Ward, Hayden

Identifying Your Vacation Rental’s Unique Property Risks

Vacation rental home

Depending on the type of property you own, you’ll have different, unique risk exposures, for example, weather-related risks, being located on a waterfront or simply having a basement. Each dwelling tells a different story and can potentially hide dangerous elements. Assessing your property’s exposures and taking the appropriate precautions can go a long way toward protecting your business.

Electrical Dangers

Electrical hazards are one of the most serious risks in any home. Often, these risks go unnoticed until it’s too late. Outdated systems and faulty wiring can endanger your vacation rental and guests. Even an overloaded outlet can be a major risk. Regularly check your electrical systems to avoid any costly and dangerous mishaps and have a professional home inspection to further examine your electrical system and wiring.

Health Hazards: Mold & Indoor Air Quality

Since air circulation is often restricted inside, it’s speculated that indoor pollutants are far worse for humans than poor outdoor air quality. Short-term effects of indoor air pollution include upper respiratory infections, headaches and nausea. Long-term effects of indoor air pollution include chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer, heart disease, and brain, nerve, liver and kidney damage.

According to Wilson Web Physics, around 70% of homes have mold. Though it seems like mold typically grows outdoors, it can travel indoors by way of open windows and doors, air conditioning systems, animals, clothing and shoes. Additionally, mold can grow indoors in areas with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows or pipes, or where there’s been flooding. It grows well on wallpaper, cardboard, ceiling tiles and wood items. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric and upholstery. While it’s impossible to eliminate all mold and spores, it is possible to control indoor moisture and therefore curb mold growth at your vacation rental property.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rocks and water. Since the air pressure in a typical home is lower than the pressure in the soil around the foundation, the home acts like a vacuum and draws radon in through cracks in the foundation. Radon exposure can elevate the risk of illness and disease, such as lung cancer. To test your property for radon, order a kit by mail from a qualified radon measurement service provider, purchase a radon kit from a local hardware store or hire a qualified radon tester (often also a home inspector).

Water & Propane Leaks

A leaky pipe can fly under the radar until you or a guest spots the visible damage. Not only can leaks lead to water everywhere, but they can also cause structural damage and moisture issues. A leak may be present if you notice damaged wallpaper, mold or mildew on walls, blistering paint or floor damage. In that case, it’s important to call a professional immediately.

To help reduce your risk of a water leak, Flo by Moen can help detect them and you can control your home’s water through their app. Leaks are common, and this type of technology can shut off your water at the main pipe. For your peace of mind, they run daily diagnostics and health tests to ensure your property is leak-free.

Also pay close attention to detect a propane leak. The scent is strong and foul like a dead animal, rotting eggs or a skunk’s spray. This odor is deliberately added to propane so you’ll be able to detect a leak. These leaks are highly flammable and easily ignited by a spark or flame. If left undetected, they can result in fires or explosions. In addition, propane leaks can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, which causes negative health effects, such as headaches, dizziness, loss of muscular control, vomiting or watering of the eyes.

If you suspect a propane leak, turn the main gas supply valve clockwise and evacuate the property immediately. Call your propane supplier and 911 to report the leak. Do not turn on any switches in the property or use your cell phone until outside, as even the slightest spark could start a fire.

Garage Risks

Though you may not allow guests to use the garage, it must be checked frequently. Garages are commonly used to store possessions and other items, making them prone to fires. Additionally, keep an eye out for faulty wiring and signs of water damage. Pools of water can lead to mold growth and destroy the floor.

Basement Hazards

If your property includes a basement or a storage room that stores the furnace, ensure it’s inspected yearly. Oil furnaces can make a puff that will send soot flying everywhere, ruining your furniture and carpeting. Before the furnace makes a bang noise, meaning the jets are clogged, the oil will build up inside the furnace. It’s crucial to have a professional annually inspect your furnace.

While in the basement, don’t forget to properly discard any flammable products and purge through items. Similar to a garage, these spaces typically fill up with items, making them prone to fires.

Fireplace Risks

Despite the ambiance and relaxation that a fireplace provides, there are also inherent fire dangers. The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that 75% of confined home heating fires occur in the chimney and flue of the fireplace. Sometimes, the flames do not completely burn off the oil in the wood, leading to volatile organic compounds, that rise with the smoke. As the smoke cools, it creates a build-up of creosote. Too much creosote can result in a chimney fire.

Schedule a Home Inspection

Home inspections are crucial for mitigating potential risks and keeping your property safe. Catching small concerns in the beginning can prevent serious problems from developing, thus saving you money and protecting your property and guests. Inspectors are extremely thorough and will ensure your property is compliant.

To help prevent these risks from turning into damages, losses, injuries and reputational damage, download our Loss Control Questionnaire. Print it and store it in a safe place to review quarterly or whenever you make changes to your vacation rental. Use it to jot down any notes about your property or as a checklist for things to be completed.

Unique Insurance for Your Unique Property

While these safety precautions for vacation rental property owners cannot completely eliminate risk, they can help prevent injuries happening on the property, reduce your legal liability risk and help keep your guests safe and your business thriving. Connect with a team member today at CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance and request a free quote.

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. Coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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About Us

CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services,Inc., is the largest insurer of short-term vacation rental properties in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we are the first broker to develop specific policy coverage to meet the needs for vacation rental properties and the amenities offered by these businesses. We have insured vacation rental properties since 2002.

The CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance team knows insurance, specifically the risks and exposures related to short-term vacation rentals.We won't confuse you with technical "insurance speak" ~ our representatives are well versed in explaining your coverage in plain English. With hands-on, personal customer service, we guarantee swift communication and a 24/7 claims team that is ready to respond to your call any time of the day. As specialist in the industry, we leverage our knowledge and passion to ensure you and your business are adequately protected.