With share culture catching on, private pool rentals have become more popular. Pool-sharing apps allow homeowners (hosts) to rent out their pool space to people (guests) by the hour. The companies behind these apps offer insurance to their hosts and position their insurance as a coverage boon. But the age-old insurance question remains: What could go wrong and will insurance cover it?

Before you dive into pool sharing, check your homeowners insurance.

What could go wrong?

The short answer is people can go wrong. While making money for unused space sounds intriguing, the sobering reality of liability exposure can be a deal breaker. As with most host apps, you control the pricing, hours and rules of engagement. But for all you can control, there’s a lot you can’t — like human behavior.

A pool-sharing rental gone awry

You rent out your backyard oasis on a popular pool-sharing app. After a guest rental, you return home to find your grill and furniture in the pool, empty liquor bottles scattered across the deck, and holes in your house siding. You call the pool-sharing app immediately to report the incident and share the video proof of the obvious damage. The pool-sharing company starts the first step in their claims process — they contact the offending guests to settle the cost for damages. They’re unsuccessful at making contact and the credit card on file is canceled so there’s no way to retrieve payment. The pool-sharing company passes your claim to the insurance company that handles host policies.

The pool-sharing insurance policy questions the timing of the damage and suggests the guests could have committed the vandalism after their rental time expired. They note numerous liquor bottles in the video you provided and suggest alcohol was also involved. They deny your claim because they only respond to claims that occur during the booking period and they don’t cover losses arising from the consumption of alcohol. You didn’t witness the incident and you have no proof other than the video you provided hours after the incident.

You file a claim on your homeowners policy only to discover they have exclusions related to property rented for business purposes. The claim is denied.

The only option you have left is to sue someone or eat the cost of the damages.

Insurance is not created equal

Some insurance exists to not exist. Even though some pool-sharing apps advertise an all-inclusive, “don’t worry about it,” insurance approach, you should worry. Consider this excerpt about the insurance one pool-sharing app offers:

“If you have insurance that may cover some or all costs arising from an injury or damage arising during a reservation, such as homeowner’s insurance, you should file a claim under that policy before seeking reimbursement.”

Here are more examples of what host policies don’t cover:

This list of pool-sharing coverage exclusions leaves you wondering if you’re getting any insurance at all
(and adds more to the list of what could go wrong).

Protect yourself and know your coverage

Pools can be a high-risk endeavor and the added liability of sharing them might not be worth the extra cash. But if you’re set on renting your pool, take precautions:

No matter what you decide, protect yourself and your home. Contact your insurance broker before you dive into pool sharing.

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