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Damage Protection - Common Issues & Questions

We offer a Damage Protection insurance product which covers minor damage to your property. This sounds similar to the guarantees offered by some channels like Vrbo, but isn't - you are the insured, not the guest, and the guest has nothing to do with whether or not your claim is honored. Read more about it in our Damage Protection overview article.

This article provides a list of common questions and answers about Damage Protection that are not covered elsewhere.

Does the insured property, guest, or property owner have to be in the United States?

No. Damage Protection can be used for almost any property worldwide and the owner or manager (i.e. you) can be a citizen of most countries.

Excluded Countries are all those on the OFAC Sanctions List issued by the U.S. State Department.

At present, Damage Protection coverage inside the United States is limited to properties within the 50 states and Washington D.C. - that is, excluding possessions, territories, etc.

Regarding claim payments, for non-US locations, checks can be mailed to a US mail-deliverable address only. Electronic bank transfer is available with no fee to a US-based-bank-provided bank account.

Payments can be made to non-US bank accounts via Wise (formerly Transferwise). Wise fees apply; fees run between 0.5% and 3.5%, depending on the country.

All damage protection claim payments are settled in USD. Exchange rates apply. The current mid-market exchange rate will be applied on the date of payment.

What is the deductible for Damage Protection insurance?

There isn't one - the coverage offered is first-dollar. Note the minimum claim amount is $25.00 - but, if you have an approved claim for $25, you'll receive the whole $25.

Long-term bookings (30+ day stays)

The damage protection program has a 30-day duration; a separate program fee will be applied to each 30-day period. So, a 31-60 day booking would require 2 x the damage protection fee, a 61-90 day booking would require 3 x damage protection fee, and so on. There is no limit to the number of months that can be protected but the fee will be applied for every 30 days.

Damage Protection coverage is only available for bookings that are no longer than 1 year (365 nights).  Bookings longer than that, cannot be covered by this program.

When exactly does the damage protection begin?

The protection takes effect on the date and time the guest checks in as a registered guest at the Rental Property, provided the appropriate plan cost has been paid before check-in.

When exactly does the damage protection terminate?

The protection ends on the earlier of: (1) the normal check-out time on the guest's scheduled check-out date from the Rental Property; or (2) the actual departure date of the guest from the Rental Property. In other words, if they leave the property early, the protection ends when they leave. If they leave the property late, the protection ends when they should have left.

Do I have to pay for all of the pre-existing bookings that were in place prior to turning on Damage Protection?

When you turn on Damage Protection, you can choose whether to apply the program coverages to pre-existing future bookings in the system or to only new bookings that have yet to come in. If you choose to add it to pre-existing bookings that are still in the future, the system will present those affected bookings and you will be billed for those upon acceptance of program terms and charges. If you choose to only apply to future bookings, you will just accept the terms and future charges based on the selected property coverages.

When the property is blocked-off for personal use, or for the owners to stay, do we have to pay for the insurance for that stay?

Damage Protection only applies to bookings, not blocked-off times. So just create a blocked-off time and it won't apply. If you create a booking for an owner or personal use, contact support.

I already have damage protection via certain channels (Airbnb, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, or Vrbo)

It's important to understand the differences between the products. The RentalGuardian-powered Damage Protection product that is bought through OwnerRez protects you as the PM/owner and the guest is irrelevant. Whether they admit fault or not doesn't matter - you are the protected party holding the policy.

Guests can choose to buy their own damage protection in many other ways. Even if channels didn't offer this on their booking page, the guest could still shop for damage protection through other ad-hoc carriers or online services. But what they buy really covers them, not you - any claim involves their admission of guilt and cooperation.

Therefore, in some ways other damage coverage voluntarily purchased by the guest may turn out to be a lot less important/valuable to you than the integrated damage protection program that actually protects and reimburses you.

Even if guests purchase damage protection from a channel or some other source, you should still require a credit card on-file and/or refundable security deposit, because that helps ensure that you get reimbursed in case of guest-caused damages arising through your contracted bookings.

Should you need to charge the guest for damages, the coverage they purchased is useful to them - they can take your bill, file a claim against their policy, and get reimbursed. But that's irrelevant to you.

That said, the terms of our Damage Protection program do not require you to purchase our DP coverage for bookings that are already covered some other way, and the channels' coverage does technically meet this requirement. Under Damage Protection settings, you may choose to not apply to these certain channels.

If I turn off Damage Protection / close my OwnerRez account / sell a property, will my existing Damage Protection policies that I've paid for be canceled?

No! Legally, each individual Damage Protection transaction record duration is for a specific booking period.

  • Turning off Damage Protection on your account does not cancel any damage protection already purchased, it just prevents any new protection from being created.
  • Similarly, if you close your OwnerRez account, any Damage Protection already purchased continues in effect. You can make any claims against these records by emailing support@rentalguardian.com.
  • If you sell your property to someone else and the bookings transfer over to them, any Damage Protection already purchased can transfer to them as well, provided the new owner is using the OwnerRez platform. Otherwise, the damage protection cannot be transferred.
  • If your property is taken out of service for any reason, and you cancel future bookings, any Damage Protection policies purchased for them will automatically be canceled and you'll be credited for their amounts paid.

Does Damage Protection cover damage caused by pets?

Pet damage is covered only if the property is specifically documented in your Rental Agreement as being pet friendly. Otherwise, it is excluded from the damage protection program.

Does Damage Protection cover damage to linens?

The terms "fabrics", "bedding" and "linens" may refer to many items found within a vacation rental property. To properly align claim terminology and descriptions found across multiple products, our program has the following rule for what is and is not covered under the program agreement:

  1. COVERED: Mattress covers, bedspreads, comforters, duvets, and blankets are covered, provided they are not worn out / beyond life expectancy.
  2. NOT COVERED: Pillowcases, sheets, wash cloths, and towels are not covered.

Damage Protection is required for all properties in my OwnerRez account - but, some of my "properties" aren't really vacation rental properties.

Some of our clients use OwnerRez to keep track of more than just vacation rental properties - for instance, they may have a "property" that is really a golf cart, a boat, or even a hotel room.

Damage Protection doesn't cover moving/motorized vehicles or respond to damages caused by moving motorized vehicles; it is designed for conventional vacation rental properties, so it wouldn't make sense to have to buy it for other types of risk. The OwnerRez control panel does not allow you to skip purchasing DP for specific properties if you have DP turned on - but, the Helpdesk can take care of this for you.

The damage protection program provider does have a few requirements, though:

  • You can only skip DP by class or type of "property", not by picking-and-choosing otherwise similar properties. So, you can skip DP on all your golf carts or boats. But, you cannot say, "I want DP on my condo in Miami Beach since spring breakers rent it and trash the place, but not on my ski lodge in Aspen."
  • You must provide us a list and justification showing each property and the class it's in. As you add new properties, you'll need to notify us by providing us a complete updated list, so we can set the DP settings appropriately.

Our Helpdesk can assist you in getting this set up.

Who is the actual insured party, and who makes claims?

The OwnerRez subscriber who owns the OwnerRez account that paid for the protection is the protection beneficiary and is the party submitting claims against the program. The guest is not an insured and is generally not involved in the damage reimbursement process (except for an occasional verification request). If you as an OwnerRez account holder are a property manager managing properties on behalf of your owners, the actual owner of the property also isn't involved in the reimbursement process. Thus, all claims for reimbursement are facilitated by you as the OwnerRez account holder, and approved payments are paid to you.

What is the difference between "Standard" and "Enhanced" coverage?

Enhanced coverage includes everything that our Standard Damage Protection has always included, and in addition adds $1,000,000 in host liability and $15,000 in bed bug protection. Learn more about the Enhanced Rental Damage Protection Program (ERDP).

Is guest verification part of the claims process?

Guest verification may be a normal, though comparatively rare, part of claim processes. The underwriter has the option to request guest verification for damages reported. Less than 5% of the time (on average) the program underwriter will send a guest verification request for claims where the guest themselves did not report the damage. Put another way, 95+% of the time, there will be no additional guest verification request.

Guest denial or refusal to respond to such a request does not necessarily negate a damage reimbursement payment. The underwriter uses guest verification for quality control; it is discretionary for the underwriter, and is not used in a majority of cases.

If I make a claim, will that raise the cost of future DP policies for me?

No. Your protection program cost is determined as part of a far larger master contract between OwnerRez and the Protection Program Provider. All OwnerRez clients pay exactly the same rates. Like everything else, these rates may change, but when they do, they'll change for everyone. Your individual claim(s) will have no direct bearing on the damage protection program rates, and you certainly will not personally be penalized with special higher rates for just you.

How does the program respond to guest-caused damages to my unit’s hot tub?

The program will respond and provide reimbursement for guest-caused damages to your unit’s hot tub during an OwnerRez contracted stay; however, hot tub covers are not protected and submissions for reimbursement due to damages to hot tub covers will be denied.

How does the program respond if my pet causes injury to another person or nearby property?

The program will respond to an OwnerRez contracted guest’s pet-caused damage to adjacent property. In addition, should the activities of a guest with their pet lead to personal injury of non-guests for which the vacation owner becomes liable, the program will respond, provided that the injury occurred during the time period of a contracted stay in your unit’s premises or in ways or property adjacent to the unit’s premises.  However, injuries to contracted guests / the guest’s traveling companions by the guest’s pet are not protected; the program will not respond to a claim due to guest injuries caused by their own pet(s). Additionally, personal injury occurring anywhere other than your unit’s premises, adjacent property, or ways adjacent to the premises is excluded.

How is Damage Protection applied to any bookings imported via iCal/Channel Bridge?

Any bookings imported via iCal/Channel Bridge after Damage Protection is enabled will automatically be assessed Damage Protection fees as the system will acknowledge those imported bookings as new bookings.

What are the rules regarding replacement vs repair?

Before a full replacement for damaged contents is authorized, the damage details and supporting information should provide adequate evidence that a damaged item could not be repaired. Often a vendor can provide a written statement that the damaged item could not be repaired.

The final reimbursement amount cannot be determined, nor full payment approved, until the final paid receipt or proof of payment has been received by the claim processor.

For items for which repair was the reasonable and prudent action, only those amounts necessary for the repair at fair market value will be reimbursed; submissions will not be reimbursed for full replacement cost for damaged items that can be restored by means of repair.

For any questions regarding the approval of estimate for repairs before payment, please reach out to support@rentalguardian.com.

Are damages caused by guests smoking covered?

Smoking-related damages, other than smoking clean-up expense as a result of Occupant smoking in non-smoking units, are excluded from the program.

Can I use the program if a family member or friend stays in my unit?

The protection only applies to contracted rental stays where there is a signed OwnerRez lease agreement. Therefore, zero dollar ($0.00) bookings are not protected. The minimum booking amount permissible is $100.00 (USD). ($100.00 is the standard cleaning fee charge.)

This also means that if you offer your unit for limited stays such as for a charitable donation or auction item, you will still need to have a guest-signed standard lease agreement along with at least the minimum charge paid.

Will my damage / ruined items be depreciated?

Good news: the program offers replacement cost coverage (RC), so no depreciation will be applied.

What about excessive cleaning, regular maintenance or worn out items?

The program does not cover excessive cleaning; this is considered normal property management and maintenance. The program is not a facility maintenance program and does not cover regular upkeep and normal wear and tear. Additionally, items beyond life expectancy such as worn out rugs are excluded.

Can I file a claim for damages that already existed prior to my protection program start date?

No. The program only responds to contracted stays during the protection period. Additionally, incidents that occurred prior to your program start date that already have or could give rise to a claim in the future are excluded from the program.

If a guest gets sick or contracts an infection such as COVID-19, am I protected?

No, the program specifically excludes disease including any associated behavioral health maladies such as mental distress, anguish, anxiety, trauma, nervous breakdown, etc. The program for example will not respond to any suit brought against you or us with respect to contracting COVID-19.

Will the program respond if my primary insurance does not?

Yes, the program responds per the above listed sections, parameters and limits. Where there is an overlap of protection, such as for example a rental-related liability claim, your primary insurance policy would pay first and the program would pay any remainder up to the program limits. Where there is no overlap, such as with limited contents and bed bug protection (which generally are not protected by standard primary insurance), the program will respond per the program parameters and limits without any coordination of benefits.

How quickly must I report damages to be reimbursed by the program?

The damage must be found and reported within 14 days of the guest check-out. For the damage reimbursement process to begin, simply submit the claim form to support@rentalguardian.com with the photos of damages and a paid receipt if available.

You must submit all required documentation within 45 days of the claim being opened to include: clear photos of the damaged or ruined items and a paid receipt(s) documenting the proof of payment for repair or replacement; otherwise the claim will expire.

Your description must include the following:

  • what damages occurred,
  • how they were caused, and
  • the corrective actions to be taken to remedy the damages (whether replacement or repair).

For more long term extensive repairs, in lieu of a paid receipt, you may submit an estimate; however, full damage reimbursements cannot be approved until the final paid receipt or vendor-stamped-paid estimate / invoice is submitted.

The claim administrator adjudicates contents damage submissions without on-site investigation. Because of this, the determination is based on the description of damage, the pictures of damage, and any vendor notes on invoices/receipts (with the assessment of the scope of repair) provided in your damage submission. By being as detailed as possible with your supporting documentation, you help expedite the process and foster fast resolution and payment.

What if the full repair must be delayed and cannot be done within 45 days of opening the claim?

The program provider allows you up to 45 days from opening a claim to complete your repair or replacement and provide all required documentation.

If there are special circumstances that cause a delay in completion of repairs or replacement of damaged item(s), the key is to communicate: notify support@rentalguardian.com of such delays. Typically, the claim can be put on hold and re-opened when the work can be completed.