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Common Issues & Questions

We offer a Damage Protection 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 covered, 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.

Most Commonly Asked Questions about the Damage Protection Program

What are the most common items protected by the DP program?

The program responds with reimbursement for verified damages arising from guest-caused accidental damage to owned contents within the rented unit during a contracted stay such as spills on carpet, stains on cushions or upholstery, broken appliances or furniture, damaged television, and marred walls.

Why do guests love the DP program?

For guests, when accidents happen, you can have a positive conversation about the program handling the damages, rather than them being required to make payment to you.

What are the most common exclusions?

There is no program obligation for submissions related to normal wear and tear, non-paid stays, damages that occur when the property is unoccupied, units with more than 10 bedrooms, items beyond life expectancy (such as rusty beach chairs, hot tub covers or wicker furniture left outside), or general facility maintenance not related to guest-caused damages.

What is normal wear & tear?

Normal wear and tear is damage that naturally occurs in a rental property due to aging and regular use. For example, there is no program obligation for an incident where a guest uses a hot tub with a worn-out control panel and the control panel malfunctions. Likewise, a submission to get reimbursed for a stain on an old worn out, stained carpet will not be approved.

How do I get approved and reimbursed for damages?

  • Turn in concise details within 14 days of checkout.
  • Don’t turn in too many images; just submit one or at most two clear images of the damaged items and a receipt for the repair or replacement.
    • Images should be clear and show the damage
    • Photos, or repair notes on the service invoice, can help establish that damage is guest-caused
  • Tell what happened. Reimbursement requests are denied if it cannot be verified that the guest caused the damage.  For example, “broken lamp” vs “guest child threw ball in house causing lamp to turn over and break.”
  • Default payment method is mailed check; If you want to set up ACH, contact support@rentalguardian.com.

Timeline of events once Claim is approved:

  1. Friday - Claims payments are reported to the program’s internal accounting team.
  2. Monday – The program internal accounting team reviews and reports claim approvals to our corporate accounts payable for payment processing.
  3. Wednesday - Corporate accounts payable team processes claim payments.
  4. Thursday - Accounts Payable issues payments.
  5. If payment is sent by check it can take up to 10 business days to arrive via USPS

Damage Protection Overview

What is the OwnerRez Damage Protection Program?

Damage Protection can be added to each booking to help return your unit to its pre-stay condition by providing reimbursement for contents damages:

  • Pays for guest-caused to-the-studs contents damages that occur during a rental stay, such as:
    • marred flooring and dry wall,
    • stained carpet, curtains, and upholstery,
    • broken window shades, lamps, dish and glass wares, coffee maker, toaster, glass stove top, appliances, furniture
  • Pays for repair or (if ruined) replacement of similar kind and value

A repair must be attempted before a full replacement will be approved. If a repair is not possible, documentation from a qualified vendor will be required.

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

Enhanced protection includes everything that our Standard Damage Protection includes, 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).

What is the deductible for Damage Protection?

There isn't one - the program obligation applies 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.

Who is the actual protected 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 a party 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.

Will the program respond if my primary insurance does not?

Yes, the program responds per the 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.

Does the protected 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.

Program Parameters

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 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.

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 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 program 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.

Booking Types

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

The protection only applies to paid rental stays. Therefore, zero-dollar ($0.00) bookings are not protected. The minimum booking amount permissible is $100.00 (USD).

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 at least the minimum charge paid in order to qualify for damage protection coverage.

When the property is blocked-off for personal use, or for the owners to stay, do we have to pay for the coverage 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.

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 apply to 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.

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.

Can I add Damage Protection when converting a Blocked-Off Time to a Booking?

Yes. During the convert to booking step, you can checkmark whether to add the default level of damage protection from the property's DP settings to the booking. As long as the dates are in the future, the system will present this as an option.

Similarly, in the rare event that a booking was canceled that never had damage protection, but is now being reactivated (but you've since turned on damage protection), the re-enable screen now has the same Apply checkbox option.

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

Property Damage

Does Damage Protection reimburse for damage caused by pets?

Pet damage protection only applies 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, our program has the following rule under the program agreement:

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

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 a rental stay; however, hot tub covers are not protected and submissions for reimbursement due to damages to hot tub covers will be denied.  Additionally, the program will not respond to normal wear and tear, nor will it respond for breakage or mechanical failures due to inadequate maintenance or worn-out parts.

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

The program will respond to an 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 rental stay in your unit’s premises or in ways or property adjacent to the unit’s premises.  However, injuries to 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.

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.  The lease agreement must state that the unit is non-smoking for the smoking clean up obligation to apply.

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, blankets, and upholstery are excluded.

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.

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.

Damage Protection Claims

What happens if I discover physical damage to my rental unit?

Owners may report physical guest-caused damages which he/she/they discover; however, owner-identified damages not discovered within forty-eight (48) hours of check-out may be excluded. Program participants have two weeks (14 days) from check-out to complete a contents or bed bug submission which includes an explanation of the damage(s)/what happened, pictures of the damage, and a receipt or estimate. Damage that occurred during a non-booked, non-occupied time period will not be approved for reimbursement. Ultimately, the underwriter will investigate the incident and make a judgement based on the specific circumstances, timing, and losses associated with the incident.

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.

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 according to the same program pricing structure. 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.

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

No. The program only responds to booked 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.

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.

How do I receive claims payments for non-US properties?

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.

The default payment method to a US address is check; to set up EFT, contact support@rentalguardian.com. Also, please remember that you must notify support of a change of address.

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.