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All new Damage Protection program with RentalGuardian!

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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.

32 Comments (add yours)

Daniel Robbins
Nov 12, 2019 4:51 PM
Joined Sep, 2016 1 post

This is good news, thanks,

NatalGraniteRetr
Nov 12, 2019 6:56 PM
Joined Apr, 2018 4 posts

Thanks! It looks great!

John W
Nov 12, 2019 7:48 PM
Joined May, 2019 6 posts

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

William L
Nov 13, 2019 8:04 AM
Joined Mar, 2019 2 posts

Thank You great job!!

Paul W
Nov 13, 2019 11:34 AM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 829 posts

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.ownerrez.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.

BlueMtnCabins
Nov 13, 2019 11:42 AM
Joined Jun, 2016 1120 posts

Guest option sounds wonderful!

BlueMtnCabins
Nov 13, 2019 11:47 AM
Joined Jun, 2016 1120 posts

"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.

Paul W
Nov 13, 2019 12:44 PM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 829 posts

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.

BlueMtnCabins
Nov 13, 2019 2:33 PM
Joined Jun, 2016 1120 posts

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

Roger L
Nov 14, 2019 8:31 PM
Joined Aug, 2016 1 post

"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?

Ken T
Nov 15, 2019 11:54 AM
OR Team Member Joined Aug, 2019 1692 posts

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.

Paul W
Nov 15, 2019 2:43 PM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 829 posts

Transition will occur on Mon Nov 18:

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

BlueMtnCabins
Nov 15, 2019 5:22 PM
Joined Jun, 2016 1120 posts

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"?

Paul W
Nov 15, 2019 6:56 PM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 829 posts

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.

Rich S
Nov 16, 2019 3:01 PM
Joined Dec, 2018 301 posts

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.

Paul W
Nov 16, 2019 4:34 PM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 829 posts

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.

BlueMtnCabins
Nov 16, 2019 5:25 PM
Joined Jun, 2016 1120 posts

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.

Rich S
Nov 17, 2019 10:13 AM
Joined Dec, 2018 301 posts

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..

Trident P
Nov 18, 2019 7:24 AM
Joined Feb, 2017 15 posts

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

Paul W
Nov 18, 2019 8:34 AM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 829 posts

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