rental company is now the one that is listed on new reservations coming in but is says there is currently no link to submit a claim. What is the timeframe going to be on the link being done?

Marcy

Nov 20, 19
8:49 am
Paul W says:

We (OwnerRez) can submit a claim for you at any time electronically, so no worries on that. We hope to have the full claims process be self-service in a couple weeks. Remember that, right now, any claims you have would still be TravelGuard based since those are the policies already purchased and filed. Practically speaking, no one should have RentalGuardian claims until a new booking that was created after Monday arrives/departs in the future. All your pre-existing bookings will continue showing TravelGuard ARDI information.

Nov 20, 19
8:51 am
Paul W says:

Cathy, you can turn it off on either API integrations or calendar imports in OwnerRez, specific to those channels. Go to the Damage Protection section in OR > Settings to get started and select a plan level.

Nov 20, 19
8:55 am
William L says:

Stop watching

Nov 20, 19
10:36 am
BlueMtnCabins says:

question: is it possible to select different coverage amount for different properties?
Such as , for my smaller property I may want $500 coverage; larger property $1500. Can it be set up that way?

Nov 20, 19
11:10 am
Ken T says:

Yes! Each property can have a different level of protection. Go to Settings > Damage Protection. That'll display a list of all your properties and the selected level for each, which you can change as desired.

Note that if you change the level of protection for a property, that will change the level for all new bookings / policies purchased going forward. It will NOT change the level already purchased for existing bookings.

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